Should I or Not?

The Netherlands - Amsterdam 194There has been an honest procrastination straddling my thoughts regarding our trip to Amsterdam. A burning desire to share had and has been circumvented by the circumstances around us in Hungary and Europe these days. It feels like a distinctive type of sacrilegiousness to bear witness to such joyous moments when others are suffering with trials and tribulations beyond my ability to imagine.

After much contemplation, it does seem like an impious and selfish act not to share some of the highlights of our trip.

One repetitive high point of any of our trips is being able to spend quality time with my husband. Though this has always been so, there was something inexplicably magical that happened on April 19, 2015 that made every day brighter since. (After the first year, it all seemed real.) When we travel, the days radiate regardless of the destination or the weather.

Holland PassPrior to leaving, we mulled over the differing offers on passes, combo tickets and the like. There are multiple. We finally settled on the HollandPass Medium; its selling point was that it gave us total flexibility over where and when we chose to go without time limitations. The Medium provided us with 2 Gold tickets and 2 Silver tickets. The cost was €62.00 each, but we received a €2.50 discount each, for opting out of a tram ticket.

Ron used one of our tickets to book us seats at Boom Chicago, an American improvisational comedy act at the Rozentheater. It was such a pleasant show, full of laughs. I did not realize how significant this group was until we returned home and we looked it up. A number of famous people received their start with this group.

The Netherlands - Amsterdam 152As many times as I have been to Amsterdam, I had never gone to the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art. Most modern art leaves me cold or confused. Just as there were some pieces on exhibit here where the canvas was covered with solid blue paint all one shade, there were a number of worksThe Netherlands - Amsterdam 122 that touched inner positive emotions. We did spend almost three hours here alone.

What had to be the highlight of the trip was returning to the Rijksmuseum post The Netherlands - Amsterdam 203renovation. I had been here four times before the decade long renovation started. The first time I had returned not knowing the majority of the museum was closed for renovation, I was heartsick. It seemed like a lifetime of waiting for the veil to be lifted once again. It was worthy of the wait. The new building is glorious. There are 8,000 objects of art and history from a collection of over one million, spread over 80 galleries spanning 800 years. After four The Weepershours of viewing, we barely touched the surface of the offerings.

Taking a canal ride is almost imperative when in Amsterdam. Having done every canal ride available: regular tour, Lover’s tour, Wine tour, museum boat, night tour, Ron did discover a new one since our last visit. As part of the Hop-on Hop-off bus company, they have Hop-on Hop-off boat ride. Our silver ticket provided us with a 24 hour ticket, which we spread out from Saturday at 3:30 to Sunday late afternoon. What was extra appealing about this tour was that it took different routes than the other tours, so the commentary and scenery were different.

We polished off our stay with a visit to the Museum Van Loon, a private residence and museum. This was another first for both of us. Willem van Loon co-founded the Dutch East-India Company.

Sunrise view from our apartment

Sunrise view from our apartment

Amsterdam still maintains its place in my top five places to return to repeatedly.

After completing my Ed.D., the frustration of finding a teaching position where I was willing to live, led to Ron and I leaving the country. We intended to travel for a year before settling somewhere in MA or RI. We left the US without any credit card debt, no car payments and our house mortgage paid by renters. We had $10,000 in the bank to make our way through a year.