Up and out very early with Doug to get to Amsterdam in time to check into our hotel the Ramada Apollo Amsterdam and get to the Vincent Van Gogh Museum by 2:30 with our tickets.
We travelled through the city on this grey, chilly and rainy day. Amsterdam is swarmed with bicycles, scooters, and motorcycles. There are dedicated lanes for bicyclists and scooters under a certain size, and they have different rules about obeying the traffic lights. Honestly, I think the bicyclists take their lives in their hands on those streets, but they seem to make it work.
We also saw some signs: there was one for no drinking in the streets, and on the same pole another one that indicated its perfectly acceptable to smoke marijuana on the streets! This is a stock photo of the same sort of signage.
We made it to the hotel for an early check in and then Doug kindly took us to the Museum and dropped us off in plenty of time for our admission time. We said a hurried goodbye to Doug on the street as he parked illegally to get us as close to the entrance as possible and a delivery truck was trying to get to the loading dock he blocked. It felt a bit strange to be entirely on our own in Europe for the first time on our last day! We were a little early for our ticket time so we could get a lunch in the café, and then headed off with our audio tour into the museum.
Vincent is my all-time favorite artist. I’ve seen many of his works of art and had a chance to see some of them again here. I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY at the exhibition of his works “Van Gogh in St. Remy and Auvers” in 1986 with Mike Longoria (NY Times review of the exhibition below). There were 89 works of his art there, and it felt like a miracle to be able to see so many in one place back then. To see his art now in Amsterdam in an entire museum dedicated to his art and life was like a pilgrimage.
Mom was quite tired, but we did get through the entire main building of the museum. We skipped the temporary exhibition in a separate building about his life in Paris. There were only a few works of Vincent’s in that show – mostly other works by his friends from Paris.
We took a cab back to the hotel and rested for a moment and headed up to the restaurant for dinner. We made it a celebration of our time in Europe and what we learned.
Then off to bed before an exceedingly early flight back home!
Day 8 – October 21, 2017 Fly Away Home
Our plane departed at 8:00 am so we had to get there by 6:00 am to have plenty of time to deal with luggage and Mom in a wheelchair.
We had to jog through the airport with me pushing Mom’s wheelchair to make our plane because it took so long to get security and customs that we missed the early boarding call for wheelchair bound passengers.
A hostess grabbed the wheelchair and hustled Mom down the ramp, but me, with her carryon full of her medication was pulled aside and practically strip-searched. I was worried I’d be in trouble cause I had her carryon with all her meds, because they were not mine, but they were not too concerned about legal stuff. That didn’t, however, stop them from wiping down my backpack, the carryon, my clothes shoes, hair and skin with swabs to see if I had any evidence of illicit substances. I guess I’m glad I didn’t go to a coffee shop for some legal Mary Jane!! Eventually I was finally allowed to board. Mom was a little anxious about where I’d gone, and we had a good laugh about all the drugs we were “smuggling” in and OUT of Europe.
We arrived in Detroit at 10:40 am and headed back to Mom’s. We stayed awake as long as we could and finally collapsed in bed early and slept through the night. I awoke the following day, loaded up the car and headed back to Ohio.