Our final day in Amsterdam was, unfortunately, a bit rainy, but we’d planned on that, which is why more museums were in store for the day. Having gained a couple extra hours of sleep from an early bedtime, we woke up earlier and hit the town by 9 a.m.
The first stop was Two for Joy to get some coffee, which came highly recommended by our host. The coffee came individually-brewed, which is something I rarely see here in Europe, although it was quite the trend when I was living back in California. Anyway, my coffee ended up being pretty OK, but not super amazing. The coffeeshop itself was pretty cute though; if we’d had more time I would have loved to sit around a bit.
Immediately after, we made our way to Begijnhof, a hidden little courtyard in the middle of downtown. I’d read that it was a wonderful destination – beautiful and serene. Unfortunately, it was kind of unimpressive. I like the history of the place, but due to privacy concerns about the residents, much of the paths were closed off to visitors and no photography was allowed, so it wasn’t the interesting refuge I thought it would be.
We walked to the nearest tram stop a couple blocks away and waited in the rain for ours, which would take us to Waterlooplein, the site of the daily market. But I guess the market happens on every day but Sundays (or rainy days?) because when we got there, the square was empty. Luckily we were a few short blocks from the Hermitage, which was all part of my plan. On our way there, we walked along the Amstel River, saw some boats, and made a duck friend.
Once at the Hermitage, we saw the current display, which is about Flemish painters. Certainly it was interesting (there were lots of animal paintings I loved), but I was admittedly bummed out that the Impressionist exhibit we’d read about wasn’t yet open. It turns out they had extended the original dates of the Flemish one until June – an extra three months. Admittedly this was a bit of a bummer… oh well.
After a couple hours, we made our way through the rain to NEMO, which is a hands-on science museum along the water. It’s one of the biggest museums in the Netherlands (or maybe just the largest science one – I can’t remember), with four or five floors of science-y things. It reminded me of the Museum of Science and Industry, or what I imagine the Exploratorium is like (surprisingly I’ve never been). First, we ate a snack to ward off crankiness (I got fries and M. got tomato soup), and then we had about an hour to check things out. Here, we learned all about SCIENCE, which is definitely M.’s thing, and not so much mine. But I still had fun with the limited amount of time.
What happened next was a bit of a debacle, which involved chaos such as leaving late, missing buses, getting soaked, being upset, nearly crying, stressing out, catching a taxi five minutes before our train arrived and somehow magically making it to Centraal on time to get our train back to Berlin. Let’s just say that I’m grateful to have a partner like M., who sees me through my not-so-fantastic moments and supports me in my best ones.
The train ride back was relatively smooth – having a direct train is a huge plus, even with all the stops on the way. Luckily, we were well-equipped with our reading material and the company of one another, as well as SNACKS!
Believe me, I was STOKED on finding Sabra in the Netherlands. Speaking of, I never did see any of my relatives while I was there, but when you have less than two days to see a city, it’s kind of like that.
By 10 p.m., we were back in Berlin in our cozy flat, greeted by the little furballs, who survived the weekend without destroying too much or eating all their food. Amazing. Meanwhile, I’d never felt so happy to be back in our bed.