There were a couple of things we had prioritised for Amsterdam, the popular Anne Frank house and the Van Gogh museum. We had heard (and seen yesterday) the big queues outside the Anne Frank museum so got there first thing to avoid wasting precious time. For some reason, at 10 past opening the line was already several hours long and worse than usual (according to a local travel guide who had thought he could skip the worst by coming early). I am very anti standing in line for hours and will do almost anything to avoid it (like trying to buy tickets online, which we had done yesterday but all the online tickets were already sold out) so we decided to post pone.
After a coffee stop next door we decided to move on to the markets that were taking place just down the street, in our favourite Jordaan region. The stalls were wonderful, crowding around in every direction and featuring every possible item, from fresh bread and cheese to beautiful handmade jewellry and prints (with everything else in between). We picked up a few things for dinner as well as some delicious fresh cranberries and dropped them off at home before moving on to catch a bus to the Van Gogh museum (which we had managed to get online tickets for).
Ah, the satisfaction of walking past endless lines and skipping queues for immediate entry is something I greatly enjoy so I savoured the moment as we entered the modern gallery and museum, dedicated to Van Gogh and his incredible art. The museum did not disappoint our high expectations as we spent a couple of hours going through each room and reading about the history behind a very talented but tortured artist. After a quick stop at the gift shop where I picked up a copy of my favourite print to bring home, we took a stroll through the the nearby park. It was fine and parks are always a nice break from crowded concrete spaces, but it was nothing incredibly special (and had the added bonus of cyclists everywhere).
After a ridiculously delicious toasted sandwich (seriously, how can something so simple taste so incredible?!) along with some dutch beer we found something I almost didn’t quite believe was real. On tripadvisor I had located a Cat museum. Yup. This KattenKabinet was something that seemed to good to be true so once we eventually found the tiny sign on the door and paid an entry fee we feasted our eyes on the most weird and wonderous collection of cat related goods. Paintings, prints, posters, sculptures, movies and even a pinball machine. No cat stone was left unturned. There were even a couple of living exhibits who happily let us shower them in cuddles. It was strange but in the best possible way. Why is there no cat museum in Auckland?? I think I could be up to the task.
After one more check and confirmation that the lines for Anne Frank were still ridiculously long (I am still disappointed that we didn’t get to visit) we went to relax in another cafe that featured a gorgeous friendly cat who was available for cuddles. After so long with only a rare sighting of a feline, today felt like we had somehow arrived in cat heaven. Cappuccinos always taste better when you are trying to share your seat with a gorgeous furry friend who doesn’t judge how bad your dutch is (awful just for the record). We realised we hadn’t tried a Dutch pancake so hat was our next delicious task, and covered in chocolate with fresh strawberries it was a good way to end the day.
Another beautiful day in Amsterdam where I only nearly died once thanks to a stubborn cyclist (seriously, the cyclists in Amsterdam terrify me) and another visit to the cheese shop to try something new for dinner. Amsterdam was great, the dutch were wonderful and the cats were cuddly. What more could an eager tourist ask for?
1. My favourite non-feline character in Amsterdam was this tiny little boy in a suit at the markets, munching on a tomatoes and holding fresh flowers. I think my heart melted.
2. Delicious bread to later match with delicious cheese
3&4. Becoming quite the canal expert
5. Katten Kabinet. Cat Museum. Need I say more?
6. Cat pin ball machine
7. More canal goodness
8. Cafe cat!
9. Mmm pancakes.