The journey to Amsterdam was more nerve-wracking than others as it was my first time flying! I’d been told the best parts were the take off, the landing and the turbulence. I agree with the landing!
After arriving in Amsterdam we had time to settle into the hostel before going for a walk through the festively lit city. We soon discovered there were a large amount of bikes and scooters that careered around the corners, out of parks onto the pavement and down the narrow roads with deadly accuracy. By the end of the trip we respected the warning bells of the cyclists!
The walk around the city ended at an eccentric-looking bar filled to the ceiling with Frank Sinatra memorabilia and Muppet puppets where the barman recommended a restaurant for a very welcomed meal.
The first full day in Amsterdam was cold and rainy but filled with plenty of exhibitions. We walked past many canals and streets – all looking disarmingly similar until we reached our first visit. Our Lady in the Attic was a 16th century Catholic Church hidden above the house of a wealthy merchant. After a tour of the house and the remarkably preserved church we ventured back out into the rain for lunch.
The afternoon was filled with visits to galleries dotted around the city which included a visit to Huis Marsailles who were given a guided tour of a large exhibition of fine art photographers.
After Huis Marsailles the group disbanded and some went to FOAM who were celebrating fifty years of documentary photography. This included Lee Friedlander’s revisit to his famous documentation of America from the window of his car. FOAM was also showing work by Cristina De Middel, a speaker who gave a talk as part of the Visiting Lecture program last year.
The next day in Amsterdam began with a trip to the Rijks Museum who houses collections by Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh. Most of the exhibits in the museum dated back to the 16th century and some even to the Medieval Era but there was also a contemporary exhibition shown. In the afternoon a small group went to a street market where they were selling everything from clothes to typewriters to an old bicycle with an engine attached (it even came with it’s own set of goggles)!
The final day consisted of a walk around the center of Amsterdam before catching a (really clean) train to the airport for the flight back home.