Sunday 29 September 2019

Santiago to Amsterdam

We left Santiago in a cab this morning at 5:15.....the streets were dark and as we were leaving a group of young people, mostly boys but a couple of girls, strolled by on their way home from the usual all night partying they get up to. The streets were quiet so he trip to the airport was uneventful and we lined up at the Iberia counter. Our flight was on time, we transferred in Madrid and arrived in Amsterdam around noon.   We caught the train to the Center of town and then a taxi to our hotel. We seem to be in a lively area close to shops, museums, restaurants and coffee houses.
First off we needed to get something to eat so dropped off our bags and ventured out. We chose a Bakery Cafe where we had delicious pumpkin soup, with chunks of bread and avocado toast with lox salmon. We noticed a place across the street which served special pancakes, it is called The Happy Pig.  The pancakes seem like crepes with different fillings, we haven’t actually tried them yet but plan to soon.
As our time here is short we had to get cracking on all the things we want to see and do!  I should mention it is raining and quite windy!  We walked, dodging bicycles, tram cars and people who were all over the place, to the Rijksmuseum .  The paintings are mainly Dutch, with some Rembrandts, and only three Van Goghs. Van Goghs self portrait was wonderful to see, although we were surprised at its small size. The main painting is called The Night Watch by Rembrandt. At this time it is attracting a lot of attention as it is currently being scanned millimeter by millimetre using an X-ray fluorescence  scanner.  This detects the various chemical elements in the paint such as calcium, iron, potassium and cobalt. From these scans the pigments used by the artist can be deduced.  This provides insight into Rembrandt's creative process. Fifty six scans are required to fully map the Night Watch . One scan takes 24 hours. This process is set up so is fully visible to all visitors for viewing.  This is being done as it was last treated 40+ years ago . The varnish and over paintings have discoloured and the canvas is slightly deformed.  Technology is truly mind boggling!  What on earth would Rembrandt think?
We left the museum to have a quick look at the garden (pouring rain) where a few of Louise Bourgeois’ spider sculptures are on display. Feeling very thirsty we found a cosy bar for a round of beer. Next we wandered around deciding on a place for dinner. We chose a wood fired pizza place, pizza was good, the owner/waiter was not great we thought.
We were all feeling a bit weary having been up so early so we came back to the hotel to plan our  activities for tomorrow. We are hoping for a bit less rain.


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