Canals, diamonds and red lights – an Amsterdam getaway COMPLETED
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Friday 10 February – part four: from monster to cuddly toy....
Of course, wouldn’t you know it, we saw a tram leaving just before we got to the stop? We don’t seem to be having much luck with them this trip.
As we stood there, I decided that we’d just go with the next thing that turned up, as they would all take us to some kind of museum and I’d let Fate decide for us. Well, the number 22 bus service was the next one to show up, which took us to the Maritime Museum, so that’s where we got off.
It’s located in a beautiful building...
... but when we went inside, we discovered that it was even more beautiful. The “open” courtyard was just stunning and very reminiscent of the British Museum. We loved it.
We got our tickets and put our backpacks and coats into the cloakroom and headed up to the top floor. Now this was confusing, as there are exhibits on the west, north and east side of the museum (you enter through the south side), but you can’t get from one to the other, so you have to go up and experience each floor, then go to the next section, do the same thing and so on.
We started on the top floor of west, and then went up again to get a quick look at the roof from roof level, but the view wasn’t great.
There was more to see outside though...
There wasn’t much to see on the second floor, so we were quickly down to the next layer, which was all about whales. Anything that is sub-titled “from monsters to cuddly toys” has already got me and this turned out to be an excellent exhibition. It showed you how people used to hunt whales and there were some amazing exhibits, with one allowing you to go inside a whale – very cool!
At the end, just before you head back towards where you’d started from, was an amazing portrait that came to life if you touched items on the table in front of it. The portrait then developed into a video that explained about various elements of the whaling trade and, perhaps oddly, it was presented by a woman, which certainly challenges any preconceptions you may have! We sat there, rooted by what we were watching, for some time.
Then we wandered through the second half of the exhibition, learning how whaling came back in after the Second World War, as people were desperate for food and were happy to take whatever they could. This time though, instead of harpoons, they were using missiles and grenades, which was too gruesome to think about.
The final section looks at how whales are now beloved and that’s where the title of this exhibition comes from. It was all very interesting.
The other exhibition on this floor is all about the golden years for maritime explorations in the Netherlands, which was fascinating. It was interesting to see all the sacrifices that had been made, sometimes for what felt like little gain, if you understand me...
The west side done, we headed back down to the ground floor to sample lunch in the museum restaurant. It was a beautiful setting...
We both ended up going for salads, with me opting for one with grilled eggplants, marinated zucchini, roasted bell peppers, almonds, nougat goat cheese and I opted for a lingonberry dressing to go with it.
Mark went for one with wild boar ham, chicory, walnuts, crispy fried bacon bits, and a lingonberry dressing. Can you see where I got the idea for the dressing from?
My goodness, we both thought that our salads were real winners and they were both pretty filling as well. We were impressed with the place and the fact that it only came to €30 in total, including a glass of wine for me – well, I needed to warm up somehow!
Entree 9 9 Service 9 9 Atmosphere 8 8 Value for money 9 8
With lunch finished, it was off to the east side of the museum. Again, we headed to the top floor.