In my last post, I shared my German roots with you. While I was visiting my hometown, I thought it would be fun to finish my journey in Amsterdam. It had been a long while since I last visited and I wanted share the city’s youthful energy and art with my mom and nephew, Roman. The trip proved to be a stimulating journey in sight, sound, scents, textures and tastes!
While I could not bring you with me on this trip, I want to share my experiences with you. They are a great source of creative inspiration for me. Let’s go!
Amsterdam is a just short distance by train from Rinteln, Germany. When we arrived, we were immediately greeted with a mixture of fragrances. People are smoking, eating, and drinking in cafes. There is a smell of water coming from the beautiful 17th century canals. A cool Spring breeze carried aromas of croissants, herring and onions, waffles and fresh flowers. There are a lot of people. They are internationally diverse and you hear an assortment of different languages. Despite all this activity, there was a great sense of ease and social togetherness.
When we trust our creativity we encounter a supreme kind of enjoyment – an amazement at the natural unfolding of life beyond our ordinary way of looking at things.
DZIGAR KONGTRUL RINPOCHE
Bicycles are everywhere. In Amsterdam, I found bicycles come in a range of colors and conditions. Some are painted with amazing colors while others are rusting. You’ll see bikes on houseboats. Some are being pulled out of the canals with a crane. Sometimes bikes do not move for weeks. If you want to experience Amsterdam, you buy an old bicycle for $12. But beware; the bike may be the one that was stolen from you last week.
Cyclists multi-task. I saw cyclists smoking or talking on the phone. They ride through narrow streets and can be seen transporting children, furniture, flowers, and bread. So cool.
We made sure to be tourists and visited these noteworthy sites:
Keuchenhof is known as the Garden of Europe and one of the world’s largest flower gardens. Located in South Holland, the garden is situated in Lisse. The garden has around 7 million tulips and covers approximately 79 acres. The Spring season is the best time to visit but be prepared. There will be a lot of people sharing the experience with you.
Van Gogh Museum. The museum was amazing and definitely a trip highlight. Unfortunately, I could not take pictures but I encourage you to visit. Learn about Van Gogh’s life, his struggles, and experience his beautiful work. The museum is well played out, exhibiting his life on four floors. While he died poor and relatively unknown, he continues to impact millions of people after his death. Yes, his famous sunflower painting is beautiful, but I loved his little known “Flying Fox.”
Rijksmuseum I really treasure of the Dutch masters; they are incredibly inspiring. The experience gave me a deep sense of connection with the painters throughout the ages, but also the subjects. The faces painted by the Dutch masters really stayed with me. They were just like us. Only darker! I felt a connection through the centuries back, which I never had before. There is a sense of the struggles, loves, and humanness. The paintings portrayed a need for freedom and transformation; not unlike today’s society. The looks on their faces are still with me. In this museum I saw “The Milkmaid” by Vermeer, Rembrandt’s self-portrait, and “The Night Watch” which impacted me less than some other paintings.
I enjoyed the beauty of each moment. Moments can be looking at a painting, visiting tulip fields, watching people laugh, listening to church bells in the distance, noticing a single tulip in an open in a field of closed ones, checking out the baskets of apples, taking in the cold light, experiencing THE MOMENT… where ever we are. That’s inspiration!