Day Ten: Our Final Day in Europe (Together)

Sunday, July 23rd, would be our last day in Europe, at least for the both of us. Monday morning, I take a high-speed train to London, and Cindy flies back to the United States. The final day was packed with activity. The first place we visited was Christ Church, not as a tourist, but as worshippers. This Anglican Church was founded in 1698. We enjoyed the service, but were somewhat disappointed. It lacked the beauty and ceremony of the typical Anglican service — No vestments or robes, No sharing of the peace, and, most importantly, no Eucharist! With no offense intended to my protestant friends and brothers and sisters in Christ, this was a very typical protestant evangelical service. The priest was in jeans (and a collar, of course). The worship band was contemporary, and so on. The sermon, which clearly had taken the place of the Eucharist in the service was quite good, however. Despite all this, it was great to worship our Maker.

On the way to church, Cindy finds a pair of Dutch wooden shoes.

Canal view on the way to church.

Christ Church, with its 1829 Neo-Gothic facade

The church is in what used to be the home of the city Architect, Hendrick de Keyser (~1600)

From Christ Church, we visited the house of Rembrandt. The walk through his former residence was most interesting, especially standing in his large studio where he completed many of his great masterpieces, including The Night Watch and many self-portraits.

Before the house of Rembrandt

Rembrandt’s Kitchen

Cindy behind a display demonstrating how Rembrandt mixed his oil paints.

Cindy in the great studio, where great masterpieces were produced.

The museum at Rembrandt’s home possesses almost a complete collection of his etchings. This is one of his best known, The Three Trees.

Another well-known etching by Rembrandt of Christ on the Cross

Upon exiting the house of the great Dutch painter, we had a quick lunch of Belgian waffles, Nutella, and whipped cream (perfect!) and walked a few more blocks to the Hermitage Amsterdam Museum. We visited the massive Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg several years ago. It just so happens that the Hermitage has so much in its collection that it could never put on display, so it opened satellite museums in other cities, such as Amsterdam. We were only able to take in about half of the excellent museum, including an extremely interesting and informative exhibit on the Romanovs of Russia, especially the last Tsar, Nicholas II and his family. The many rooms we wandered through told their very sad story, filled with artifacts and possessions of the royal family.

Belgian waffle with Nutella and Whipped Cream; one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

The Hermitage Amsterdam

Photo of Tsar Nicholas II and Alexandra. Their’s is a true love story.

Artifacts of Nicholas II, including a portion of his personal diary on the right and a newsprint announcing his abdication on the left of the photo.

Cindy in the Great Hall in the Golden Age Dutch Painting exhibition in the Hermitage.

Another Rembrandt anatomy lesson; this one on bony anatomy. The skeleton belonged to a convicted English pirate who had no idea he would be immortalized in painting.

On our way to our next stop, we visited the Flower Market. The Netherlands. for centuries, have been world leaders in the flower business. They still are a major exporter of flowers all over the world. Holland has a history of tulip-mains. In the early 1600s, 40 tulip bulbs sold for about $1.7 million of today’s dollars! One bulb could buy 12 acres of land! Thankfully, the price has dropped since we bought about 12 bulbs to bring home with us.

The 3-D street “Night Watch”

Shaking the hand of the commander of the militia in the rain

Cindy enjoying herself at the Flower Market

We were warned these may not clear customs upon entering back into the U.S.

If this was the 1600s, you’d be looking at a fortune!

Finally, we briefly toured the Amstelkring Museum, aka, Our Lord in the Attic Museum. After William of Orange liberated the Netherlands from Spanish (and Catholic) control, the only religion and form of Christianity that was legal in the land was Dutch Protestantism. The Catholics (and others) went underground and house churches were established. We toured this one particular house church that has an entire Caatholic Church in the attic of a home. Quite interesting!

We passed many Dutch cheese shops as we walked the streets of Amsterdam.

Canal posing.

An unexpected sight while walking through the city, a Buddhist Temple.

The Church of Our Lord in the Attic

My perch in the balcony of the Attic Church

The 17th century home which housed the Catholic Church in the attic

By this time, we were beyond tired. We retreated to our hotel for a few moments before going out to dinner. We had decided on a last-night splurge at a very nice restaurant, but alas it was not to be. They were inexplicably closed. Instead we had pizza at a local restaurant called Dante’s. The pizza was good, our bellies were full, our bodies were tired, so we returned to Hotel Brouwer to relax for the night. Early Monday morning we would be going our separate ways.

Standing before our intended fine-dining dinner restaurant.

The actual fine-pizza restaurant where we had dinner.

The exterior of the Hotel Brouwer. You may notice that it dates from the 1600s.

Our third story canal-front room sloped severely downward toward the canal. It is likely not all that apparent in this photo. But it was apparent which I slept because my mattress would slide off my bed towerd the canal-side of the room, making sleeping a precarious proposition.

7 thoughts on “Day Ten: Our Final Day in Europe (Together)

  1. Tired…but in a good way What a great experience! Those canals & flowers are beautiful! And so was the art…I know you loved the paintings

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