Decided to stick around in Amsterdam for the morning because of the debacle with the Hermitage (just got there too late to really have time to go through the exhibit). And boy was I glad I came back. Went through the Vincent exhibition and got to see Almond Blossoms (done while he was institutionalized) .
Also, wondered where ‘Starry Night’ was. Probably in the Louvre. Interesting to note that though Van Gogh did so much of his work in France (and all his letters to his brother Theo is in French), he’s seen as the famous son of the Dutch. I guess it’s similar to when my mom or other people identify me as Indian, even though I don’t really think of myself that way any more. I’ve been in Canada since my mid-teens and see myself as a multicultural citizen, which is quintessentially Canadian.
I walked out of the Hermitage feeling quite happy (especially when I saw the line for the museum was 3/4 of the courtyards’ entire perimeter). Debated trying the Argentinian “steak houses” that were everywhere but opted instead to get a move on. Taking advantage of my one hour transit pass, I decided to go to the grocery store in search of stroopwaffle (this caramel/honey soaked biscuit that my family love, having been spoiled by my older cousin). Mission success!
As I made my way to public transit (seriously, beats taxis in the trifecta of convenient, comfortable and cheap), I was contemplating travelling by myself. And realized that my super organized and prepared sister who helped me pack for this trip (because I put it off till the last minute, choosing to stress over things I had no control over instead) has never gone backpacking- either through travel or camping. Which is why my pack felt super heavy (and the fact that my pack is 2/3rds my size). Anj, you’re fired!
Now am speeding away towards the land of mussels, chocolates and Tintin!
Riding the train is nice as it gives you snapshots of where you’re travelling through and might even give you some hidden insight. Like the fact that Leiden looks like a bit rundown. There’s garbage strewn about, like you’d see from the train in India. Also, the countryside looks like the prairies, except for the tree-lined paths. I can understand why so many of these people came to the new world to settle down.
Those who know me know that I usually read multiple books at once. And the stimulating book I’ve now started… is a super trashy romance model. I don’t think I’ve read any since high school. Nothing makes you feel like you’re on vacation like reading absolute drivel, because you can! No feeling like you could be doing something more productive or responsible because you’re on holiday and can turn off your brain for a few hours if you want too! And because I’m reading this crap on my iPad, no judgemental looks from strangers (y’know, the kind I give people reading a hard copy of ’50 shades of gray’ on the c-train)!
Ok Europe, you’ve officially taken my breath away. And in Brussels of all places!
My hotel (called Hotel Mozart but bizarrely decorated in opulent Moroccan villa stylez) is not only right next to the train station but is also next to the Grand Place (main square). I had such a flashback to being in the main square in Arequipa and marvelling at all the old architecture. All the buildings around the square is lit up and their reflection on the cobblestones makes the whole place glow.
It was in this moment that it just hit me that I’m on vacation. Being between jobs, I officially have nothing to worry about professionally (though Lean In is providing a ton of insights in this department). I feel this overwhelming feeling of lightness and just keep grinning to myself.
I decide to treat myself some moules et frites (mussels and fries) and to reading till I want and sleeping in (see mom, I am this lame even when I’m by myself). Huzzah!