Amsterdam, Day 2September 26, 2019 in the Netherlands ⋅ 🌧 15 °C
We reckon that have just discovered the most unhelpful and incompetent organisation in Australia
The first hour after breakfast, when we should have been enjoying the sights of Amsterdam consisted instead of Brian bellowing down the phone to the people at Virgin Global Wallet and Virgin Frequent Flyer. This saga had been going on for three days without resolution. It could be the subject of its own blog, but the upshot was that we needed to transfer the funds from Mary's stolen Global Wallet card to Brian's, which was running low. It should be a routine online transaction, but it required the Virgin people to update Mary's mobile number before that could take place. Numerous lengthy phone calls to Australia followed by repeated assurances from the Virgin people that the problem was fixed instead resulted in zero progress.
Having made as much progress as we could with the useless clowns at Virgin we set out to explore another area of Amsterdam, this time the Museum district. What better place to start than the world-famous Rijkmuseum? It's housed in one of Amsterdam's most spectacular buildings, and that's saying something. We finished up spending quite a few hours there, all of it on the second floor, which is given over to art and other creations of the 17th century.
Of course this very much includes Rembrandt, many of whose original paintings are housed there. It was interesting to see his most famous work, the Night Watch. It is held within a large glass enclosure, which keeps visitors a good five metres away from it At any one time there would have been several dozen people standing in front of the enclosure, which we took to be a big crowd. However one of the attendants who started chatting with us told us that it was exceptionally quiet that day . She said that at the height of the tourist season the crowds viewing that famous painting were many times bigger than that. We certainly wouldn't have enjoyed it nearly as much under such conditions.
Something which particularly interested Brian was the large machine positioned in front of the painting, but obscuring only one small part of it. Millimetre by millimetre it is scanning the very large canvas, using Xrays, we think to analyse the paints and pigments . This is all in preparation for some restoration work.
We spent the next few hours up to the 5pm closing time admiring many of the wonderful works on display in the museum . And that was only one of the three floors of this great institution . Afterwards we wandered around the museum precinct, thinking about all the other museums which we'd really like to see. Top of the list would have to be the Van Gogh museum. That will have to wait until our next visit.Read more