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FamousUncleArt - Goes on the road again - Netherlands Trip Report

FamousUncleArt - Goes on the road again - Netherlands Trip Report

Apr 23rd, 2006, 04:48 PM
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Posts: 243
Sorry for the apartment double post
RufusTFirefly - Where are you going and for how long?
The village of Alkmaar has a famous cheese auction from the first April until September which is, I thought was for the benefit of the tourists, and believe me the square was jammed with them, and their cameras. It was so crowded that I had to behave like a nasty American tourists and push my way to the front, mumbling, ĎHey Im an American tourist, outta way, buddyí (No, I didnít do that but I wish I had) Iíve heard about Alkmaar before and always thought that visit the cheese auction was for the benefit of the tourists but it is real auction and has been for at least five centuries. There are four groups of men who are dressed in four colors white, yellow, green and blue. I donít know if they compete with each other but I think they do. I didnít understand everything but it was a true auction, quite seriously, although everyone was dressed in costumes. One has to get there early since itís completely over by twelve. I may joke about the tourists but it was crowded and there were cheese stalls where you could buy lovely wheels of cheese. I bought one wheel, which I have eaten most of and it is a bland cheese (at least to my tastes) but I thought with all that pomp and ceremony the cheese would have a bit of bite. The village of Alkmaar replete with McDonalds and other American shops was as bland as their cheese.
Apr 25th, 2006, 03:56 PM
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FamousUncleArt - so glad to read your report on your latest trip.

Will add to what others have said and hope I am as brave about travel when your age. Your reports are always good for a laugh.

Did the little lad stay next to you the entire flight over or just in the beginning?

SandyBrit is offline  
Apr 26th, 2006, 03:17 PM
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I leave for Amsterdam tomorrow!! This is my Dads last story without me!!!
A Trip To Bountyless
I've done two or day trips here at a cost of a few euros, I've been told that Maastricht was an excellent place to visit, lots of sites etc. I went to train station around ten am and got a ticket which cost 42 euros which is around fifty dollars or so. I don't mind the expense of the trip but I did forget to ask "How long is the ride?" Bad mistake. My train left around

As is my usual routine, I bring water, fruit and often something to read. I leaned back in a plush seat, drank some water and read--are you ready--Readers Digest--a good friend works there and sends me free copies. I recommend them for vacation travel, unless you're going to Rome and then I recommend the Da Vinci Code.

After an hour or so, I finished the RD, even did the word power, read all jokes and something about Matt Dillon helping a homeless child in Europe. Slowly ate the banana over the next half hour, even took some pictures which was difficult to do, but the windows looked like huge beautiful postcards of sheep grazing in large green fields, some shanty build gardens for locals to grow their own, and canals warming in the sun,

Now around three hours I ran out what to do, went back to readers digest and completely read everything even the fraud ads which will save my life. We got to Maastricht. The station brick building was not too large, with three large windows which made it look larger, and the interior still used the original turn of the century brick inlaid signs. I found them a good omen for the trip

Oh, I forgot there is no food on the train and in spite of the banana, I was hungry. The problem was where to eat, the city was awash in restaurants of all types, an Irish bar, a Turkish restaurant (Pop would turn over in his 'gravy' (family joke) Italian restaurants (no thank you) and finally I ate in a Dutch restaurant which featured Italian sandwiches (I forgot the name)

Okay, thats no difference from any city. You are right. I made a long tour to it and wasn't different at all, except it seemed to be a shoppers delight, all, no surprise, American franchises and shoppers hustling around with bags loaded down. There were a group of people, foreign, standing outside a store each one with a bag larger than a potato sack, and they looking each others bad and giggled with glee as to what the women had

Did I travel just to see what I see every day on Broadway? I did see the Churches and some buildings which had something to do with peace treaties. Oh, don't make a face, there wasn't much to see.

The buildings looked like or reminded me of Brighton and Atlantic City in its 1940's prime. I asked if we were near the ocean and of course, we weren't. White buildings like Emperors Hotel, and other hotels with high class names which I didnít jot down.

Now, I faced a three hour ride home, I did get a sandwich--actually half of the Italian sandwich which I politely asked the girl that I wanted a take away. She looked at me as if I asked her to feed me her children, She rushed to the front of the restaurant searching for something to put it in, and after ten minutes searching she came up to me and handed six feet of aluminum wrap. I wrapped it and put into my ziplock bag which I carry on my travels. She gave me a "French" shrug of 'why did you want it in zee wrap? Alors!

The trip back was longer since I was going back during the rush hour and two women sat across from me, one was a young Bette Midler talking to her friend who looked like Lily Tomlin. Bette went on for hours and I was trying to make a story of what she was saying, but I think it had something to do with her boy friend\ husband by various slightly obscene gestures, Lily nodded often and said a few valid observations.

I ate my half of sandwich while listening, and I dropped crumbs and melted cheese on me, and Lilly brushed them off and helped me while Bette chatted on about her boyfriend\husband.

The moral of this trip:
Never pay a lot of money for a trip until you know how long the travel is.
yeadonite is offline  
May 2nd, 2006, 01:47 PM
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Queen's Day? Sounds like an afternoon in the New York's Village, but it's not the same. Queen's day is celebrated on the current monarchs birthday but Queen Beatrix decided to keep it on her mothers Queen Juliana birthday. It's a national holiday; it is largely a time to behave like the Irish on St Paddy's Day or everybody on New Years Eve. That is what I expected, but that isn't what happened, some beer drinking and noise but not enough to make an impression. (I found out later that there were more than I've seen.) Queen's Day is like a national tag sale, garage sale, or lawn sale but with an orange touch. Orange, orange, orange everywhere and not a seed to be seen. Everybody, mostly, has an orange touch, some women wear an orange wig or dye their hair orange, and some wear some balloon orange crowns. Connie and I went to Vondalpark, just picture Central Park with New Yorkers holding tag sales, and then you have what happened on Queens Day. I knew that there were going to be people selling a variety of things but I did not expect it to be ordinary people selling a variety from esoteric perfumes to well-read paperback novels. Let me get back to the 'Orange' condition. I have never seen more ways to wear orange or -- pick a color--in my life. Orange hats--a cinch. Orange tee shirts, blouses, jackets (which look like rescue at sea life saving jackets) wigs, hats, shoes, dog (dyed) no cats (they wont stand for that), babies in orange clothes, dogs wearing orange coats (they are such cowards) and me with an orange tee shirt from Whiskers, a bar in Ocean City, Md. I felt as if I were floating or swimming through a Florida Citrus commercial. However, it wasn't that. It was as if Manhattan opened Central Park to everybody..anybody ..who wanted to sell something had a tag sale. The only difference is that I got the sense those who did were real people having a real tag sale, one which was opened to all who lived in Amsterdam or, like me, were tourists. I did not see, as I have at NYC street fairs, numbered signs allotted to the sellers, usually restaurants, shops and professionals. There were some who spread out for twelve feet or so, and others which covered a two foot square. A boy playing a violin with a battered sign asking for donations at his foot. Merchandise was not only items to be sold, there were home made cookies, comic books, booties, dolls, home made cookies, knitted thingies, novels, picture frames, home made cookies, teenagers playing violins, or upright digital instruments, dusty boxes from the attic or the cellar, home made cookies with pre-teenagers hawking them, older people hovering in the background urging their children or their children's children to take part in "Queen's Day" As I passed through acres of tag sales, I thought could this ever be held in New York City and my decision...you got it. Never. The thousands, who walked past the detritus of the lives spread out on the green, fresh grass, were respectable, nodding here and there as if to give acceptance to the sellers. No jokes, never a sarcastic remark to I joined them for about an hour or two. I saw only the deepest respect from the potential buyers for the sellers. And, topping everyone was a touch of orange, either inflated balloon-like hats, or orange hats, wigs, braids, or what can be improvised from orange paper. I found it funny at first but after a short while I found it a respect to not only the Queen but to the nation. Independence Day is as close as we get to it with fireworks but you cant rival the silent vivid orange color,the slow shuffling of thousands, the chirping of children selling comic books the smell of hot-dogs, baked goods, and coffee, amid the variety of personal goods being offered for a low price all make it Queens day in Holland. Hey, you have a good day where ever you are, a Queen's Day.
May 5th, 2006, 02:03 PM
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You Feel Like King Kong in Madurodam

Those of you who have been to Madurodam know what I mean by the King Kong metaphor. It is a tiny...actually a large reproduction of buildings, airplanes, ships, and trains to scale 1:25 and in precise detail and accurate down to details such as the baggage coming out of the carousel at an airport.

It's named after George Maduro who was killed in WWII. His parents wanted something to honor him and I believe that he liked miniatures.

I did not think that Madurodam would interest me, but from the beginning, I saw, at the entrance of the place was a stature of boy who put his finger into the dike to save Amsterdam (I think) and a little jet of water springs out from his hand. A touch of humor got to me.

The only negative part of the place is that the maps of the place are hard to work with believe me, its a small complaint, at least to the children there. I'm not sure but we think that it must have been a school holiday since there were a lot of children on a Tuesday. I think it's must be a thrill for little kids to tower over buildings as opposed to have the buildings tower over them.

The art is in the details, the train station of Gonigen is accurate to the tram that comes to pick the travelers; St. Basilica which is awesome to see, and so is the reproduction.

There are always special events. This trip brought out ice sculptures by Chinese artists and held in a cold tent. We were given jackets too wear which reminded us of an ice bar we went to in Sweden. (That's another story) There were all types of ice sculptures but the kids liked the the ice slide the best (Will post the pictures in webshots)

If you get to Amsterdam put this small wonder on your list of places to definitely go to.
yeadonite is offline  
May 9th, 2006, 05:05 PM
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Congrats on going at 79!!! Did you come back yet?
tinyteacup is offline  
May 9th, 2006, 05:21 PM
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Thanks Famous!

I somehow missed this first time around. I love the read. Hope you are doing well and planning you next trip!
indytravel is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 05:33 AM
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PLease note: We should have confirmed all our travel plans before leaving Amsterdam. The Fodorites are the best source of trip iformation anywhere!!!

Kroellers and Koffee
From the start to our trip to Amsterdam, Connie repeatedly talked going to the Kroeller-Müller Musum. She had Fodorized the place and she put it high on her things-which-must-be-done-in-Amsterdam. I didnít argue since she is a superb group leader (She does not have a little flag to make sure nobody misses the tour, but she does wear a funny blue hat)

Connie, warned me that there was an hour long train ride to Arnhem then two bus connections. I argued but her rejoinder was the Fodorites recommend it. When we got to Arnhem we had to wait 45 minutes for the bus to Otterlo which was the outskirts of town. (Nothing puts a chill on my travels to hear 'outskirts') We got to the outskirts and the bus driver said to wait for another bus to get to the Kroeller-Müller exhibit.

I foolishly said "Lets walk", I regret it to this day. We got to the entrance of the park and, of course, I was exhausted. I am not sure how far we walked but it was a good distance. We were told there would be a bus shortly. Connie said that she would walk ahead since the Bus Schedule indicated a bus was due any minute. I said fine.

I sat and waited...and waited...and waited...the bus did not arrived as scheduled. I went to the entrance to ask those working for the park if they knew anything...they did not.

It was hot. Finally after about an hour, I decided to walk. There were cars going to the site and I thought they would either pick me up or at least offer a ride. I walked, cars passed me by, I walked with my old man limp and would turn and look sad and alone and harmless as the cars approached. They zipped by.

Did I say it was hot? I walked on the road, there was a path through the woods, but I thought walking on the asphalt would be faster and that I might be picked up by compassionate Dutch drivers.

I arrived hot and sweaty and Connie was there to greet me. She knew I was fuming, but I had a cold drink and cooled down. She said we did not have to see the exhibit, I insisted. I walked for some mile or so through the hot
Dutch tree lined road and seeing a Van Gogh drawing was enough for me.

Actually, I glimpsed it but did not see it up close since we had to catch the last bus back to Arnhem.
May 11th, 2006, 08:28 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
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Hi FAMOUSUNCLEART & yeadonite! Auntgrapes has asked me to extend you an invitation to our upcoming NJ/NY GTG in Weehawken, NJ on Saturday June 3rd. We'd love to have you join if you're available!

Search for the current GTG thread or e-mail me at [email protected] for more info.
tpatricco is offline  
May 12th, 2006, 05:35 AM
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Since Connie went back to NYC, I decided to go to Vienna.

Iíve always said that a guided tour is the best way to explore a city. This bus tour was no different. I found out a great deal about Vienna. I either did not know or forgotten how the hundreds of wars affected not only Vienna but all of Europe for centuries.

I remember hearing about a symphony called the Ring, but I never figured out why. Vienna is surrounded by a ring or rings which were fortified to keep out all invaders. This peaceful city was the cities which were war torn.

However, it is very peaceful. I went to the estate of a prince called Schonbrunn which reminded me of the Mel Brooks film in which he says "Being King is Nice" or whatever. Huge home, lawns which could stretch from my apartment to the village.

I went to the Albertina museum and in honor of Mozartís 400 anniversary - "Mozart - Experiment Enlightenment"- all exhibits were devoted to him. There was some original scores he had written (I might be wrong about that since all the information was in German and besides my knowing how to say give me some potatoes or I will shoot you...is very sparse.) When I bent over the glass enclosure and saw those scores, I was intrigued...there were ink spots and re-writes scratched out all over the score. I have always thought he never had to re write a score but I could be wrong. There were artifacts of the age he lived in, some were intriguing to me such as the 'thunder' machine which was used in many of his operas, and the shoes the ladies of the time wore--there were heels at least six if not more inches. I could not imagine how women walked in them, but again, I suspect they did not walk as much as you do. I suspect there are not too many relics of his life, however, I was excited by what they do have. At one point in the exhibit there is a dark room with a couch, a padded couch which was a replica of what was used in his age, and on the screen there was a long vistavision presentation but I canít figure out if it was film or just a moving strip. However as the strip moved, a character or animal would move but ever so slightly and it would come when there was a long stretch of the inanimate scroll moving. I sat on the couch for about ten minutes, and nobody came in to use the chair and it was a serene moment of time travel for me.
May 21st, 2006, 05:27 AM
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Great reporting!!! And the rest of the story.....
ehc is offline  
May 25th, 2006, 12:21 PM
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Home, Houses, and Hotels
Hiya Gang

I'm home, I've been away for a month, at essentially two places, first in a home exchange in Amsterdam and a hotel room in Vienna with a couple of day trips to other cities which I wrote about, However the last few days I've been thinking about 'home' not my apartment but the concept of 'home'. I was slated to stay in Vienna for five days and when I emailed Connie that I was leaving Vienna and I was going home. She emailed "Home are you crazy? How did you change your flight." Of course, I meant going back to Amsterdam but I did say 'home.' She thought I would be taking an expensive flight back to New York.

The apartment in Amsterdam was on a large, tree line major street on the ground floor, and I could see the street cars pass my kitchen window which was handy since I figured out a rough schedule by watching the # 10 and # 7 street cars passing by, and the metro was only a block away. Being near easy transportation here was very much like my 'home.' which had two bus lines and two subways stop nearby.

His home had, like mine, two bedrooms (one large and other looked like a prison cell with one cot-like bed where Connie served for two weeks. The kitchen was, again, small but efficient. His girlfriend is a pastry chef and there were sufficient herbs, knives, pots and pans just like my kitchen.

The main room was airy with a ceiling to floor window/door which made it easy to step down into a small plot that had many colorful plants which I had to water every week or so. It had enough space for a two chairs which made reading outdoors a treat.

The garden plot was a route for pigeons and their cooing made me homesick for my patio pigeon and her egg. Also a large black cat who, when the window/door was open, would stroll in and purred while I was at the computer. I had to chase him out but he took it like a mensch.

There were two large blue couches at one corner. There was an excellent audio set up and a telly much larger than mine. Quite quickly, I was very pleased and comfortable with the arrangements. I had found a home away from home. (A cliché I know but then I always take the easy way)

I flew up to Vienna filled with excitement. Growing up on movies in the 40's, I loved those movies about Vienna, with Nelson Eddy and My male buddies did not like those MGM singing movies, I did. Vienna! Even the sound of it has a lilt and I loved the idea of going to the city of music, wine and beautiful people dancing and singing. I knew that reality of Vienna
was different from those flickering images which deeply impressed me.

I stayed at a "Fralkenstieneer Hotel Palace (A Mel Brooks title?) which had a decent room, a large window filled the room with light, the beds were large, which was good since they became my space for books, camera etc. There was a desk, a large modern bath and it was, I knew, not a home. But after three days, it became one. At night, I would sit in front of the TV, looking for and never getting a thing I could easily see. I did get many American shows on Amsterdam TV which had the subtitles in Dutch, but in Vienna there were no subtitles.

I saw "Jerry Maguire" dubbed in Austrian, no American subtitles but I knew it well enough to enjoy it. There was Tom Cruise sounding like an Austrian Prince. (one side thought, the dubbing made me realize how poor an actor he is...I know it doesnít fit here.)

But in Vienna they did have some spectacular homes. Homes? They were
Princely homes, I mean homes in which Princes lived. Room after room,
painted ceilings not like the Sistine Chapel but impressive, many paintings
on the wall, but I never saw a kitchen..hmmm!

There are two homes in Vienna the Belvedere and Schoen-Brunn (google it for
more info). I have seen palaces all over Europe. However, these two seemed
lived-in, a real home in spite of their vastness.

The flower gardens were bigger than most of Manhattan, and the Belvedere had a reflecting pool which made the stately yellow building look magnificent in the reflection.

I stood outside the main entrance looking at the gardens, I could see beyond the well kept gardens to the city which looked like a Hollywood set. A perfect day.

I thought, here the Prince with a princess on his embroidered, silken arm would come out for a stroll on a clear, beautiful day. They would be followed by lesser royalty. I'm sure they thought "Yes, Is not this day beautiful. I know God made this day just for us my dear" I felt the same way. God made it for me--a sad wandering traveler.

Back in the hotel I got home-sick for my 'home.' Not in NYC but the home in

I left two days before I was slated to leave. I wanted to go home to
Amsterdam. When I opened the front door (It wasnít easy since I was confused by the different keys which looked exactly alike. I got in, sat on the couch, got a drink, took off my shoes, and went online. I was' home' the second time and yet not home.

When I did get to W. 90th street, I opened the door and their was a faint perfumed smell to it, not the home smell I filed in my smell synapses, and I felt like a stranger intruding in my own 'home.', all that was yesterday.

Finally, after a night's sleep, I felt...you got it...I felt at home for maybe the third time in a month of being away from "home"


Jun 3rd, 2006, 07:27 AM
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Great writing, I always enjoy your stories!
Elana (Connies Friend)
red0916 is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2006, 09:29 AM
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This was sooo enjoyable. I'm now late for my hair appointment, but just couldn't stop reading!
luvtotravel is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2006, 07:23 AM
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If anyone is interested in our pictures, here they are:

Jun 27th, 2006, 09:45 AM
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Great photos...thanks for sharing!
Grapestoo is offline  
Jun 27th, 2006, 05:04 PM
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FAMOUSUNCLEART - Thanks for sharing your photos.

SandyBrit is offline  
Jun 27th, 2006, 07:10 PM
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I really enjoyed your trip report and the photos. We loved Amsterdam, too.
Saraho is offline  
Feb 14th, 2009, 04:07 AM
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Elana - this is the write report
tinyteacup is offline  
Sep 21st, 2009, 12:07 PM
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Topping for Arthroman
yeadonite is offline  

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