Beautiful Handmade Statement Necklaces and other Fabulousness from Neena Shilvock - Inspirations and Designs From the Week Gone by
Hello good people, how are you? Mike and I have just got back from a short trip to Amsterdam. We've been before, but we had tickets to go to a concert in Leidschendam den Haag by one of our favourite jazz singers, Laura Fygi, and we thought it would be rude to come straight back home. We spent a couple of days wandering around Amsterdam, strolling around aimlessly taking in the sights, eating and drinking much more than we should have and generally having a great old time.
We started as we meant to go on, by taking a Tesla limo from Schipol to Leidschendam which is about 45 minutes from the airport. The concert was as fabulous as we had expected and Laura sang from 830 pm to around 11pm with only a short break. Her voice was as fluid and melodious as on her CDs and the music washed over us in waves. She did a 'meet and greet' after the show and I gave her a necklace from my collection - I do so love her music and wanted to show my appreciation in a small, but tangible way. We spent the night at the hotel, and took a taxi back in to Amsterdam the next morning.
We stayed in Dam Square in The Grand Cafe Krasnapolsky and everyone around us seemed to be a Russian oligarch. The ladies, in particular walked about in designer clothes with large shopping bags from De Bijenkorf carrying yet more designer goods, talking fast and gesticulating wildly with their manicured talons and jangling bracelets. It was so much fun just sitting and watching them, I almost didn't want to leave, I enjoyed the people watching so much. Mike wanted to go and see a bit of the countryside, so he prised me out of the hotel onto a trip out to Volendam and a cheese factory, stopping off at Zaanse Schans where they have a working windmill and ending via ferry at a clog factory in Maarkan. I'd been on this tour about 30 years ago but it seemed like a nice thing to do again - not much has changed since!
We aren't really museum buffs, but went to the Rijksmuseum to see the Rembrandts they had there - the Nightwatch being the most famous one. I would have preferred the Van Gogh museum, but they only allow in limited numbers of people and one had to book online - unfortunately by the time we decided to go, it was fully booked up.
The Rijksmuseum has three dolls' houses that provide a detailed view of how affluent houses were once furnished. The most famous was collected by the wealthy Petronella Oortman of Amsterdam. In the 17th century, dolls' houses were not toys; they were a hobby, the equivalent for women of the collection cabinets kept by men.
All the pieces were made precisely to scale, in the same way and using the same materials as their regular counterparts. Petronella ordered her miniature porcelain from China and commissioned cabinetmakers, glassblowers, silversmiths, basket-weavers and artists to furnish her dolls' house: an extremely expensive hobby. Her dolls' house apparently cost as much as an actual house on a canal!
I prefer casual art installations like the one on this canal.
There was lots more people watching, eating chips and mayonnaise from the 'Chipsy King', stroopwaffels which are like biscuits sandwiched around a layer of caramel sauce and general loafing about, which was quite enjoyable. We spent our evenings in the Red Light District which is not at all as sleazy as it sounds, notwithstanding the peep shows, prostitution and coffee shops that abound. I felt that if I needed to, I could have sat alone at a cafe and not been accosted by anyone. My theory is that when sex and drugs are freely available, people who want these pleasures are so busy seeking them out that nobody cares about the other people, men, women and tourists in the area. It has a very cool vibe and people are very friendly - it is also open till very late at night, with live music and bars full of tourists, so is a very vibrant place to be in.
And now we're back home, the cat is happy to have us back, and I go to work next week. I have a couple of days off to relax and clear out suitcases, and do all the tedious things one has to do when one gets back from a holiday.
Have a fabulous week, folks and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.