Tuesday, October 06, 2009

More Stuff from Europe

I thought I was done taking inventory of my loot from Germanic countries, but I stand corrected. Just got to the Ziploc bag with the souvenirs from the Netherlands. I added some more stuff to my Italy list, if you're inclined to rewind. More below.


  • Brochure from the Openluchtmuseum ("Open Air Museum") in Arnhem. This is the Netherlands equivalent of Colonial Williamsburg. But whereas Williamsburg covers one area and one era in U.S. history, the Openluchtmuseum covers multiple parts of Dutch history and life. Interesting place, but it is (understandably) mostly in Dutch--the signs and the language of the staff.
  • A brochure and ticket from the Rijksmuseum, the Royal Museum of the Netherlands in Amsterdam. They've got some very cool stuff there from Holland's golden age of imperialism, but I must confess that Rembrandt leaves me flat. His "soft lighting" effects in his painting are distinctive, but not startling or particularly attractive to me. To each his own.
  • Brochure from the Anne Frank Huis (Anne Frank's House). Yes, the diary is really there. No photographs allowed inside, but being there really puts you in the head of that 14-year-old girl. The floor space--for eight people--was probably less space than I had to myself in a condo in Alexandria, Virginia: about 800 square feet.
  • A train ticket for Haarlem to Amsterdam.
  • A brochure that was offered at the Anne Frank Huis by a group called "Free2Choose." They had a video running on a big screen with people given the opportunity to vote on issues ranging from censoring neo-Nazis to suppressing hate speech by radical Muslims. The answers of the people who were in the room didn't interest me so much as the combined answers of people who have visited the exhibit since 2004. It's a little horrifying how many people visiting the Anne Frank Huis were willing to suppress free speech in the name of the common good.
  • A picture of myself boarding our canal cruise in Amsterdam. The guy taking the photos caught up with us by moped (one of the primary means of transportation in Amsterdam) on the fringe of the Red Light District.
  • Three tram tickets from Amsterdam.
  • Ticket from the van Gogh Museum. This is another artist whose works fail to move me, except for Starry Night. As I put it in a postcard to Dr. OZMG, you've got on display what art created by a mentally ill person looks like. That's useful in a way, but troubling. Just as troubling is the notion that someone would pay $40 million for said work.
  • A flyer for a Harley Davidson motorcycle fan gathering in Haarlem.
  • A free map of Haarlem for bicycle riders.


  • Metro and street map of Paris.
  • Tickets, receipts, and maps from the Musée Rodin, one to get onto the grounds, and a second to get into a house on the grounds that had more of his works. If it were any other artist, I probably would've said to heck with it and left without seeing the rest. However, for Rodin, I made an exception. His sculpture is so lively it practically twitches.
  • Ticket and brochure from the Sainte-Chapelle church.
  • A couple of Metro tickets. The Paris Metro, IMHO, is much like the French language: unnecessarily complicated. That said, I never got lost or missed a stop, so it can't be all bad.
  • Brochure from the Louvre. Being an idjit, I discovered too late that France's Impressionist art is in the Musée D'Orsay, and there just wasn't time/space on my itinerary to squeeze that one one in. There's always next time, right?
  • Business card from my hotel in Paris, the Hotel Beaugency.
  • An advertisement (one of several left under windshield wipers along the Rue du Mars--it's not just an American problem) for a company advertising its services for translating your family's home movies into DVDs.
  • Brochure from the Hotel de la Paix ("Hotel of the Peace") in Beaune, France.
  • A coaster from the Deux Magots, a place Ernest Hemingway is apparently known to have habituated. One word: expensive.
  • A business card for the shop where I bought a case of Burgundy wine (5 white, 7 red).
  • The lyrics to the song the tour sang for Paul, our bus driver as a farewell tribute, sung (I kid you not) to the tune of "The Wheels of the Bus Go 'Round and 'Round." I wonder how many glasses of wine it took to come up with those lyrics. Paul made out pretty well on this trip. Our resident tour artist, Sarah, created a charicature picture of everyone on the tour (note the dork with the hat, front and center).
  • A brochure for the Domaine Chandon de Briallles, a beautiful mansion that also has its own brand of wine.
  • A brochure and ticket from the Hospices de Beaune Hotel-Dieu, a quite beautiful medieval hospital that was really a hospice--people went there to die.
  • A hotel guide for France.

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