Saturday, November 26, 2016

To Berlin

Tomorrow morning my cousin Erin and I are flying to Berlin for two days. She has to meet with some clients on Monday, and originally the purpose of my tagging along was to watch baby Matthijs, who was also joining us. But now Rembert's parents are coming to Amsterdam to take care of him, so we just get a fun mini-vacation instead.

I've never been to Berlin--I've never been to Germany at all, actually. For those of you who have been to Berlin, I'd love to hear suggestions about things to see and do there--keeping in mind that we only have 48 hours. What are the essentials?

So far our list includes: beer, sausage, pretzels, and people-watching.

We need some more ideas.

What have I been up to in Amsterdam, you ask? Erin spent most of last week at a conference in London, so I spent a lot of time babysitting the boys, especially Matthijs. I think he finally likes having me around; the other day when I tried to leave the house without him, he cried. I felt both terrible and accomplished.

Yesterday afternoon I walked to the Van Gogh Museum, which is open late on Fridays. For some reason, people always seem to assume that I'm really into visual art, that I'm some kind of expert on art history. This could not be more untrue. Van Gogh is one of my favorite artists because he uses bright colors, and I love bright colors. There are probably other, less famous artists who also use bright colors. I don't know who those artists are.

I very much enjoyed the museum, especially seeing Van Gogh's work from the period immediately before his death. Those paintings are especially wild and vivid, the paint smeared on in thick dabs. It's a shame he had to lose his mind in order to produce them.

This morning Erin and Matthijs and I visited Noordermarkt, a popular street market in Amsterdam's historic Jordaan neighborhood. We pretended that we were there to shop, but in reality we just wanted to grab free food samples from the vendors and then stop at Winkel 43 for a piece of their famous apple pie. I mean, really. Look at this pie:

apple pie amsterdam
We waited in line for this pie. Totally worth it.

Afterwards, Erin took Matthijs back home for a nap while I popped into nearly every vintage store on Haarlemerstraat searching for the yellow cardigan I saw one day a few weeks ago and stupidly did not purchase. Alas, I did not find it. But that's okay--I don't have much room in my suitcase, anyway. 

I have no idea how I'm going to bring back Christmas presents. I'll have to ask the internet how to pack more efficiently. 

Tonight we're going to an expat Thanksgiving dinner hosted by some of E&R's friends. Turkey and mashed potatoes, here I come. 

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