Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Beer heaven

Today was mostly a travel day. We set off from Amsterdam this morning by train. We had hoped to catch the 11 o'clock train, but by the time I got to the ticket counter there was no chance of that, so the 12 o'clock train it was. That got us into Bruges by about 4:30. All went well, but let's just say that the trains in Holland and Belgium don't hold a candle to the Swiss rail system. 

Yesterday, we took in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. We were warned to get there early and to expect lines and crowds. As it happened, we walked right by the entrance because we were looking for a huge lineup where there was none. We arrived at about 9 am and the place was almost deserted for the first hour we were there. We got a very good look at Rembrant's Night Watch before the real crowds started coming in after 10. Even so, I was expecting much worse. 

The Rijks is probably the only museum we'll take in on this trip. Neither of us are real museum people, and I did some reflecting on why that is the other day. It's like my philosophy about recording being "purgatory" for music. It's ok for archival purposes, but recordings are not really music. I thiink I view museums a little the same way. They are like art zoos; fine for educational purposes, but art needs to live in society to be really effective. And like zoos, I find museums a little depressing. It's sad to see all these amazing works of art penned up together in the same place, when really, they should be free and out in the open. 

Ok, enough of my crazy artist BS. We really enjoyed the museum, but after 3 hours, we were footsore and overwhelmed. Time to have a bite to eat and explore. Which we did. We walked along the famous Albert Cuypmarkt, took the tram into the centre and saw the Neiuwmarkt, then headed over to the Brouwerij 't IJ for a few beers from one of Amsterdam's best breweries.

We also stopped to smell the roses along the way 

I write this from our excellent B&B in Bruges, where our hosts offer various beverages for an extra fee. One of those beverages happens to be Westvlerteren, a mythical and very famous Begian abbey beer that I have been wanting to try for years. It's normally only sold at the abbey, though apparently it is available fairly commonly in bottle shops around here. But I didn't expect to find it at the B&B! and for only 4 Euros a bottle! I think I might just be in beer heaven. At any rate, Holland was wonderful, but today's little beer surprise was a nice welcome back to Belgium!

No comments: