Not So Alone in Amsterdam

Continued from Still Alone in Amsterdam

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On my last vacation day before I had to start teaching, I made it a combination of old and new activities. I started off with a trip to the Rijksmuseum, one of the largest in Amsterdam and where Rembrandt’s The Night Watch is housed. Their special exhibits were an interesting display of women’s fashions over the centuries from large dresses…

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…to mini skirts…

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…and a display of Breitner’s Girl in Kimono series, the first time these 14 paintings of model Geesje Kwak have all been displayed together.

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Even though I have been to this museum many times, it pays to visit again as they always have at least one interesting special exhibit to view.

The rest of my day, I almost exclusively did new activities. I got to visit the Basilica of St. Nicholas, an Old Catholic church that my siblings and I tried to visit last year, but were unable to do so due to renovations.

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And I went up into the 10-story Bibliotheek, the Central Library in Amsterdam. Not that I planned to check out any books but it appeared that there was a great view of the city from the top floor. In fact, there was along with a top-floor restaurant where you could sit with a view of Amsterdam and enjoy your books (if you read Dutch).

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But my purpose for coming this way was actually to visit the NEMO Science Center, the children’s hands on learning museum located on an island in the Ij River.

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I was not disappointed. This facility has six floors of almost arcade-like exhibits for all age kids from about three to 15. Each floor caters to a progressively older child from enclosing oneself in a soap bubble…

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…to a ball gauntlet…

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…to even a chemistry lab where young scientists suit up and perform lab experiments.

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To me though, the highlight was the chain reaction exhibit where the tumble of a single green domino, set into motion a chain of unrelated, but interconnected events that took a full 10 minutes to ultimately work its way back to almost the starting point and launch a rocket upward by compressed air power.

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It might seem odd that someone near retirement age would go alone to a children’s museum but again I had an ulterior motive. I was checking it out to potentially bring my grandchildren one day. I already have one Holland destination for certain picked out—Madurodam.

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I just wanted to find the next one.

When I got back to my hotel that day, I realized that even though I had been by myself all day, I hadn’t really been alone as I was making mental connections with my family throughout the day.

First was the pleasant surprise upon existing the Rijksmuseum of finding a quartet performing Pachelbel’s Cannon in D, the special music that played as I walked my daughter down the aisle at her wedding.

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And then it was visiting the Basilica, namesake of my youngest son and where my siblings and I were unable to get into last year because of renovations.

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And in the library, discovering architectural models that always remind me of my oldest son.

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To picturing my three grandkids running around the science museum one day…

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…to having a beer at a microbrewery and sending the picture to my brother (something we do all the time)…

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…and finally, to toasting my wife who I missed very much even though I knew she was having fun with our grandson in California.

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As I started out writing several weeks ago, I knew this would be a different trip and indeed it was, but not in a bad way. Even though our loved ones may not physically be with us wherever we are, they are with us in mind and spirit. So we’re actually never really alone; they’re always with us.

And on my last night in Amsterdam, as I was walking back from dinner, I happened to glance up and get a new canal shot.

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One I had not gotten before despite all of my previous attempts. And a shot that captured the same moon that would also be shining down on all my family just a few hours later at the end of their day.

6 responses to “Not So Alone in Amsterdam

  1. I loved, loved this whole series! Like being there myself (almost!). And you got to see the church!! Hope you took more pictures!! Love you Dave.

  2. This is so sweet! Thank you for checking out the children’s museum! I do hope we can take the kids there someday:) I have had that experience so many times when traveling alone–constantly thinking of and feeling close to the ones I love. How beautiful that we truly always carry them with us.

    • All of you were absolutely with me the whole time but it was my last free day that all these wonderful unexpected reminders made me the most aware of your presence.

  3. I always feel this way when I travel, wishing others were there to share in the experiences. Great post!

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