Last of our summer travels — Amsterdam

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I’ll admit that I wasn’t quite sure what we’d think of Amsterdam.  I mean it’s not exactly known for it’s … waffles.   Yet we had a few days before we planned to get to Oxford, we had a day left on the Eurual pass, and, since seeing a Van Gogh IMAX (yes, random) several years ago, I’ve wanted to visit the Van Gogh Museum there.  So why not?

I think we all were pleasantly surprised by Amsterdam: charming canals, nice green spaces, and wonderful museums.  Monday evening, not long after we arrived, we went and got in line at the Anne Frank house.  The 80-minute wait was well worth it.  I had read an Anne Frank biography to the girls on the train ride, and it was sobering to see the secret annex where 8 people lived for two years before being discovered by the gestapo.  We were also able to see pages of the actual diary and learn about the people who helped the Franks hide by bringing them food, supplies, and companionship.  

Tuesday morning, we headed to the Van Gogh Museum, which was wonderful.  It’s (obviously) full of Van Gogh’s masterpieces, also had fascinating exhibits on perspective frames, the fading of color in his work, and infrared displays of his paintings that he painted over when he ran out of canvas.  So cool!

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Afterward the museum and lunch, the girls found a playground to explore for a while before we headed to the Rijksmuseum — our third museum in 24 hours.

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The Rijksmuseum has an impressive collection, but we were getting tired, so we mainly focused on Rembrandt’s art since we had studied his life and works earlier in the summer.  (And fought the crowds to glance at the Vermeers.)  The girls had fun seeing his famous “The Night Watch” up close and learning about all the little details. 

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By that evening, we were exhausted!  We grabbed an early dinner, headed back to the hotel, and were all in bed before 9:00.  The next morning after breakfast, we hopped on a plane and headed to Oxford, arriving in time to unpack a bit and go out for a birthday dinner.  

We’ve spent the last few days getting settled in Oxford: getting our apartment in order, unpacking, shopping, going to the library.  We still have some settling in to do in the next few days, but I am definitely ready for a little routine in our lives.  The girls will start a homeschool routine in the next few days, and we’re all very excited about the students arriving on Thursday morning!  House 10 feels very empty!

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