Spring Break!!! pt. III

About halfway through the week, we got a call from two of our friends in Amsterdam, Sophie (who lives in Amsterdam) and Pauline (who is from Belgium, but was in town visiting), so Roderick and I hopped a train north to the capital city. It was the Queen's birthday so the streets were busier than usual, with a giant fair in the heart of the city. We did some people watching then grabbed a snack and headed to the Van Gogh Museum, something I had been dying to see.

As you may recall, I became quite emamoured with Van Gogh's work after my first experience at the National Gallery in London and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam certainly does not disappoint. Of course, I was in awe of his better known works and style, but it was also very interesting to see many of the paintings from his earlier years, when he lived in Holland, prior to finding his spirit in impressionism; they are much darker, both in shade and mood, and speak of the plight he witnessed the peasants facing when he was a missionary.
We had lunch outside of the Rijksmuseum (which is still being renovated!), then went back to Sophie's house to relax a bit before the evening's festivities. Sophie's father had given us tickets to an orchestral performance of Elizabeta, and since neither Roderick nor I had ever been to the opera, we weren't entirely sure what to expect.

We arrived in time to see the orchestra warm up and the above picture was taken just before I was told that picture taking was not allowed. The hall was immense, filled with plush red chairs and chandeliers larger than most American cars; it was quite breathtaking.
I had difficulty in following the performance, at first, as I speak neither Italian nor Dutch, so I couldn't exactly understand what they were signing nor could I comprehend the words as they scrolled across the translator in the language native to The Netherlands, but the music was amazing and I soon found myself so absorbed in the incredible sounds coming from the stage that I forgot that I didn't even know what they were signing. I thank you very much, Mr. Dreesmann, for the tickets and Sophie for inviting us; it was an evening that will not soon escape my vivid memory!