An Embarrassment of Riches

Amsterdam is scenic

In early March I thought about how great it would be to finally see Amsterdam, and, three weeks later, I was there. (Voilà!) Greeted by sun and salty air, I enjoyed the city immensely. Some of its neighborhoods have red and green lights, sure, but I spent my time admiring its Golden Age. There’s a lot to be said for walking along canals, eating appeltaart, and watching sunshine play off 17th-century architecture.

On the cold, overcast days of my visit, I hit the museums and contemplated portraits of merchants, kitchen maids, and civic militia guards in full regalia. (Apparently an ongoing theme in Golden Age portraiture was, “So, let’s be clear about this: I’m incredibly rich.”) Here are some of the Rijksmuseum‘s most famous residents:

"Night Watch" by Rembrandt van Rijn

Night Watch (1642) by Rembrandt van Rijn.

Netherlanders do speak English, but the country is not without its mysteries. Case in point: Why does Total Loss fruit gum show a horrific car pileup on its box?

Total Loss fruit gum

A car accident, recreated in fruit gum. I noticed this at Albert Heijn, the city’s main supermarket chain.

As much as I love history, let’s also be relieved for the sleek and new. More specifically, my comfy accommodations at the Hotel Arena. Its building is a revamped 19th-century orphanage (no ghosts to report) with a modern treatment, sans serif fonts and all.

The shot below is from the suite’s bathroom, which was separated from the sleeping-lounging area by a clear glass wall. Quiet and well-lit, it served as the perfect crashing pad once I was ready to own my jet lag or watch Canal+.

All in all, a golden week. And still more pictures of food and Belgium to come!

Hotel Arena suite

My suite at the Hotel Arena in Oosterpark.



  1. Laura · April 10, 2012

    Nice hotel room! You’d think a former orphanage would be prime ghost location. Oh, well. Maybe they were scared away by those gummy candies!

  2. ebenbow · April 12, 2012

    Thanks! I’m thinking the orphan ghosts may have stuck to the hotel’s nightclub, which I requested to be situated as far as possible from. “Not this time, disco ghosts!”

  3. Emmy · April 13, 2012

    Wow, great post of a delightful place!

    • ebenbow · April 13, 2012

      Thanks, Emmy! You should get over there sometime. 😀

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