Make your own Bloody Mary’s

As we’ve established, the first night was a late one (despite the jetlag); which made the next morning quite an early one.  But powering through was our only option.  Since during our Paris weekend last year we never woke up before noon, which put a crimp in our sightseeing agenda, we were determined not to repeat that mistake.

We did, however, make a couple of concessions.  We agreed that the Rijksmuseum would be way too ambitious in our state and therefore perhaps the much more manageable Van Gogh museum was a better option.  And we promised ourselves that at the end of our cultural excursion, we would treat ourselves to some Bloody Mary’s.

The Van Gogh museum begins and ends in the gift shop. I find that a bit offensive, but it didn’t stop me from buying something so, I suppose, thou doth protest too much.

The main building is very open and airy (after a renovation in 1999), somewhat reminiscent of the Guggenheim museum, but much more sensible and practical, as the Dutch tend to be.  You do have to go through security and they do have a rule against backpacks of any kind, which unfortunately my camera case is, so I recommend you travel light so as to avoid any problems.  There is an audio tour available but we opted for the self guided tour.  There are plenty of descriptions throughout that provided us with all of the detail we needed to work our way through the museum.  We did find a few contradictions in some of the stories along the way, I wonder if the audio tour provides more clarity. Or greater confusion.

The museum is very vertical, the first floor covers Van Gogh’s early years and you progress up four flights where you follow Van Gogh through his 10 years of painting, until his death.  We made our way through in approximately an hour and a half.  While I have already complained about the gift shop, they did have some clever items that are worth browsing through.  I left with a pen shaped like a tube of paint.

Having checked one of the museums off of our list, we were now worthy of the promised Bloody Mary.  There are many types of restaurants in the museum district but our criteria called for a bar and french fries: we found Cafe Bouf.  Located in the Museumkwartie @ Van Baerlestraat 51. The atmosphere is trendy, yet casual with flat screen TVs on the walls showing beach scenes, a pleasant diversion after stepping in from 4 degree Celcius weather.  The menu has a nice array of salads and sandwiches and all are reasonably priced. We did throw them a bit with the Bloody Mary, though.  The waitress knew what it was but needed a tutorial on how to make it. That led us to suggest she just bring us the ingredients an allow us to make them ourselves, to taste.  She obliged.  How’s that for an interactive dining experience?

My foursquare suggested that you try to get an invitation to the after hours karoake that the staff apparently performs. We were able to get her to admit it happens, but we didn’t exactly manage an invitation. That required us to make our own karaoke later in the trip as well.

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