Monday, August 9, 2010
OK. Now we’re at the end of our adventure. Plane leaves in 24 hours from the Amsterdam airport, so we will enjoy our final night here. This has been a wonderful city to visit as the conclusion to our long European travels. It is a very beautiful place, built along a system of canals with buildings packed side by side to make the most efficient use of the available land. In fact, this entire city seems very efficient itself, with a huge amount of locals and tourists alike zipping through the streets on bikes, creating a seemingly unending flow of traffic when combined with cars, motorbikes, and trams. It is also a very open culture here, as Saturday we witnessed the yearly Gay Pride parade which takes place on boats through the canals. This was a glorious spectacle of all-things-gay, and the city was packed with people lined along every canal to watch. Although it rained off and on throughout, no one really cared, and one giant party commenced. There was a genuine feeling of acceptance and tolerance in the air, and it was an excellent moment for cultural observation. This is something that we would not see very often in most American cities, but maybe we should. Amsterdam has a very visible gay population, and they are not afraid to walk around and be counted. We thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle of the Gay Pride parade, and we are glad that so many people are able to come together for a celebration of humanity, and we were definitely glad to be a part of it. On another note, we visited the Van Gogh and Little Hermitage museums yesterday. The Little Hermitage is an extension of the same museum we saw back in Russia, and they had an excellent exhibit from the Hermitage collection detailing modern art from Matisse to Malevich, including the infamous Black Square painting, which appropriately concluded the exhibition. The Van Gogh museum was cool, but very packed with people. There is more to say, but we are going to wander around Amsterdam for another day. Love to everyone, and we will see you soon!