The weather has been squally in this recent leg northwards. It comes and goes in remarkable bursts, with bright days being followed by stormy nights being followed by hot days again. Yesterday was a lovely twenty-eight degree summer's day, into which, after a luxurious sleep-in, I headed out. I made my way to the Van Gogh Museum via a charming park full of revellers enjoying the heat and perhaps something else too.
The city, much like Utrecht, is packed with cyclists. Crossing the road is a workout, just from all the directions you need to check for traffic. Left and right for cyclists, and behind you too, then across the single lane of cars, then across the tramline, another car lane and more cyclists. Navigating the city is thus quite exhausting and I can see why everyone lies down in the park when they get the opportunity.
The museum itself is the largest collection of Van Gogh's works, all donated and curated by actual relatives of his. It was impressive in its thoroughness and chronology, letting you walk through his earliest works to his last. However, for the entry price, it was actually on the small side compared to most museums. Disappointingly, the secondary exhibition wing was closed, so there was no ability to compare and contrast his work with any others, excluding the few pieces from his contemporaries included in the main collection. As such, despite being able to get a grasp of the man and his work, it felt a bit like studying in a vacuum.
I needed to get a new metro pass, so I wandered into town - only about a forty minute walk - and absorbed the atmosphere of the place. It's a strange city in a way. Outside of the central station hub it doesn't actually feel like a city, just busy suburbs. The canals, old buildings and lack of car traffic really give it a unique charm, even if that charm is spoilt by the herds of American tourists clogging the city's heart. Out in the fringes where we're staying, though, it's not as bad.
So, a perfect day. Not a cloud in the sky. I got home and unwound before we headed out to dinner. On the porch, we noticed the grey skies above, but with a jumper in hand it didn't seem like much to worry about. At the tram station down the road, it started to spit. Our tram, late, arrived in steady rain, and once we boarded the clouds opened and it just started pouring. Absolutely pouring. The heaviest we'd seen all trip. When we had to get off, we dashed into cover to work out how to get to the restaurant. And then, with no sign of anything easing, we sprinted madly in the torrential rain. Halfway there, I erupted into laughter. It's such a primeval thrill. You don't often get an excuse to run these days.
Today it was again perfect. Slightly grey to begin, but eased into another brilliant day. You wouldn't have known last night's rain had happened if the grass wasn't so muddy and waterlogged. The lawn, I mean. I roamed again, attempting to find a place that does on-the-spot watch repairs, but apparently it is not how the Netherlands works. I may have to pick up an el cheapo watch just to have something on my wrist that shows the right time. I keep looking at it expecting something to change, but it's not something that will.