Amsterdam–August 5

After breakfast we set out for another major museum, the Hermitage.¬† Located on the bank of the Amstel River, one of the city’s natural major arteries, the morning fog obscured the building’s name and nature, which only partially revealed itself in the course our visit.

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Through a basement stairway we entered the old industrial brick compound into a sleek new interior occupied by independent galleries surrounding  courtyards and gardens and found the Rembrandt and Contemporaries exhibition visiting from New York.

With no one else yet there, the spatial arrangement, lighting and colors further dramatized the centrally featured art work

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a large portrait of Minerva, or Athena, goddess of war, wisdom and medicine

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an imposing image of feminine triumph, authority and beauty

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Exiting the museum, we saw the image again, this time mirrored on a poster surrounded by the crowd that had gathered to participate in the Pride Boat Parade on the river.

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I couldn’t distinguish spectators from participants.

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We mingled with the crowds on shore watching the crowds in moored boats watching the crowds in the passing boats.

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I tried to take part by relighting last night’s joint, but that elicited a shout from somewhere behind me: “Hey Grandpa, you’re not allowed to smoke in public.”

Anything went, if you knew the rules.

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We’d arranged to meet the daughter of Jan’s 1966 college roommate, Abbie, and her husband,¬† Martin, that night for dinner. They both worked as software engineers in Amsterdam. They led us by ferry and foot to the impressive Film museum in Amsterdam Noord, where we sat by the water and gossiped about family.

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