We arrived in Paris by train on Saturday morning. After we dropped our bags off at our accomodation in Gentilly, a small suburb south of Paris central, we took a train back to the centre to check it out and familiarise ourselves with the museum locations and train system.
When Mitch and I walked up from the subway and onto the streets of Paris, we were both gobsmacked and goggle-eyed, neither of us had expected Paris would be so big. The sheer scale of the place took our breath away. The footpaths were as wide as roads, the buildings were majestic and the importance of it all seemed unreal.
We walked the Promenade, through the Tuileries Garden around the Louvre and the Musée de l’Orangerie. By the end of the day we were pleased to be boarding the subway train and heading south back home to Gentilly, our quiet, normally proportioned suburb. Dinner (packaged salads and baguette from the supermarket) in the garden was heaven sent.
We spent one and a half days two nights in Brussels. After a tight gallery going schedule in Amsterdam, both Mitch and I were content to amble about Brussels streets. Drinking beer and wine and eating fries and Greek falafel filled pita pockets.
We ended up in all sorts of grand, historic places and churches. We witnessed a muslim wedding and even came across an archeological dig on a central construction site several metres below the side walk. It looked like they were uncovering a stand of ancient tree stumps.
We walked straight off the street into the Saint – Nicolas Church, a gothic church that originated from a chapel founded during the XII century, close to the Grand-Place. Restored several times, only a few remainders of the original church are left. We were wowed by the stained glass windows, scale and grandeur of the place.
Our apartment was a perfect fit for us. I came away inspired with ideas galore and we are eager to try them out when back home. I Loved the interior colour scheme of cream doors, stark white walls and soft grey. The sophisticated colour scheme was livened up using splashes of colour, mustard yellow in the kitchen and in our bedroom a rich reddy orange feature wall.
Also when we get home I am going to have a go at making up some pot plant wall shelves like the ones in the photos below.
We left Brussels early in the morning for the central train station to catch a train to Paris, where we will spend the next four days visiting galleries and exploring the gardens and older parts of the city.
Vondel Park is at the center of Amsterdam. We walked through everyday on our route to the central city and museums. Despite the weather the whole of Amsterdam was out enjoying this park. Lovely to see. Vondel Park is green and grassy, with ponds and stands of leafless trees. This park is shabbily chic, not hyper manicured. We enjoyed watching crows, funny looking birds and other urban wildlife in the patches of wild and semi-wild areas.
Navigating the park, you walk along a central path, but all the time there are people cycling through and ringing their bells for you to get out of the way. We loved it, my favourite sight was seeing mothers biking with their children in the bucket on the front.
Mitch and I visited the Rijks Museum. The museum itself is stunning and has a huge variety of works spanning from the 1700’s to the 2000’s showing a mind boggling display of art in all mediums and styles.
It was a last minute decision to visit ‘Alle Rembrandts’ (All The Rembrandts). I’m not a huge Rembrandt fan however I loved seeing his small scale etchings/drawings of beggars, family, domestic scenes. The work below was sketched from life with haste. I delighted in Rembrandt’s drawings and his ability to notice and pay close attention to things.
Music in front of the rijks
Musical ensemble Busting out a collection of classical hits from Bach to Vivaldi. Very clever.
‘Painting, Smoking, Eating’ by artist Philip Guston is an autobiographical work, depicting the artist lying in bed, smoking, with a plate of French fries balanced on his chest. I have admired Guston’s work for decades so It was a real treat to come across this work at the Stedelijk Museum.
Van gogh museum
No pictures allowed at Van Gogh Museum, sadly. This Museum was incredible. Loved the special exhibition of works by David Hockney along side Van Gogh.
Second hand/thrift stores amsterdam
Amsterdam has a great selection of vintage clothing stores. Mitch and I went clothes shopping yesterday at Everything Vintage. Mitch found a sweet shirt with a small pansy print all over. I left the store dressed in a whole new outfit: new shoes, vintage jeans and a cute high necked top. Everything is laid out so beautifully in these stores, ie the silk shirts grouped into colour blocks.
We were so lucky to be here in Wellington for Cuba Dupa street party!!! The highlight was watching the Phoenix Foundation play at Wellingtons Opera House last night free of charge. Also worth a mention are the three piece dreamy-pop band Womb who played some lovely tunes.
Waiting for EKIM (Mike backwards) burgers, stopped in at Suite Gallery and saw a sweet painted series by Geoffrey Notman. http://suite.co.nz/geoffrey-notman-still-life. ‘Untitiled 1’, my pick of the bunch, the most abstracted of the lot, the knife, bait, chilly bin, buckets, cloth and bottle have been stripped of detail and simplified. Growing up fishing off of the wharf I identified with the subject matter which was repeated from painting to painting, the artist, employing the same scale, colours but varying arrangements of objects. Worth a look if in Wellington.
I see a girl
And she sells sea shells
On her breasts as she paints
the faces of those that queue
Another woman, dressed in hues of blue, boots to hair
they create faces, masks,
alter Egos; they create a way to be
Clever women are they,
Dressed in blue
and masking away
Poem by Lynsey Newton
We were lucky to be picked up from the airport and spend the day/eve with the lovely Lynsey Newton. Above is a poem of hers titled ‘CupaDupaMoments #1’ and written on the spot whilst contemplating having her face painted at Wellington’s CubaDupa fest.
New World Wellington
This morning I was strangely blown away by New World Wellington’s produce/shelf stacking. Haha!!!!!
On Saturday 1st of April 2019, Mitch and I will be arriving in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Through the red doors, this is where we will be staying at Annette’s B+B. Our Airbnb is about 200 meters from The Vondelpark, a public urban park of 47 hectares in Amsterdam. A friend recommended we ride a bike through Vondelpark and eat a piece of apple pie at the cafe in the middle, which we will most certainly aim to do!!!!
We may miss the best of the tulip season due to us arriving early rather than mid April, but will investigate the 30 km journey out of Amsterdam to the Keukenhof Botanical Gardens in Lisse to try our luck. Keukenhof’s flowering report say’s tulips, crocuses and daffodils are starting to flower, see the website for details https://keukenhof.nl/en/flowering-report
We purchased our tickets online for 9 am on the 3rd of April to visit the Van Gogh Museum. We will also be visiting the Stedelijk Museum for modern, contemporary art where I’m specifically looking forward to viewing the Pinball Wizard Exhibition; THE WORK AND LIFE OF JACQUELINE DE JONG.
I am a painter soon to embark on a journey from Amsterdam to Rome and am interested in viewing great works by the likes of Matisse and Picasso, as well as discovering obscure artists whose works I find stimulating. Before departing, I have one month to research these artists and galleries and have begun formulating an appropriate itinerary.