My son had some business in the Netherlands, a city called Utrecht in particular, which I had never heard of. We made a quick trip there by train for a visit and a little exploration.
Utrecht does’t have many canals like Amsterdam, just one big one which makes a circle through the city. It’s pretty far below the level of the streets.
A little reflection from the setting sun.
Here is a view from our hotel room where you can see just some of the many bicycles. There were very few cars in the city, just some buses and thousands of bikes. Utrecht is a university city with lots of young people. We could sit in the cafe on the ground floor and watch them zoom by on bikes especially around 8 AM, on the way to school or work. Some women had two kids either in a cart in front of them or one in back and one in front, or you would see a mother on her bike holding the shoulder of a child on his bike next to her. Even people holding hands. I really had to watch out on the streets so I didn’t get hit. The streets seemed devoted to people on bikes with special crossings for them at lights and lanes everywhere. At the train station there were thousands of bikes in two level parking metal frames. I didn’t see one person wearing a helmet.
The next day we went to Amsterdam by train which took about twenty minutes to go to the Van Gogh Museum which was really good. It was really interesting to see Van Gogh’s beginning paintings and how he progressed. So sad he died so young. No photos were allowed so this is from a poster, a self-portrait, of which he did many since he couldn’t afford to pay models.
There was also an exhibit of paintings and prints done of prostitutes in Paris, around the time of Toulouse Lautrec. There’s a whole history of that time in Paris. Most of the women, if not in houses, were on the streets dressing “normally”, becoming street walkers. Toulouse Lautrec made friends with them and did many drawings of them. Degas did many paintings mostly of ballet dancers many of whom did a little business on the side. Men could come into the Garnier and watch them during rehearsals. It was an interesting display. There were a few photos, etc., that were risqué as you might think. I was especially taken with this bed set in a red room. I couldn’t find information on it but I assume it must have been used by a courtesan, well known women who were highly paid.