My final night in Montreal was great! Once again the staff at the Hotel William Gray took exceptional care of me. Although they have only been open for six weeks, this hotel and attached restaurant--The Maggie Oaks enhanced my very busy few days in Montreal with their friendliness and accessible space. A big shout out to Simon Faucher "LeRoux" and Jessica at the Maggie Oaks for their friendly banter on my last night! I hung out there to do my prep before heading to Amsterdam. As well, the front staff of the hotel offered printing support and directions to places I was going througout my stay (their business centre is not yet open but they were able to make sure I got my work completed). Thank you Hotel William Gray!
I arrived in Amsterdam at the early hour of 715 AM local time (1015 PM my own time, if you're counting!). I was terribly jet lagged but had worked through the flight and was ready to start my new adventure. My first task was to get through customs and get my bag. I then went to the kiosk where I purchased my Holland Pass the gives access to museums and other adventures using either the attached tickets or discounts via the card. I had attempted to purchase online but encountered difficulty with the website not recognizing my email and not accepting my credit card.
My next adventure was to check in at the New West Inn (the verdict is still out on this hotel, but the price was good). I took a taxi to the hotel and they let me store my bags until I could check in later in the day.
Next adventure, you ask? Well what else do you do in Amsterdam when you are jet lagged, with no room and needing to attempt to get on local time somehow? Well, you head to Van Gogh Museum, of course!
As many of you know, Van Gogh is one of my three favourite dead artists and my lifelong obsession with his work is well documented and probably indicated in my own style of painting. What an experience to stand before so many of his works and see the brush strokes, the energy and mood in his pieces. And to see the progression of his work from his early days to later works. The museum also displays works by artists that were friends and inspiration to Vincent, as well as letters he wrote and the stories around all of the displays. I did not purchase the multi media bit of the package as I truly just wanted to encounter his work in my own space and thoughts, not those of historians. Currently there is a display related to his mental health state. I am not sure that I appreciated it as the museum has set it up. I think with this particular display, the multimedia aspect is key. It was the last section that I visited and by then I just could not take in any more and the museum was much busier.
I was close to tears with so many of the works and I know that this experience will affect me for many years. thank you Vincent Van Gogh for your passion and your legacy. I am sorry you could not hold on to this life.
An aside on accessibility for the museum: the outside staff were quick to direct me away from the line and into the building, for which I am grateful. If you have a visible indicator of disability, they will absolutely accommodate. I saw many individuals with canes, walkers, wheelchairs and such exploring the museum at their own pace. As well, they have a piece in one of their gift shops that has multiple sensory appeal--you can touch the reproduction to feel how the build up of paint is experienced, and there are several other sensory displays (smell of paint, sounds, etc). I recall when that display was being advertised and wish I could have experienced it.
I then found food, drank more water and avoided my beloved coffee. I will not get into my earlier "adventure" on the tram--it was not good although I met a wonderful young woman who directed me to my transfer--she is doing work with revitalizing and building community through a student program. Very interesting and I would have loved to chat with her longer. By the end of Van Gogh and food, my body was unhappy with me, pain was at 8 and I asked a lovely door greeter at a restaurant to help me get a taxi. I will attempt the transit again today. I have a lot I am thinking about related to accessibly in this place with its old streets and such, but I was able to navigate in my own manner.
Back at the hotel, I checked in, showered, unpacked and crashed. Woke up about at 1030 PM local time. I need more sleep but wanted to check in with the world and eat something!
Tomorrow, more adventures!