Day 5- Touring the "New" Rijksmuseum
Can technology using multimedia enhance a visit to one of the top museums in the world? The answer to that question is yes, and we found out just how much it can today when we visited the newly renovated Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
In many museums we have visited you have several choices: go on a guided tour of the highlights, follow a self-guided tour from a book, or rent an audio guide where you may have to listen to the life story of the artist before the work is ever described. The Rijksmuseum had what I think is the best system of all. We were given an iPod Touch which had 8 tours to choose from. We chose the 90 minute highlights tour and it was incredible. While mysterious music plays, you follow a map into a galleries throughout the museum with sometimes only a picture hint of what to look for. It is like being on a treasure hunt. Once you find the masterpiece, you can hear information about the artwork, watch a short video clip about the style and symbolism, and listen to an artist or curator give their interpretation. Today we saw Rembrandt's Nightwatchman, and paintings by Vermeer and Van Gogh. At the end of the tour I felt as if I had taken an art appreciation class.
Outside the museum are huge letters spelling I Amsterdam where people pose for fun photos. In the garden surrounding the museum is fountain spouting water from the ground in a circular shape at different intervals. Shouts of laughter rang out as people ran in and out of the fountain without getting wet.
Today it was hot and humid, but we decided to walk back to the accommodation rather than riding the trams which can be crowded and are known for pickpockets lingering about. On the way we discovered many small side streets with window boxes bursting with flowers.
You would never know that just around another corner might not be so nice. Last night I pointed out to Dave that every time we passed a certain tiny cafe during the day, people were enjoying a milkshake. He laughed because this was actually a coffee house where people can smoke marijuana legally here.
Tonight we spent some time relaxing at a cafe right on a bridge over the canal. All along the canal the bridges were all lit up with tiny lights that reflected in the water. I could have stared at this scene for hours.