Europe, North America · 9 Days · 42 Moments · June 2017

Halm's Tour through Netherlands

3 July 2017

On the last day we had brunch at Sarabeth's, located next door to the Park Lane. The menu was very complete. Most of us had the "Goldie Lox": scrambled eggs, lox with cream cheese--so good. Think they used 3-4 eggs. The preserves were homemade. Juice was freshly squeezed. Afterwards we packed while Kogan's walked Central Park. At 6:00 PM we'll be on a flight back home, ending our adventures in Amsterdam and NYC.

2 July 2017

Tonight, the Kogan's gave me an early 75th birthday party dinner at Bistro Milos, a Greek restaurant. Wonderful, fresh food. It's located on 55th Street just west of 6th Ave.
After having lunch at the museum cafe, we walked a few short blocks to see "Cats" which Lia loved but Henry didn't especially enjoy. Swipe.
At MOMA, we saw an exhibition of renderings and artifacts found in an archive.
Sunday, today, was lazing in morning, first room service experience for grandkids. Then a short walk to the Museum of a Modern Art where we saw one of the most important impressionist displays in North America. Whole rooms of Picasso and Monets. Slide to left to view some of works.
Yesterday was spent traveling. Our 9:00 AM flight was 3 hours late leaving but fortunately, we received alert by text early enough so we could have breakfast and relax at hotel. Once at the airport checking in and going through security went smoothly until we reached passport control which took half an hour. The flight home went well arriving at Newark in 80 degree heat and 80% humidity. We met Kogans at the Park Lane Hotel located at the south end of Central Park. Great views from room. We had dinner at the Redeye Grill which I highly recommend. Henry ordered the sushi burger which is pictured. The photos were taken at restaurant which had a great singer the kids loved and Lia danced to his music. After dinner we had some yogurt at a food court below the Plaza Hotel.

30 June 2017

On the other side of old Delft is the new church were King Willheim the Silent and all his ancestors are buried beneath the central floor. The statue of the man in the garden an of the man in repose is King Willheim, first King of the Netherlands. The last funeral service was for the husband of former Queen Beatrix, Prince Claus in 2002. The statue in front of the church is of Hugo the a great, a lawyer, who helped develop maritime law. Swipe to left.
We decided to have our goodby to Amsterdam dinner at the same one where we had our first meal, Yanazato. We both has the smaller kaiseki featuring tempura and beef.
We finished the day with a trip to the Mauritshuis Museum, a small but high quality museum. Featured were works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Fran Hals, Holbein. Note the self portraits is Rembrandt as a young adult, then old man, a year before he died bankrupt with all family passing before him. He also painted "Two Moors". Swipe.
Just walking around Delft can be a treat. Here are some photos of the architecture. Swipe.
Next we drove to the city center of Delft, where the first King of the Netherlands was killed during a battle with the Spanish. We took a photo in front of the Old Church which is two feet lower on one side caused by subsidence. We toured the church which was originally built as a Catholic cathedral so you could see Catholic remnants, e.g., stained glass windows. Johannesburg Vermeer is buried here. The first photo is the actual grave and the second photo is a memorial to him. Swipe to left.
On our lat day, Vince took us to one of the last two remaining potteries in Delft. Delft Pottery "De Delftse Pauw", Each item for sale is hand made and painted through an elaborate process that was explained by a guide who is pictured. Then the pottery is hand painted in the manner being done by the man with a paint brush. Their products are trade marked and certified as hand made. Across from the shop is a canal. Swipe to left.

29 June 2017

Last evening we had dinner at Sazanka Tenpanyaki, another Michelin restaurant in the hotel. It was fun to watch these gourmet chefs cook for us.
The photos here are from the interior of City Hall.
It's a 2.5 hour train ride from Amsterdam to Bruges with a 30 minute layover in Antwerp going and Brussels returning. Upon entering Bruges one steps back in time to the Middle Ages. Our guide was Diana Goodwin who received a Masters from Yale in art history with focus in medieval times. We recommend her. See her website at, The first photo is what one sees upon entering the town walking past the watchtower. Next are of scenes along the way.

28 June 2017

Today, our guide Vincent picked us up and took us for a drive to the north, to visit the little rural town of De Rijp. This town originates from the 1600's when wealthy citizens reclaimed large tracts of land from a large lake. After a dike was constructed around the lake a series of canals were built at varying elevations. Windmills powered the pump which carried water from the lower canal to the higher one. The canals would collect the water and move it to the sea by elevation and pumping. The following pictures show the town. Swipe to left.
After a lunch of fish and chips in Volendam, the big dam that forms one of the largest lakes in Europe, we returned to Amsterdam to visit the Royal palace. The royal family of King Wilhelm-Alexander live at the royal palace in The Hague. Pictured is Queen Juliana who reigned in exile in Canada during WWII.
The photos here were taken at the "molen" or windmill museum. In days past wind moving windmills which turned the Archimedes wheel is what kept pumping the water to canals located at higher levels. Today, the one we saw was only a museum piece. Water movement is now powered by electricity.

27 June 2017

We had dinner at Bord'eau located in the Hotel L'Europe, across from the Old Mint Tower. We were seated at a nice table where we could watch the canal boats leisurely pass. For starters, I had foie gras in dashi with umeboshi while Margaret had langoustine poached in duck fat and katsuboshi. Dinner for Margaret was Dutch lamb. For me it was Anjou pigeon from France. Pictured is the dressed pigeon and a dish similar to what I had. The desserts were out of the world. Margaret ordered the chocolate ball preceded by an apple snowman covered with a sugar-glass sphere and followed by a large cherry blossom with dark chocolate bark. Swipe to left.
We also visited the Riksmuseum. Riks was built in 1885 and is one of the few buildings from that time built in neo-classical style. Our guide Vince should us the highlights after we had lunch there. It is famous for housing a number of well known Rembrandts. I've included one of the most beautiful flower arrangements I,be seen.Attached are some of the notable works. Swipe to left.
Today, we visited the Van Gogh Museum. Vincent was born in 1853. He and his brother Theo died with a year of each other in 189O and 1891. All of Vincent's unsold paintings were left to Theo's wife and when she died in 1925, her estate went to her son Vincent. Ultimately, the Van Gogh museum was opened through the Van Gogh foundation in 1973. Many of his best known works are with other museums or estates but I've attached some of the memorable ones we saw. Swipe to left.

26 June 2017

Next was gnocchi's with Pierre Robert cheese, Vadouvan and peas.
Lastly, about three and a half hours after being seated, dessert is strawberries with yogurt, lemon verbena blossom, plus an assortment of little goodies, served with a cup of decafe. Swipe photo. Swipe photo.
If you followed this description of our diner, thank you.
Second to last was slightly seared foie gras with macadamia nut shavings, peach from Naples and salted Carmel.
"Main" small plate was a trio of Dorset lamb from England: lamb filet (melted in mouth) asparagus & Foyot-sauce; lamb chop, charcoal and cumin; and, lamb shank, curry and Thai basil.
Next we had sea bass with Elderflower, Shumai and mussel. Swipe photo.
Another signature dish followed, King crab with Baeri caviar, ice cream of beurre blanc and preserved lemon. Note how nicely the plate compliments the dish.
Next was one of their signature dishes, Tom Yam, a Thai inspired grey shrimp, kaffir lime and chicken skin.
The first small plate was toro tuna with oyster, daikon and dashi.
This is our first small bite presentation, ras el hanout.
Tonight we had the privilege of enjoying a two star Michelin restaurant in our hotel, Ciel Bleu. Chefs Ono Kokmeijer and Armando Speclman, served a very imaginative eight European-Japanese small plates, preceded by five small bites. The man in the middle, a Noel, is from Belgium and was the head waiter and wine steward. Our primary waiters were from Japan. We were seated at a nice window table facing north toward center city. As one swipes to the left, the last photo is the view from our table.
Our last stop following a light lunch or smoked salmon, was the Hermitage museum, a much smaller one of the one we visited last summer in St. Petersburg. There we two exhibitions: one on Tsar Nicholas in 1917 and the other about portraits of groups of Dutch town leaders during Amsterdam's golden age during the 17th century. Swipe photo to left.
Leaving the Jewish theater we visited Amsterdam's oldest Jewish Temple built in 1675. It still has services every Saturday.
At first, the Nazis administered the Jews by identifying them and noting where they lived. Next, the Nazis concentrated the Jews by requiring them to live a certain part of town. Lastly, they were deported. Just before deporting the Jews, they were brought to the Jewish theater where adults were separated from women. Dutch nurses helped to save some 600 babies by secretly passing them to resistance workers who took them to farms or out of the country. At the beginning of the war, 107,000 lived in Amsterdam. At the end, less than 5,000 survived.
Throughout history, Amsterdam was a safe haven for Jews. Many migrated here from Germany with the rise of the Nazis in 1933, including the Frank family when their daughter, Anne, was 4. After the Germans invaded and seized Amsterdam in 1940, the Frank family went into hiding in an annex of a house. Anne kept a diary of her time while hiding. Eventually, the Gestapo uncovered Anne and her family, arrested then, confined them to the Jewish theater for a month, then send them to Aushuwitz where Anne was killed. Her father survived and returned to the hiding place to find Anne's diary which he published and with the proceeds started a foundation to support her memory and museum we visited. The actual house is a few doors away from museum. Swipe to left to see more photos.
The triangular monument honors the thousands of gay who were killed by Nazis during WWII. Gay were required to wear pink triangle tags, hence the shape of the monument.
Vince Arends, our guide for a week, met us in the hotel lobby at 10:00 AM. Vince is of Dutch heritage whose family were farmers from Northern Holland. He has two children, ages 11 and 5. Vince will be our guide for the week except for Thursday.
Relaxing, senior citizenesque are two words that best describe the way we like to travel, slow and easy. Fortunately, we were able to sleep most of the night from 11:00 PM to 8:00 AM. Downstairs for breakfast at 9:00 AM. All of our breakfasts are included. One has the choice of European (lox and cheese with capers and lemon), American (scrambled eggs, bacon), and/or Japanese. Swipe photos to left.

25 June 2017

Following a three hour nap, we ubered to the Eye Film Museum to experience the Scorsese Exhibition. The EyeFilm Museum is a combination theater complex showing art and classic films, a large dinning area and an exhibition space. Swipe to left.
The Scorsese Exhibition was very complete and detailed. Memorabilia abounded along with may photos of his family and of him as a budding film maker. Several movies were playing showing excerpts. Swipe photos to left.
We could have arrived in Amsterdam earlier but the city disallows landings before 7:30 AM so our flight arrived at 7:31. Going through customs seemed routine but they stopped Margaret. Maybe she fits the "profile". After collecting our bags we Ubered to Hotel Okura Amsterdam. This may turn out to be a mistake but we decided to take a nap til 4:00 PM, take a walk, then have dinner, and to bed early. Hope we'll be able to sleep. By the way, the bathrooms are nice. Slide photos to left.