Amsterdam/San Sebastian – Getaway Day

My time in the wonderful city of Amsterdam was drawing to a close. Still, there were a couple of more things I wanted to do before taking a big silver bird to my next destination. That, of course, started with food. While I already tried the sweet version of the Dutch pancake, there was also the savory kind so I sought out a classic pancake house that several locals had recommended. The funky decor made me think this was te right place.

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While there were several pre-selected combos on the menu, I opted for the build your own with Dutch cheese and sauteed mushrooms. It was just the hardy start I needed on this cold day. The restaurant was also close to my next destination, the vast Rjiksmussen.

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Usually I prefer smaller museums with tighter focus but I was mainly here for a special exhibit they were having with two of my favorite painters – Velazquez and Rembrandt. I had at bought a special timed ticket for the exhibit, which gave me a bit to explore the rest of the museum. As usual, I didn’t take any pictures of the paintings but the arms exhibit was too good not to snap some there.

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Javanese weapons

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Replica of a Dutch battleship masthead

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“Big Rex”

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I made one exception for my rule with Rembrandt’s masterpiece “The Night Watch” because it was behind a heavy glass partition while some art historians are in the process of analyzing the painting’s canvas to determine once and for all if the rumors of the original being larger than what was ultimately framed. It was fascinating to watch the process.

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It was soon time for the main attraction and while the above photo is the only one I took, it was a fantastic exhibit – showing how each artist influenced the other by having some of their major works side by side. I noticed several of the Velazquez works from my time at the Prado – an impressive feat to get that museum to loan some of his more important pieces.

I had some more time to kill before my flight so I wandered around the rest of the museum, from the Flanders Royal Court to a very cool 1940s plane.

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I walked back to the hotel, gathered my bags and headed off to the airport. Since it was dinner time, I decided to have one more round of delicious salmon, this time as a smoked salmon club sandwich, which was one of the better airport meals I had eaten,

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I had purchased a “more room” seat on sale for $7 even though I assumed since I was on KLM, the leg room would be better than a typical plane. I was very mistaken and even my “extra” room was woefully inadequate.

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Thankfully it was a short flight that was non-eventful. Customs was a breeze (thanks EU!) and I made the short walk to get my rental car. By the time I got to the car, it was now 11:30 PM but I had to shake off the tiredness to make the hour plus drive to San Sebastian.

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Fortunately, having to drive stick made staying awake pretty easy and the truly impressive Spanish toll roads that connected the Basque Country were essentially empty, making the various twists and turns pretty fun to navigate. After getting temporarily lost trying to find my hotel in the pitch black darkness, I finally arrived at Villa Soro, which my dad and I had stayed in just over 10 years ago during my first trip to San Sebastian. My room was literally about 5x the size of mine in Amsterdam so I crashed out on the large queen bed almost immediately.

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