Tag Archives: Van Gogh Museum

Travel – Barcelona Part II

On our second day in Barcelona, we were off to an early start as our tickets to visit Parc Güell was scheduled for 8.30am. G’s cousin who lives in Barcelona had suggested that we booked our tickets (€7 per adult) in advance and try to visit early to avoid crowds. We took the Metro and got off at Vallcarca, one of the two Metro stops close to Parc Güell. We got a surprise when we saw the hill that we had to climb to get to the park! Granted, there were escalators between each block but it was only for the uphill direction. Well, it was all worth it as there were only few crowds, mostly tour groups and the view as well as the park itself was beautiful. Needless to say, Gaudi‘s handiwork did not fail to impress us. I shall let the pictures do the talking… (WARNING: Picture heavy post!)
View of Barcelona from Parc GuellView of Barcelona from Parc GuellView of house in Barcelona from Parc GuellParc Guell BarcelonaParc Guell BarcelonaParc Guell Tiles BarcelonaParc Guell BarcelonaParc Guell BarcelonaParc Guell BarcelonaParc Guell Barcelona

Next on our itinerary was a visit to the famous La Sagrada Familia that has been in construction since 1882. Once again, we purchased our tickets in advance (€19.30 per person), which included a visit to one of the two towers (Navity or Passion). If one had to pick only one of Gaudi’s works to visit in Barcelona, this would be my pick. Gaudi’s magnificent work of art La Sagrada Familia is absolutely breathtaking. One can easily spend hours in the building admiring the architecture and his extraordinary vision. I was mesmerized by the beautiful stained glass and can easily spend a few hours staring at the vivid colors. There were also a few exhibitions housed in the building, some of which gave an insight to Gaudi’s architectural influences. G and I particularly enjoyed the 3D exhibition where we could touch the objects demonstrating his architecture ideas. We ended our tour by visiting the Passion tower which had a great view of the city.

La Sagrada Familia BarcelonaExterior of La Sagrada Familia BarcelonaLa Sagrada Familia BarcelonaLa Sagrada Familia BarcelonaLa Sagrada Familiar Stained Glass BarcelonaLa Sagrada Familia BarcelonaCeiling of La Sagrada Familia BarcelonaView of Barcelona from La Sagrada Familia Tower

After the visit, we headed back to our AirBnB apartment to rest before heading out for dinner in the neighbourhood. Our host had recommended Pizza L’avia as a restaurant with good local food that was inexpensive. Since we’ve been having tapas for our previous meals, I was delighted to find paella at the restaurant and ordered that for dinner. G as usual ordered pizza. (His goal is to eat pizza in every country that he visits!) The paella was bit too greasy for my liking but otherwise, the taste was decent. G however, wasn’t too pleased with his pizza due to the use of local cheese, which he found unappetizing.

Paella at Pizza L'avia

After dinner, we headed to Museu Picasso which offers discounted rates on Thursday nights. We only paid €15 for our tickets with included an additional exhibition. Discounted tickets however can only be purchased in person after 7pm but since we were there early, we didn’t have to wait too long to purchase our tickets. Regular admission is otherwise €11 per adult.

Signage to Picasso Museum BarcelonaCarrer de MontcadaView from Museu Picasso

As photographs were not allowed in the museum, I have none to show other than the entrance and a pretty snap of the blue skies from the courtyard past 8pm. I have to say between the Van Gogh Museum and the Picasso Museum, I much preferred the former in Amsterdam. I guess I prefer Van Gogh’s style of art to Picasso’s.

If you missed my first post on Barcelona, it’s here and the outfit details for this post is here. We’ll be off to explore the mountains outside Barcelona for the next post!

Travel – Amsterdam, Netherlands Part III

I’m finally on the last installment of my trip to Amsterdam! (Read Part I and Part II.) On our last day, we started the day by heading to the Van Gogh Museum. I had previously gone one afternoon while G was at work but the long lines deterred me from entering. There are separate entrances for those who have a pass or have purchased a ticket in advance but even those lines barely moved. I stood in line for 10 minutes before deciding to come back on another day. So on our final day, we were at the Van Gogh Museum by 9.30am and we were in the museum in a jiffy. We bought G an advanced ticket and I redeemed my Tulip ticket for the entrance. (WARNING: Picture heavy post!)

The line to Van Gogh MuseumPart of the long line on a weekday afternoon in Fall

I’ll be the first to admit that I know next to nothing when it comes to art and visiting the Van Gogh Museum was a good insight into the famous artist’s life and work. Unlike most talented individuals, Van Gogh was not a gifted artist. He studied and experimented a lot in order to create the level of art that he did. He’s truly inspirational to those of us who dream or aspire to pursue a different path in life. Perseverance and determination, anyone? Okay, I digress… Well, if you are hoping to spot the Starry Night in the museum, I’m afraid you will be disappointed. The famous painting is housed in MoMa in New York. That however, doesn’t make a visit to the Van Gogh Museum any less valuable and I highly recommend it to those visiting Amsterdam.

After the Van Gogh Museum, G and I took a canal cruise as friends of ours highly recommended that as a great way to tour Amsterdam. Without researching in advance, we purchased tickets at one of the many tour operators near Central Station. Our cruise was operated by the Lovers Company and we had bought tickets for a Museum Line Hop On-Hop Off tour without realizing it (the only choice for canal cruise was one hour or two)! Our two hour tour had one too many stops for people to alight and the tour was nothing but a recording as our captain/guide barely added anything. While I think it was a canal cruise is great suggestion, I would highly advise picking a different company or tour.

Lovers Company Canal CruiseBoat Houses along Amsterdam CanalAmstelhotel AmsterdamReplica of the VOC vessel NEMO Science MuseumThe EYE Film InstituteMovenpick hotel Muziekgebouw Music CentreCantilever Buildings in AmsterdamCruise Ship AmsterdamFrankBeekwilder

During our trip, we ate at two restaurants that I would highly recommend. One is an Italian restaurant that serves great pizzas. (G has a travel rule where he has to eat pizza in every country he visits!) The food was inexpensive (entrees ranged from €6- €20) and according to G the pizza connoisseur, it was quite good. The pesto pasta that I had was decent and filling.

Pizzeria Toscana B.V.
Haarlemmerstraat 130,
1013 EX Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 20 622 0353

The other restaurant that I recommend is one that we stumbled upon, a Malaysian restaurant. As a Malaysian, I can vouch for the authenticity of the curry laksa. It was quite good and talking about it now makes me hungry! G had General Tso’s chicken and he enjoyed it. (Granted, take this with a grain of salt as they likely may not obtain all the actual ingredients but it was still quite good.)

Nyonya Malaysia Express
Kloveniersburgwal 38,
1012 CW Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 20 422 2447

All in all, we had a great time in Amsterdam and I most definitely look forward to visiting again soon!