Yesterday my friends Jenny and Hein were keen to take me to the Escher museum in the Hague. So we set off before lunch. Because there were three of us going it was deemed most economical to take the car. The trip only took half an hour or so and we headed into an underground car park where we drove around for 15 minutes or so looking for a parking spot before we decided to make our own place in front of a wall. We weren’t blocking anyone so it seemed ok, and so it proved with the car still there when we came back.
Escher is a 20th century dutch artist/designer famous for fantastic, often impossible designs and scenes, mostly woodcut prints. His work with transforming tesselated designs is popular with mathematicians and I’ve often used his work when teaching transformations and tesselations.
The obsessive attention he paid to accuracy and detail is amazing and I really enjoyed the exhibition which is housed in a former royal palace. The top floor was dedicated to optical illusions related to Escher’s work and was great fun in itself.
Today I took the train to Amsterdam which involved a change of trains in Leiden. Train travel through large stations is always a bit of a challenge with getting tickets, finding the right platform, ensuring that you are taking the best route etc. But it went well today except for having to run for one train to save myself a 40 minute wait.
I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to do in Amsterdam but I decided, on the spur of the moment, to get a, hop on hop off, ticket for for the canal tour bus, which proved a good idea, saving my legs and giving me a beautiful ride (with commentary in English).
My first stop was a revisit to the Van Gogh museum, one of my world favourites which was pretty much as enjoyable as last September although perhaps a longer gap between visits would have been better.
I spent more time on the canals passing the hotel we stayed in last year then walked back across the city stopping to make a sketch in the peaceful garden of the Beuginhof. Next back to the station for the double train journey back to Alphen arriving after 8pm for my 3 km ride back from the station in the rain.