Of course, we’re not wandering, we’re following our itinerary! We bussed to Centraal Station, then walked along to the Our Lord in the Attic Church. There was a time when Catholics were forbidden to worship openly, so a few hidden churches sprang up. This one was built into a five-story building and was tolerated by Protestants as long as the Catholics didn’t flaunt it.
The history of everyday life that was revealed here is interesting: a midden threw up lots of pottery and sherds that are displayed in one room,
we saw charming seventeenth century tiles that surround a fireplace, and marveled at the cozy-looking cupboard bed that kept out the draft.
The main draw is the church that you get to by climbing several sets of steep stairs until you come out on a small but fully equipped Catholic church complete with pews, altar, and a cleverly designed pulpit that you pull out and set up the way you might put together an Ikea desk.
For someone who is unchurched, this is not too terribly interesting, except that it shows that religious prejudice is ubiquitous.
Our next stop, the Old Church, we simply walked by since there’s not a lot to see inside.
Outside, though, are two pieces of art that honor the prostitutes that have traditionally lived in this area.
Before our final stop, we walked to Dam Square, home of City Hall, which has been here since Napoleon’s brother was crowned as king back in 1806. (You can’t swing a cat in Europe without hitting Napoleon or members of his family.) However, since we had been there last time, we simply observed the building (looking very glitzy here)
from the restaurant across the way where we had a restorative cup of split pea soup and that deliciously dense yet delicate rye bread with bacon that is a specialty of the Dutch.
We were fading just a wee bit as we made our way to the New Church, tucked away in the corner of the square. No longer used as a church, it has been turned into a museum currently housing an exhibit honoring the late Queen Juliana, who is certainly portrayed as a strong-minded, no-nonsense queen.
However, there were very few English translations on the audio guide, so we were a bit at sea until we came across a video of her life that was interesting enough that I’d like to know more. She greatly admired Eleanor Roosevelt and was miffed when, after her first grandson was born (she had four daughters, if you can imagine such a thing), some of her subjects loudly announced their relief. I wonder if she and the late Queen Elizabeth were friends.
It was now mid-afternoon, so we walked back up to Centraal Station and bussed to Haarlemerplein. There was a market there today, selling tulips (we bought some for the house),
little delicious savory pies (ditto), lots of cheeses (we have already indulged) and some quiche from our favorite place, from whence we purchased a salad dinner on our first night. Tonight will be a night in with quiche and salad and wine as we rest up for tomorrow’s day trip to Haarlem and the Frans Hals museum.