During the latter part of last year, Europe was our home and playground for a good month or so. And like good Filipinos, we documented each moment of our trip there. Now, we’d like to share with your our beautiful experiences with some of Europe’s most wonderfully amazing sights, experiences and people.
And we wanted to spread out the love so we’re making this a two-parter! First up is the Netherlands and Belgium!
Beyond the red light district, flower gardens, and (addicting) stroopwafels, there is so much more about the Netherlands and of Amsterdam. We got to see a good chunk of the city and our hands-down favorite would have to be our Rembrandt experience.
We took a visit to the Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam. Rembrandt bought the house himself in 1639 and stayed there for the better part of the next couple of decades. Then, he became bankrupt, lost his house and everything in it. Thanks to auction records though, everything in the house was tracked down and now comprises the museum. What used to be his personal home and studio is now a museum that offers guided tours and demonstrations.
Here is Joel taking part in one of the museum’s etching demonstrations.
Even though Rembrandt is now known worldwide for his paintings, during his own lifetime, he was more sought after as an etcher, etching reversed designs into smaller-scale copper plates usually the size of a photograph but nothing bigger than two-feet long. So you can imagine just how excited Joel was to get his try on an etching in the actual house of Rembrandt himself. It was quite a fulfilling and enlightening experience.
Bruges is such a destination for tourists but with just cause. The entire city center was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, not a building, not a corner, not even just a street, but a whole chunk of the entire city. And this is where you can find some of the best examples of medieval architecture in Europe. Some of the top sites that get a lot of foot traffic from art and architecture nuts are the Church of Our Lady and the belfry, which was built during the 13th century and houses 48 bells. We’re here to gush about the Madonna and Child.
For us, when in Bruges, the number one thing to see is Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child (now known as Madonna in Bruges). We’re pretty sure we made a beeline for this. It is the only sculpture by the famed artist to leave Italy during his lifetime. It’s also part of the based-from-true-events Hollywood movie, Monuments Men., where the sculpture, along with other artistic treasures were smuggled in order to be preserved from the ongoing Second World War.
It’s one of those pieces that you can just stare at all day because of the many details and sheer beauty of it. I can bet you my left arm that you will walk away inspired in at least some form or another.
Then again, just getting lost within the streets of Bruges is already enough to inspire one artistically.