So maybe you’ve wondered why stop lights are red and green — the two colors color-blind people can’t tell apart.  That and other mysteries explained here.  Three unimportant but amusing minutes.  Hey: I’m on vacation.

In Berlin, no less!  Changed a lot since last here, summer of 1963.  Today we’re gonna try to find CheckPoint Charlie.  I assume they’ve memorialized it in some way, along with remnants of the wall; it was very real indeed when my 16- and 17-year-old fellow travelers traversed it.

The train from Amsterdam to Berlin had everything modern, sleek, courteous, quiet, and terrific — but no wifi?  Hey, what’s up with that, DB Bahn?

In Amsterdam, we went to Rembrandt’s house.  He paid 13,000 guilders for it — what we he thinking? — and after 20 or so years there went bankrupt under the burden of the mortgage and upkeep.  Neither Suze Orman or I ever would have allowed it, had he sought our counsel, but Suze was not alive then.  All his stuff was sold off and he moved into a rental apartment.

But while he was there?  Amazing to see the box-bed in which he actually slept.  Apparently, the Dutch thought that if they slept lying flat, blood could rush to their brains in the middle of the night and kill them, so they all slept half sitting up, meaning that the box beds had to be only about four feet long — and were.  Seriously.

We saw the spot Rembrandt actually ate his stew; the spot he actually painted; the top-floor studio where his apprentices painted; the entry-room where he displayed and sold his own work and that of other masters.  (In addition to painting, the man ran an art gallery.)

We saw the room where his assistants made the day’s paint  . . . the master would declare the two or three colors of the day — if they were going to paint trees, they’d make a lot of green . . . blending dirt (for brown) or ground lapis lazuli (for blue) into linseed oil on a large flat stone in a process that a cheerful Dutch woman demonstrated and let us try.  (She showed us some linseeds, as well.)

You can see much of it here.  And Amsterdam, here.  But I warn you: when you do, you will want to visit.

And you should!  The Dutch — like the Scots — could not be more wonderful.

Have a great weekend.



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