Go to Amsterdam, they said. It's so unique, you'll come back relaxed and incredibly happy, they said.
There she was, in the middle of Leidsestraat, fighting her way through the masses of tourists in April. Not during summer - the hot season for tourists - but in April! And it was raining at 15° of damned Celsius! At least she had a raincoat for her locks. Who listens to their young and hip neighbours, anyway, she asked herself. She had wondered why the young couple had exchanged looks and a smile at the word "relaxed" but she had told herself it was nothing. After so many years of living on this planet, she should have known better.
She wished she had stayed at home with her warm blanket and a tea instead of squeezing herself through far too narrow streets with far too many tourists, trying to look at ancient houses leaning in all directions, reminding her of old people. The houses were colourful and interesting, but one couldn't look at them for even a second without fearing for dear life as dozens of cyclists roamed the narrow streets as naturally as wild predators on the hunt. In general, she had the feeling that pedestrians had no rights in this city - not even pavements seemed to matter to anyone.
When the old lady finally arrived at the Vincent van Gogh Museum she saw a seemingly neverending queue. Luckily, her niece had helped her buy a museum ticket online so she could just walk through the doors and finally take a breath. It was still early in the day and there weren't many people in the museum yet, so she had time to calm down and enjoy Van Gogh's paintings starting with his early works on the ground floor. Her favorite there were the Potato Eaters. Although it was dark and gloomy, she loved how realistic it was and how he had thought it important to portray the daily life of common people. Slowly, she began to relax. By the time she had climbed the third floor, she had forgotten the world out there.
Despite his poverty and illness, Van Gogh had painted so many wonderful paintings because he couldn't not paint. He just had to. She was standing in front of the Almond Blossoms and loved the painting as well as the story behind it. Vincent van Gogh had painted it for his newborn nephew, and his brother had hung it on the wall over the baby's cradle. Although both brothers died soon after, Van Gogh's sister in-law had made his paintings and letters to his brother public and so managed to get his art out into the world. In spite of this sad story, it gave her so much energy and opened her eyes to life's beauty. She was standing here, beholding the pale pink blossoms someone else had passionately painted.
The old lady deemed Amsterdam to be a truly worthy destination, if one could see such marvelous art. Now she only had to find out what this sweet smell on Amsterdam's streets was all about.