A Dam Good Day
Amsterdam Travel Blog› entry 11 of 15 › view all entries
Damn the strippenkaart, damn
the train schedule and damn the buses, for today we were tackling
The biggest thing I had to
get used to was that bikes are silent stalkers…you can’t hear them and need to
train yourself to always be on alert. Especially
at intersections, where an overtaking biker may need to turn across your
path. Not to make anyone paranoid, we
adored walking about
So long as you are not
getting run down, it is invigorating to walk in
It took us about an hour to
reach the Anne Frank House and there was a line, but not too bad and we
continued on several more blocks to the Pancake Bakery. It was 10AM, but the Pancake Bakery was
closed…they didn’t open until eleven.
Today’s lesson would be that pancakes aren’t just for breakfast as in
Due to an exceptional lay
out, however, the line moves quickly at the Anne Frank House.
The Anne Frank House is a somber experience. Unlike her diary, the memorial seeps the tragedy of the holocaust into your bones. There were two things which really struck me. First was how the windows in the hiding place are still blacked out. How incredibly sad to exist in a few rooms without ever leaving for several years, but to deny sunlight while enduring such a trauma is utterly tragic. Anne’s bedroom still has the pictures she glued on her wall to “brighten things up” and they have posted an excerpt from her diary where Anne expresses her longing to move around outside, enjoy the sun and smells and to feel young again. This from a fifteen year old…
There was one bright spot –
they had a toilet.
Once you’ve squeezed back out of the hiding place and beyond some further displays there is a mini theater area where short video clips play, posing provocative questions around tolerance (e.g., “should neo-Nazi’s be allowed to demonstrate in front of synagogues?”). Every seat has a yes/no button and they present the results of the immediate poll for your room as well as the cumulative voting after each question. The gift shop comes next and was a bit disappointing after everything before it. There was little else here except for copies of Anne’s diary in every language imaginable. After all the effort to stimulate feelings around respecting others, this should have been a great opportunity to exhibit other books which pursue this important topic. As you may recall from my opening piece, I don’t feel Anne’s diary touches on that issue.
Kim and I departed, sad, but simultaneously gladdened by this legacy which attempts to keep fresh the perils of narrow thinking.
Now the Pancake Bakery was open, so we rebounded back down the street. This restaurant deserves its own review, so you’ll find details (and pictures of really big pancakes) down at the bottom of this entry
The rest of the day was
invested in tracking down a few shops Kim wanted to check out and we checked
off most of the souvenirs we needed to pick up for family and friends. It also allowed us to deepen our
understanding of the streets of
We wanted to walk through the
Museumplein (where the Rijksmuseum and
Back at CitizenM, I sent an e-mail to Agnes (aggieaggie), who we hoped to meet tomorrow. Agnes’ beautiful pictures of Kinderdijk had enticed Kim and I to visit there and I promised to try and get together for coffee when we headed her way. Unfortunately, our open itinerary didn’t permit much advance notice (we didn’t plan anything specific in advance so we could pick and choose depending on the weather forecast for the next day). Although Agnes would be unable to meet us, I was glad I had shared our planned approach to Kinderdijk so she would have options of where to rendezvous.
Our intended route was to take the train to Rotterdam-Lombardijen and catch an hourly bus to Kinderdijk. Agnes informed us the bus route no longer ran and suggested taking a ferry we could catch a little ways from Rotterdam-Centraal. TreavBuddy to the rescue again!