Final day in Amsterdam dawned as expected: we woke up late, but not too late, and made it to the Anne Frank house before the line had formed. This was an extremely powerful and moving experience to actually be IN the building that housed Anne, her family and four other people in the hopes to not be discovered by the Nazis. The museum tells the story of Anne and the little canal house that was her home until her arrest. The very specific layout of the museum is interspersed with videos of information, excerpts from Anne’s diary and videos showing important people such as Meip Guis and Otto Frank, Anne’s father, recount that time and offer their reflections. My throat hurt so much from the numerous times that you choke up while reading the excerpts of this innocent girls view of the terrible events taking place around her…with much more insight and thoughtful reflection than you would expect from a young girl. Perhaps it is because I read her diary as a young girl, but I felt much more connected to this place than Dachau, the diary, as with much literature, has power in its ability to allow the reader to connect with the author or characters on a personal and meaningful level. I cared for Anne and so it felt as if I were watching and experiencing her diary unfold in real life. A friend lived here and lived in fear…but also in hope. The most wrenching part of this tour are the photographs that show the Frank family, especially the picture of Otto when he finally returned to Amsterdam after learning that his entire family had been killed in concentration camps. He is standing in the annex, leaning against a rafter with his head tilted down. You can feel the weight of his overwhelming grief. I am glad this museum is so powerful; the entire purpose is to educate others on tolerance, prejudice, and human rights so that the terrible events of the holocaust never occur again for any group of people.
Much in alignment with the overall contradictory and controversial flow of Amsterdam our next stop was wandering through the RLD during the day. It is quite different to see this street without the garish neon lights, without the noise and smells, without the….shoot…apparently there is a day shift in Amsterdam which, once again, smacked me in the face as my window-shopping eyes roamed around. Only in Amsterdam.
The canals are beautiful, it is a very different city from Venice with a much different feel. We absolutely love this city, especially the Pijp area we are staying in – the architecture, the people – everything is so pleasant and welcoming. It figures that this is one of our shorter stays! We spent the rest of our day walking around, visiting local markets including the flower market and got a million and one pictures of each canal (new theme: bicycles AND lampposts…my artistic range astounds even myself at times). Feeling very footsore (don’t’ worry, Adam’s feet are doing great!) we stopped at a nice little bar right on the canal and have been enjoying a beer as I update our adventures. It is now sunset and my fingers are just about frozen! Not quite bundley worthy, but definitely cooling off from the wonderful 50 degrees it was at high noon! We’re off to catch some beautiful sights of the sunset…do we really have to leave tomorrow???