First and foremost I am glad that I got to spend a day in one of “the most beautiful cities in the world.) That being said, it is a dirty city filled with bicycles, motorcycles, trams, and cars. These forms of transportation will go down any street as long as they fit. Pedestrians seem to have no right of way so you take your life into your hands in a seemingly quiet walkway.
A city of canals, they are brown and decorated with houseboats that may or may not have curb appeal.
The most important thing on my agenda was seeing the Anne Frank Huis. An important help tip – buy your tickets in advance on the Internet. The lines are long and in the sun. With tickets in hand, we bypassed the queue and walked right in. There are many things to see, hear and read but the highlight is standing in Anne’s room imagining her writing and dreaming of a better world. Knowing that her dream was not realized makes you ponder destiny and your place in this world. Did she accomplish much more by dying??? They have the actual diary under glass – how awesome.
The book shop was a teacher’s delight! I bought so many that the cashier asked if I was an educator. They had books that I would never have been able to get in the US or Amazon.
We then went to the Rijks Museum – the home to many Dutch Art Masters. I stood in front of and learned about Rembrandt’s “Night Watchman” and “The Jewish Wife” but the highlight for me was the three Vermeers. After watching “Girl With a Pearl Earring” I developed an appreciation for the camera aspects that Vermeer applies to his work.
The day was concluded with a requisite canal tour that provided a different perspective of the houses and an hour to relax your feet.
I was glad that we were able to return to Drenthe, a quiet province to the northeast. Amsterdam was too busy (it even gave Mike a headache) that the peacefulness gave us a great night’s sleep.
In spite of all of the touristy things, the highlight of my day was noticing a real hedgehog creeping about outside our window. I have never seen one, especially in the wild. It looked exactly like a Jan Brett illustration. I was thrilled. This area’s love of animals – geese, ducks, cows, sheep, goats, cats, ponies, and dogs can be seen almost everywhere helps to keep me from missing my own too much.