Final Amsterdam Thoughts

MORE ABOUT AMSTERDAM  I didn’t have time in my last newsletter to tell you about going to Anne Frank’s House, because I wanted to hurry to send out the last one. It was quite interesting to see the house–with the walls exactly as they were when they lived there–including the pictures on the wall she put up when she first arrived as she described in her diary.  It was incredibly moving to see the pictures she chose and some of her photo’s from magazines, still on the wall. The furniture was missing because the government had it removed after their arrest–and this does allow space for people to walk thru as they tour. There were many plaques through out with clips from Anne’s Diary and comments made by some of the survivors–her father & the people who hid them and helped them. Quite sobering to think this happened only about 10 years before I was born–during my parents life time.  (Jon’s note: as Anne describes in her diary, the ‘Secret Annex’ was actually a set of rooms that were attached to the offices where her father had owned a small warehouse for selling pectin and spices.  Since the spices were affected by light, they could have the windows blacked out which would otherwise allow a view to the extra rooms–and had put in a bookcase that swung open to hide the access door, and walled off the upper part of the door to cover the opening.  I had not read her diary until our time in Amsterdam–and I can thoroughly recommend making time for it…it is worth the effort.)  Besides the home/office itself, the Anne Frank Foundation has also purchased the house next door which has been converted into a museum and bookstore. That is where you purchase your tickets and enter the ‘house’ through the side and they added a connection from the top floor of the Annex back into the house/museum. It was amazing how many languages Anne’s Diary has been translated in–one entire wall with just copies of her diary in different translations. There were also other books about Anne and the museum. One was a beautiful large hardbound copy with many pictures about the museum–it cost nearly 50 Euros’–we bought a much smaller version (still hardback) for only 7 or 8 Euro.  We also bought another book with interviews from some of the women who knew Anne and had seen her or were in the same concentration camps in the 7 months after their arrest, which helps fill in some of the details after their arrest and before she died. Anne & her sister died of typhus only a few weeks before the liberation, and just before Anne’s 16th birthday. Anne’s friend, Peter, (who also hid in the annex with Anne’s family and whom she became very fond of) died of lack of food and exhaustion, only days before the liberation at another camp.

BTW–I DID try a Kroket from Febo’s. I wasn’t very impressed but now I can say I have eaten fast food from a vending machine. LOL We also went to a restaurant called The Pancake Corner to try their Dutch pancakes. What we ordered was actually like a thin crepe, with 2 scoops of ice cream (we shared) and cherries (which were cooked in alcohol) over the top with whipped cream. They eat these any time of the day, but I would consider it a dessert. One thing we found interesting in this restaurant–it was one where a person could purchase AND smoke marijuana–even though cigarette smoking is NOT allowed–so our meal was accompanied by an unpleasant smell. There was a group of guys sitting at the counter and when one lit up his cigarette, he was told he could not smoke in the restaurant, but COULD smoke pot…so he did. He passed it around to his friends and one of them who had obviously not smoked it before began coughing and sputtering and the waitress & their friends were laughing. They were discussing the fact that it was OK to smoke it in the restaurant & they asked the waitress if she liked it and she said, “No, it stinks!” Needless to say we didn’t return to that restaurant.

I DID go to the flea Market & the Albert Cuyp Market with a couple of the gals on the team. I was not impressed by the flea market–nothing was very impressive, and more like a big garage sale. They even had booths that sold porno. I DID however, enjoy the Albert Cuyp Market. There were a lot of good deals including hard side luggage with the spinner wheels (4 wheels) that were quite affordable–so we bought a set of 2 (a large and a carry-on) for Jon, since his suitcase broke on the way to Amsterdam.

The flower bulbs? I didn’t buy any flower bulbs–I could not find any that had the customs inspection tag so they would not have been allowed through customs. They had a bag of 100 tulips for only 7 euro! The annoying part was there was no sign saying they couldn’t go through customs–fortunately I asked before I purchased…. I did get a blue Delft bell (just a cheap one) , a key chain with a tiny set of wooden shoes with the blue Delft pattern and a white apron with a large blue windmill on it.. I also got one tile with a Dutch scene on it…I guess I’m starting a tile collection–we got one from each port in Mexico (Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan & Puerto Vallarta–although these were hand painted with no brush! We even watched them do them–quite amazing.) So, we now have four tiles–I will have to watch for one from London now.

The flight home from Amsterdam was quite interesting…I have never been in a plane when it had such big drops and tipping from side to side. They even had the staff sit down and get seat belted–quite scary. The flight was relatively empty, so I had moved to the set of seats behind Jon for extra space for sleeping, but I was wishing I was sitting next to him. I thought–if this plane goes down I would rather go down sitting next to my husband.  As they prepared for landing the pilot came on the intercom and apologized and explained that it was caused by the air mass moving over the mountains (I forget what he called it) and that it is typical, however we experienced a SEVERE instance. You didn’t have to tell US it was severe! They had to slow the plane, and drop below the turbulence. That was an experience I would prefer NOT to repeat. I’m surprised the babies and small children on the plane (or even some of the adults!) were not crying.

Vicki & Jon

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