Amsterdam & Italy 2011: Day 2 - Amsterdam 16Apr2011

Perhaps influenced by a strong desire to return to Amsterdam after remembering the visit with my parents as a child or having missed coming here this time last year when Daniel ended up hospitalized with a perforated small bowel - this is still the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen. Everywhere you look is so unique, the people are friendly, and you never know what you’ll come across when you go down any main or side streets.

We are all exhausted, due to almost no sleep on the flight from Vancouver, and surviving on the fumes of herring and the beautiful sites. We arrived too early to go for a nap in our room but were able to drop off our bags and walk over to the Saturday market. With its great variety of produce, dry goods, bakery items, cheeses and fresh squeezed fruit juices, all at prices 50-75% less than anything in Vancouver, we had a great time exploring. We were able to have a bit of a ‘lie down’ before our 1545hrs pre-booked entry into the Anne Frank House and Museum. As Laura said to Dena and Daniel, the highlight was probably seeing so many people lining up to get in to learn the story of Anne Frank and how hatred still goes on in this world of ours. The museum has changed tremendously in the over 35 years since I was here with my parents. There are now two adjoining buildings taken up to serve as a museum with extra displays to tell the story. Aside from being moved by the presence of crowds, listening to Otto Frank on video explaining how he never knew Anne was having all these deep thoughts that he came to learn that we never really know what is going on in our childrens’ heads.

With no other confirmed plans for the day, we just decided to walk right down a main street and see what we would discover between the Hotel Hegra and Central Station. We were rewarded with many sights and sounds at every turn. Past Dam square in City Centre, through part of the red light district, laughing as I thought of the trip with my parents on which my mother said “Natie, roll up the windows!” as we drove through the red light district at that time. Like Stephen and I would never have seen the prostitutes in their window displays luring in their clients had the care windows been rolled up? Did she think we rented a car with blackout curtains?

As the herring snack from earlier in the day wore off, we ended up eating dinner at the Cafe DeRaed next to the herring stand and University of Amsterdam. Their house club sandwich that included smoked salmon and avocado was enjoyed by Dena and myself while Laura and Daniel opted for American Club sandwiches. We had trouble staying awake for dinner and are ready for a good night’s sleep before tomorrow’s family bike ride.