Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Amsterdam: The Saga Continues...and Continues...

To catch up on what you missed previously, check out The Saga and The Saga Continues.

Bubi appropriate post.

Anywhere there is space for a bicycle, you will find one. Everyone rides a bike here. Whether you are out for a Sunday ride through the park, on your way to work in your suit and tie, bar hopping from happy hour to happy hour, or just making your normal round of errands, you will see people cruising through town on their bikes. It is like nothing I have seen before. There are even bikes rigged up with a cart in the front to throw maybe your groceries in or even a couple kids...your choice.

Everyone says that you have to rent a bike when you visit Amsterdam. I would have to agree, but dorks like us that have to take pictures every five seconds...probably not the best mode of transportation. So, we walked...and walked...and walked some more.

First stop on our second day was to find Pancakes! Amsterdam. The place is adorable. Nestled in on a quaint, little street. A hole in the wall restaurant with a couple tables out front and the same inside. We stuck our head in to see if there was space, but of course every seat was taken. The waitress just told us to try again later. Huh? Can't I put my name on a list or just wait outside for someone to leave? Too funny. So, of course we hovered like vultures until a spot opened up outside.

The food! I almost cried when I had my first bite of dutch pancakes stuffed with raisins and sliced apples and a little berry sauce on the side. Is this what heaven is like? Needless to say, we came back the next day before our 8 hour drive back to Zurich to fuel up on the "American Pancakes" we missed the day before. Three fluffy pancakes, drenched in just the right amount of syrup, with crispy bacon on top. I think I just drooled a little. Oops. So good...

Photo by Planetgordon.
Full and happy, we toddled over to the Anne Frank House. This was also a must-see on my list and it was worth the wait in line. It's of course crazy packed with people, but I thought we took our time and didn't feel pressured to just keep moving. It has been a long time since I read her diary, Anne Frank - The Diary of a Young Girl and I had forgotten a lot of her story. We were both surprised by the size of the apartment they lived in. I could have sworn it was just a living room/kitchen where all eight of them lived. It was a surprise to find out it was actually two-stories of the four-story building (with the store on the bottom two floors). I had forgotten about the secret bookcase that hid the entrance to the apartment. The dark curtains lining the windows to hide their bodies from the outside. And, the amazing part to me was the people that risked their lives to save the Frank family. They didn't even think twice. Remembering that Anne and her family were discovered and shipped off to Auschwitz. Where Anne died one month before the camps were brought down and Otto Frank (Anne's dad) was the only survivor. Blows me away. Blows me away that this could have even happened.

Besides her story being overly emotional for me, just to looking around the room, seeing a room full of people remembering, teaching their children...taking the steps needed to make sure this never happens again...and the woman in front of me who had to keep stepping away from the crowds, crying into her tissue...all so surreal. Had she been in a concentration camp? Had her family? I was very touched and so happy to have shared this experience with my husband and now all of you.

One more post coming. I just couldn't bare to tack it on to my memories of the Anne Frank House. Instead, I ask you to take a couple minutes and remember what happened during that time in history and promise yourself...you will never forget.

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