Both Travelers Moved By Anne Frank and Amsterdam

16 07 2009

en route

“Kiki’s Take On Another Amsterdam Day”

My first thought this morning:

“Get up. You’re in Amsterdam, get up.”

But my body was not all that keen on moving. I’d been up quite a few times the night before with a terribly runny nose which required me to procure tissues multiple times in the night. But finally the message got through to my legs at 8 AM that it was time to get moving.

We’d gone by the Anne Frank house yesterday, just in passing and saw the massive queue, so we decided yesterday that we would try to be there when it opened this morning, so we arrived at quarter of 9 and ended up being one of the first ones in the house as Mer mentioned.

I knew from the moment I stepped into the first room and saw quotes from Anne’s diary on the walls that we were in for quite the sobering visit, and when we saw the first photos of the concentration camps, naked bodies piled on top of each other, it was as if someone reached in and grabbed my heart in their hand and wouldn’t let go.

I felt a lump rise in my throat and I literally choked back tears as I thought of not only little, 14-year-old Anne having to endure the atrocities of the concentration camps before she succumbed to typhus, but my own great grandfather who survived three concentration camps, saved by liberation. Seeing where they lived, and thinking about how they lived still gives me chills. The horrors the Nazis inflicted upon them, after seeing so tangibly the conditions, will forever be seared into my memory.

We walked in silence from the Anne Frank house to Dam Square where we started the almost four-hour walking tour of Amsterdam. We gleaned enough information from our lovely Claire to fill a book, and a diverse book at that.

We learned about Dutch prostitutes, “coffee shops”, Dutch policy on marijuana, as well as historical facts about Rembrandt, World War II, and what’s known as the Amsterdam Miracle. A quite disgusting story about a dying man receiving his last rites and vomiting the bread and the wine. The priest and the nun took the soiled bed sheets and clothes and threw them into the fire; then an object began revolving inside the fire. The nun reached in, took the object, without being burned, I add, and lo and behold, it was the bread which had reconstituted itself.

To make a long story short, the bread became a sacred relic and was subsequently stolen.

Well, I’m quite exhausted. We leave for Switzerland tomorrow, so if no update, no worries, we’ll update on Saturday.

-Kiki

UNSCHOOLING EUROPE tag

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