Dutch goals accomplished:
- Purchasing fine dutch gouda in holland
- Trekking through the red light district at night
- Watching the gay pride canal parade in the rain
- Navigating the complex bike lanes on a morning cycle
- Visiting the Anne Frank House and Museum
I have another goal for Amsterdam, but I’ll keep that to myself…
The story of Anne Frank is undoubtedly widely known. I for one, had to read her diary to fulfill eighth grade requirements, as did thousands of other American teenagers. However, sitting in a classroom in the Pacific Northwest, listening to the monotone droning of student reader after student reader recite the history of the Frank family holds no comparison to tiptoeing through their hiding space located in a house on one of Amsterdam’s beautiful canals. Seeing the tears of the wallpaper, hearing the creaks of the floorboards, and smelling the lingering stuffiness of the air puts so much of the experience into perspective.
While the hidden apartment wasn’t as small as I believed it was, the dimensions were still unfit to house eight people. I can’t imagine the fear that radiated among the hidden, although the pages of Anne’s diary do a wonderful job of painting the gruesome pictures of the horrific realities faced not only by this one family but also by hundreds of thousands of other sought-after Jews. There’s nothing like being surrounded by the same walls they were confined to.
Although the Anne Frank Museum provided both depressing and informative facts of the Jewish experience during WWII, we still managed to find joy on our last stop in Amsterdam by riding bikes throughout the city with the sun on our faces and the wind in our hair. Not to mention that we found delicious falafels to stuff into our hungry bellies. Having checked off so many great things in Amsterdam, I still do not feel as though I’ve been completely fulfilled by the city. Must go back!