Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Amsterdam Day 2

A full day! We were gone from the hotel from 8 am to 11:30 pm. We saw a cheese and clog factory--My dad would have loved the beautiful woodworking tools for carving the clogs. It took about 3 minutes to make the unpainted shoes--and about an hour to sell a good share of cheese and clogs to the Americans. Also had a sightseeing tour of the city with a knowledgeable and funny local guide--an American with a masters in International Relations. At the Getty there are one or two Van Gogh paintings, but here we saw dozens--most of his famous ones-- at a museum that also had a visiting Gauguin exhibit. We took pictures and observed a windmill up close and personal. We also shopped at a flea market and the grocery store (always my favorite.) Do I know how to find the bargains, or what? The tour of Anne Frank's house was sobering. I had, of course, read her diary, but to actually see the pictures she had glued to the wall and hear the church bells she heard, and to see the lack of sunlight she endured for two years was heartbreaking. She and her sister kept up their studies, always believing the war would end and their family would return to normal life. They even kept track of their height on the wall. The pencil marks are still there. As if the day was not full enough yet, we took a river cruise through the canals, and walked through the Red Light district. Interesting that the church initiated concentrating all the brothels in one area. They wanted the sailors who came into the busy port to keep the sin in one area, rather than infecting the whole city. Now Amsterdam couldn't clean up this area because it brings in tourist dollars. The kids have been great. Annie was hospitalized last night, but is much better today after resting in the hotel and taking the medicines--that's been a little stressful. I am exhausted, but happy.

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