Then, we hopped on a canal cruise...we all got earphones so that we could hear the tour in our own languages.
It was fun to cruise along all the different canals.
Up next, the museum of bags and purses (Brendan was a good sport), where you could see bags dating back to the 1600s.
When we returned to the apartment, we found an anniversary gift from our host, Wim.
Yesterday, Bren and I were up early to see Anne Frank's house. We made it in line 5 minutes after the 9am opening and still waited an hour and 45 minutes. It was very worth it though. In 2001, when I was 14, I played Anne Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank. We were honored that Arnold Van Den Berg, a holocaust surviver and former playmate of Anne Frank, attended the show. He had written me a note on a program that I reminded him very much of the real Anne. Needless to say, I wouldn't have missed the opportunity to see the secret annex. I don't have any pictures to share because they are not allowed. It was an emotional experience--perhaps harder than we thought it would be. It is strange how we saw a whole holocaust exhibit in Caen, and yet, knowing one families story intimately, you feel even more heartbroken. I am glad that this place still exists and that people can visit it. Anne Frank is only one of the many victims, but she left such a clear record of that experience that we do not have from many, and knowing these stories is so essential. To see the spaces (empty) and the pages of the diary, and to hear the bell that she heard, to see the windows covered (as they could never open the curtains), and to see the small space that 8 people lived in for over 2 years...it is hard to describe how we felt. But definitely, you feel connected to the people. You understand them, and of course, you feel pain that so many people suffered senselessly--And that so many of them are not remembered even.
I have many more thoughts on it, but after the experience, we just needed to decompress. We ate, we walked (a lot), and we finally ended up at the Van Loon museum, which is a canal house from the 1600s. Each canal house took up a whole block basically. They had beautiful gardens in the back.
We even found a stowaway
until it was time to meet tony for Indonesian food:
Today, we really must do laundry (haven't done any since Paris). It's raining, so we'll probably be pretty low key. Tomorrow, we leave for Germany.
I forgot to add that people in the Netherlands are made very uncomfortable by the phrase "how are you?" It took us a day or so to figure this out. Our host explains that it is too intimate of a question. Instead "good morning/afternoon/evening" gets a much better response.