Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Beauty, history and culture
(click on it! oh the insanity!)
Today I started my day quite early. Had an OK breakfast at the hotel, though not in my room and off I went for my exploration.
The tram dropped me off at the Centraal Station where is the above picture taken. There must be thousands of bikes parked in over three storeys at the station. How can you find your own?
I took one of the cruiser riverboats and we sailed through the canals. The cruise lasted a whole hour and by the time we came back I was dizzy from beauty and wonderful images.
The buildings and the way the city is built are breathtaking. So beautiful.
I shot a lot of video, when I come back I'll edit and try to upload a little movie.
Then I walked around the centre. People are very relaxed here. It made a very big impression to me how come a city where everything is so free, hashish, gay weddings, even prostitution is considered a "sightseeing" and you don't see any drunkards, yobos or disgusting people on the streets? Even in De Dodgerstraat (see previous post) I'm not afraid to walk in the dark.
Imagine having the same liberties in London, or, God forbid, in New York or LA?
All of the people are well dressed, clean, smiling, cool, helpful, people leave their bikes unlocked, there is no traffic, no frustration. Is it because there are only 750,000 inhabitants? Could be, or it could be a whole different culture. I take my hat off to the Dutch!
I took the picture just for fun.
Can you believe it, this is
an actual shop window?
click on it to read the small letters...
After walking between beautiful buildings and beautiful people I arrived at the Anne Frank House. I was always fascinated by her story, it makes me so sad, I must have read her diary 3 or 4 times, so this for me was so amazing.
The house is where Anne and other seven people hid during the Nazi occupation.
When I went up the narrow, steep staircase I felt haunted and so sad I wanted to cry. There it was, a bookcase that moved and behind it The Secret Annex, as Anne used to call it.There are no furniture left, everything was confiscated when the Nazis were tipped off anonymously that there were Jews living in the attic. But the atmosphere is there, Anne's pictures of the movie stars are there, hers and her sisters height measurements are still on the wall.
Everyone was captured and sent to concentration camps, where they all died, including Anne at the age of 16. The only survivor was Anne's father, who was given by one of his co-workers Anne's diaries. He published them with very little changes and this book became an eternal best seller, a cry for freedom and justice, in over 60 languages.
The house and, inset,
me in complete awe.
I needed some fresh air after that very heavy atmosphere. Right outside, a beautiful canal, young people passing by and lovely bikers taking their dogs out! Wow!
I took a tram and went to the Rijksmuseum which has beautiful paintings and artifacts of Holland's Golden Age, the 17th century. Rembrandt, Vermeer, (not the Girl With The Pearl Earring though, that's in The Hague) beautiful dollshouses, very very interesting.
My dinner was quick and simple a sandwich from a little sandwich store and then straight to the hotel, just in time for the last In The Attic!
I had lots of fun chatting with all the people at BallerinaGurl's chatroom and now, as soon as I finish all the blogs and emails I have to send I'll go straight to bed, for tomorrow is another day!
Thanks for visiting, more tomorrow! I'm listening to Dutch radio now, no idea what they're talking about, but the music is... CLASSIC ROCK! Bring on The Who, Jan!