Amsterdam

When I left Ottignies I was rather grateful to be on my own again. I stayed at the Flying Pig Downtown Hostel where everyone was really sweet.

The first day, I did a touristy boat tour, going to the museums and major sites. The Anne Frank museum touched me in a way that I did not think it would. I went up every narrow flight of stairs thinking that were something like this to happen now, I would not make it, really .

But I was also proud that I made it up those stairs, even as I empathized with the older couples being shown to the emergency exits when they couldn’t climb.

I also read The Diary of a Young Girl for the first time while i was there, which I had not read before. I think I connected much more with Anne than I would have were I younger, and her voice embedded itself in my mind for a while. Such a normal teenager in such horrible circumstances, and then I read another book that focused on the stories of six women who encountered Anne in the camps. What a horrible awakening to horror for the girl…

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What also made an impression in Amsterdam was the Rijksmuseum. I love Dutch art, particularly Ver Meer and some of his more famous works were on loan from Washington so that made the visit even more special. (Picture taken just before I got told off for taking it)

.The one picture I took at the museum before I got told off

The second day I had to go to a doctor to get a bruise on my foot looked at, so I decided to change my night train booking and stay an extra day. I probably should not have booked all my trains in advance, really. The doctor’s visit went well, as did the adventure to find a pharmacy.

Added bonus? It was free cone day at Ben&Jerry’s, and though I usually do that with my friends in Atlanta it was awesome to be able to do it in Amsterdam!

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The third day I went to some bookstores and the flower market.

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The market was not what I expected, I really expected open air.

I really loved Amsterdam, for the water and the architecture. It reminded me a little bit of Kensington, to be honest which i loved. I also found some nice graffiti!

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That night I set off for Zurich.

Another important thing for me about this leg happened that night. There was a young family sharing my compartment who had not booked a lower bunk. They had a child, a little boy of two or three who sang to himself happily. They wanted to switch, but I could not. The conductor made them wait as each stop boarded to see if the holder of the second bottom bunk boarded until eventually they set the child up in the top bunk with his father. All went well, but I felt guilty for not being the twenty-something who could happily sacrifice a bottom bunk and also glad that i had stayed in Amsterdam a day. My ticket for the day before had been a middle bunk, and I realized it would not have been as easy to change as the ticket agent had said…

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