Today was stunning! This city is vibrant and interesting. I did the usual tourist thing and took the red ‘hop on hop off’ bus to see the sights. The Gassan Diamond factory was brilliant! A pun! And the diamonds were fabulous! And then Anne Frank’s house – sobering, sad. I read the Diary of Anne Frank when I was 14 – not for a minute did I think I would be able to visit the place where she and her family hid from the Nazi invaders. The resilience of people continues to amaze me – and the saddest part of the Anne Frank story for me is that she died one month before the liberation.
The evening here was truly beautiful. After a day of clouds and some rain, and a chill in the air, the long evening was of brilliant sunshine. I sat at my favourite corner and watched the world go by while I had dinner – I talked to the restaurant guy whose job it is to get people into the restaurant – an Italian who speaks five languages and who lived or 12 months in Melbourne. An interesting young man! I had lamb chops! And they were fabulous. And had three glasses of merlot tonight!
Amsterdam is very clean. It is busy but seems relaxed. The queues for the Anne Frank house were very long and I’m glad I bought the ‘fast track’ ticket to get in. Worth the extra money!
The canals, the bridges, the houseboats! This city has maintained a character for centuries. There are no high rise buildings. The architecture reflects the vibrant history of the place, a heritage that is valued and maintained. Modern shops and businesses live behind the historic facades and the old blends seamlessly with the new!
On the tour today I met two young women from Brisbane – students at QUT. And another Australian couple. There were people from South America and the U.S. as well. In the hotel this morning I spoke briefly with a lady from Adelaide who was born here in Amsterdam. The city is full of tourists.