Amsterdam & Thank You

Traveling from Belgium to Amsterdam was a real treat. We rode first class from Brussels to Amsterdam on a high speed train. People from home were texting us to remark on how amazingly fast our dots were moving in the Find My Friends app.  The intention wasn’t to buy first class tickets, sometimes they just work out to be cheaper than the second class tickets.  In retrospect, this may be the reason we didn’t get yelled at in the story from my earlier post.

Also, I semi-takeback what I wrote about the Belgian train system.  They are our least favorite train system, but they are not as bad as the first impression in Brux-Noord led us to believe. 

It’s worth noting that every country handles train station security in their own way.  Most of the train stations we encountered didn’t seem to care who got on trains or if they had tickets.  Amsterdam was the first train station that forced Brianna and I to scan our tickets before exiting or entering the building.  Amsterdam also has a large number of police to help ensure drugs are not trafficked in or out of the city. Much has stayed the same but parts of the city have changed a lot since my last visit in 2005.  It’s still a largely dirty city, trash and pornography wise.  It’s just a bit cleaner, perhaps even more transparent.  They wear their seedy underbelly on their upperbelly and ask zero forgiveness for it.

Brianna and I’s Amsterdam shortlist of things to do was really short.  We arrived just after 3pm on Wednesday and had to catch a 0802 train back to Germany Thursday morning. Just enough time for food, the Anne Frank house tour, and some wandering.

Visiting the Anne Frank house was unquestionably worth our quick trip into Amsterdam.  Listening to everything that Anne and her family went through to try and stay alive is a twisted tale of human ingenuity & love meet fanatical devotion & hate.  

Being in the Anne Frank house brought me  back to my 2006 trip to Auschwitz, memories I had not thought much on in some time. Bringing together the macro scale of Auschwitz and the micro scale of Anne Frank’s story is deeply impactful. I hadn’t realized that Anne Frank & family were first sent to Auschwitz upon capture.

I’ve heard the stories before.  You’ve heard the stories before.  Having been there doesn’t help me understand or make sense of what happened any better than you can.  It does remind me how important it is to remember the past.  Appreciate what has happened, is happening, and how it will happen again. I think about what my family’s roles in the wars were back then and I think about what roles I’ve played and am playing now.

Thank you to everyone who has been reading our trip stories.  It’s been fun writing them and even more fun getting the random feedback and thoughts from those who have sent comments, love, and other messages our way.  We are safely back in Germany with our BFFs for the night and will start the long journey back to the US tomorrow morning.  Flight to Iceland, 7 hour layover, flight to Detroit.

We love you all <3 and will be seeing you real soon!!!

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