Thursday, September 20, 2012

Well, well, well!

The trip of a lifetime - the experience of a lifetime - is over!  We are home, at last!  The trip lasted only 10 days, but it feels like a month, at least.  I had a great time and am now able to share with you my pictures and stories.  I know my thousands of fans have been waiting with bated breath for me to give them more details and here they are.

However, as to not make your eyes glaze over with the tediousness of pictures (a total of 1,229 - not all good) and several short videos, I will be posting one story at a time and have PhotoBucket show the pictures, a few at a time.

So, to begin with, we left Minneapolis about 7:30 pm on Tuesday, September 4th and headed to Iceland, where we changed planes and headed to Amsterdam.

The trip was long - 6 or so hours from Minneapolis to Reykjavik, Iceland - and then switching planes and going to Amsterdam in about 3 hours.

There were 2 things that helped our jet lag - that famous jet lag!  The first was that we changed our watches when we left Minneapolis and set them at Icelandic time.  So our brains told us what time it was there, not back home.  Then we re-set our watches to European time; when we arrived in Amsterdam, it was morning in our heads as well as on our watches.

We arrived, then, in Amsterdam and caught a train to the Central train station where our hotel reservation was.  We checked in and then caught a taxi to Anne Frank’s house. 

What can I say about Anne Frank’s house?  We could not take pictures so I am including the website for you to go and see for yourself what I saw.  Feelings will not be the same, though.  I don’t know how many of you have read “Anne Frank’s Diary” - but I hope that most of you know her story.  She was a young Jewess in Amsterdam when the Nazis took over Holland.  Her family was in danger of being transported to death camps (although they were not known, generally, to be death camps at the time) so her father made arrangements for them to hide in the back of the office building that he owned.  Soon others joined them and they had a total of eight people living in a very small area.  They could not make any noise during the day and had to be pretty quiet at night.  The windows were covered so that looking outside was difficult if not dangerous.  Mr. Frank’s employees - the ones he trusted - brought them food and clothing and news about the war.  The whole group lasted for about two years until someone turned them in and they were carted off to different camps.  The only one to survive was Mr. Frank; he came back to Amsterdam and met up with the employees who survived.  One of them had found and saved the diaries that Anne Frank wrote during this trying time.  Mr. Frank decided to publish them and the diaries have gone around the world.   

It was inspiring and awe-feeling to walk where these people walked - climb the stairs, feel the walls, look through the windows!  There were places where videos were being shown with interviews from people who knew Anne and had experienced life with her at one time or another.

Anne Frank has inspired millions with her diaries - she was just a teenage girl, why do people feel this bond with her?  Well, she lived and tried to survive during a terrible time in history; she wrote her feelings down as she felt them.  She was just a young teen with all the problems that every teen goes through but she had to live her private life with seven other people in crowded, restricted conditions.  Many of her thoughts, as she wrote them down, were concerned with the pain of knowing that she and her family were safe while all around her people were being tortured and killed.  She worried about her friends that she had left behind.  She felt guilty for being “safe” while thousands of her race were being destroyed.

I talked to a woman at the small store they had (post cards, pictures, books .... NO souvenir-type junk) and she said that over one million visitors came each year to see the house and learn more about Anne and about the Holocaust.  It’s amazing that one young girl could inspire all this!  I was touched and honored to be able to join all these others to see the hiding place she lived in for two years before being arrested and hauled of to her death.

And on that note, I will close - I can’t talk about anything else on my journey after this.  More on another day!  Anne believed that life was beautiful and every day was a blessing. You have a beautiful day.

 This is the church that chimed the hours - Anne missed the chimes when the bell was melted down during the war.
Notice the line of people waiting to get in?

 The canal in front of the house.

The on-line ticket that Dad got.
Because it was a reserved time, we were allowed to go in without waiting in line like the hundreds of others.

The door to the shop

The window from Anne's room

Another door to the shop

To get to the hiding place, they had to go up a steep stairway that was hidden with a bookcase.

1 comment:

Laura said...

Thank you so much for sharing. I read Anne Frank's diary when I was a young girl. It is something that I could never, would never want to, forget...