Today was our free day! A day with no schedules, rushing or accounting for others. We decided to go to a town called Delft that is a small trek from Amsterdam. Johannes Vermeer, the Master painter lived there for many, many years. We made it to the "old church" where he was buried. Someone had sweetly placed two paintbrushes and some flowers by his tomb. It was so amazing being somewhere where he once was. After that we made it to the "new church" that was built in 1280 (hehe). There we decided to be adventurous and take the winding stairway up into the bell tower. I took pictures of the church and have posted them, so please check out the vertical awning in between the gothic peaks. We were excited after bravely making it up. The stairway was very, very narrow and at times, and so low even I had to duck at times. After a 20 minute hike up and the Rocky theme song (literally) we finally stood on the overlook and had the perfect view of the charming town. Only problem, having to make our way back down! My legs were literally shaking…I don't know if it was from fear or from soreness from the way up. I'm guessing fear of the "what ifs," like, "what if one of these old wooden narrow stairs that were built over 600 years ago fell out from underneath me and I fall through and go tumbling down and die." As all of you know, I get very morbid thoughts that tend to neurotically ruminate over and over in my head. When we were finished both palms were sweaty and stark white from gripping the railings so hard.
Later we headed back to Amsterdam and made it the Anne Frank house. Here at her father's office and new makeshift home, her family stayed for 4 years in hiding. We all know the story, but I encourage all of you to go if you ever have the chance. It made it more than a story to me, it made it real…they were all real. Here is a poem she wrote that touched me:
I long to ride a bike,
Look at the world,
Feel young and know that
I am free .- December 24th, 1943
The Dutch played Denmark today in the world cup. It was a sea of orange with everyone dressed in celebration and support for their home team. The great news -- the Netherlands won! The streets were filled with people celebrating and parading around. It was such a perfect way to end the evening sitting on a patio eating dinner in down town.
Tomorrow we leave Amsterdam and head on the Antwerp. I hope you are well!
PS - I'm begining to realize that they have many different bathroom customs here. Today in the "old church" I went into the marked unisex restroom that was inside of the chapel thinking that it would be one toilet for both men and women to use. It had two separate stalls inside - one with a toilet and one with a urinal.