Homeward Bound

In an hour, I'll be on an airplane headed west. I have a layover in Toronto then on to Detroit later this afternoon, well, later tonight Amsterdam time. Schiphol is quite the airport. There is a big mall on the arrivals level and many, many stores on the way to the gate.

I'll miss Amsterdam. It's been a great visit, one that I'll reflect on for quite some time. Many memories of the many sites I saw and people I met.

The highlight of the trip, of course, was spending a week with Amanda and having her along for the ride. It was much emptier when she left.

Of the sites we saw, the visit to the Anne Frank house tops the list. It was a moving experience. To see the place that I read about just a few days earlier brought home how harrowing that time and place was. It's hard to imagine the courage it must have taken to go into hiding and stay there for more than two years. 

There are a bunch of small moments that stand out:
  • The afternoon in the Two Swans when the Belgian tourists burst into the bar and the bartender used a couple of stirrers to keep time on the liquor bottles hanging above the bar.
  • Riding a bike along the dike, never finding a bridge, and discovering that you needed a ferry to get across.
  • Finding the first Dijkhuis grave in Ulrum.
  • Driving through Winsum and feeling trapped in a small sidestreet that eventually became impassably narrow.
  • Seeing all those neat houses in Ulrum, Leens, and Uithuizen with shades thrown wide open and their living rooms clearly visible to anyone on the nearby sidewalk.
Boarding is about to commence. Next entry will come from North America.

10/22 addition: Back at home. But some additional moments:
  • The truck and giant sponge that was used to clean the lane markers along the road in Groningen province. Can't imagine any American state cleaning roadside markers.
  • Arthur Jussen's face with the look of pure joy and happiness as he played the Poulenc concerto.
  • Speaking my halting Dutch with an older man in a sidewalk cafe.
  • Wondering what the hell I was doing on a canal, in open water, during a thunderstorm & downpour
  • The wafting odor of marijuana just about everywhere.
  • My first sighting of a red lit window.
I could probably go on and on. I'll leave it here.


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