Friday, March 19, 2010
Having a rest
Since I have last written we have left Berlin, visited Ghent or Gent in Belgium and landed in Amsterdam. We have been here for about 5 days and are staying in a great apartment we found on a house exchange site. It seems everywhere we go since we have landed in Germany we have encountered places that remind us of the holocaust that took place during the second world war. Amsterdam has been no exception. Here we visited the Anne Frank house and also traveled to Harleem to visit the Corrie Ten Boom house, which is also a museum. It again raises questions about what went on and why some people acted and others did not. We picked up a book at the Jewish Memorial in Berlin called, "The Righteous" which I have been reading. Part of the preface reads like this' " . . . the Germans could not have done what they did without the assistance of their Ukrainian, Polish, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Hungarian and Croatian "helpers". Furthermore, the roundup of Jews in France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Greece, Hungary, Yugoslavia, and even Norway, would not have been so "successful" without significant local "help"." It still makes me wonder how this could have taken place and how people have recovered from such racism. Again I don't have an answer. Terry and I have chatted about this quite a bit and it has left us with many wonders, wonders as to how people could be so cruel and how the people who have rescued Jews could have been so brave.
On a lighter note we have had a marvelous time over that past week or so. The stay in Gent was charming because of the accommodations, a converted river barge bought in France and sailed to Gent and made into a hostel. We were not just near the water but in it. Gent was originally a textile town and was the second largest city in Europe until the industry faltered and other cities grew larger faster. You can still find many quality products there made of cotton and flax. I would recommend a visit to anyone
Amsterdam has been most wonderful, made wonderful because we have connected with some old and new friends here. We have had a great visit with Heather Britton and her sister Rachael and husband, Jacob. Melisa Ytsma has been our tour guide and they all have been to our place as dinner guests. The nice part of this is it's not over yet. On Saturday we will see Jos Dekker and Heather and Melissa again, it's almost like being home. Being home is something we are thinking about. We have about 18 days left of our journey and although we are still having a great time and looking forward to the places we have yet to see, being home on April 17 will be just fine! By the way, this is our third visit to the fine city of Amsterdam and we would suggest it makes a great vacation destination. The buildings and the people are quite amazing and we will be sad to leave. From Amsterdam with love, we will be seeing most of you soon.