Today begins with a stop in Dam Square. It is yet another huge square flanked by grand, historic buildings and tons of shops and restaurants. This picture below is taken of a map at a bus stop and is of no significance to anyone except to my immediate family. Or maybe to people who need to get to Dam Square:
After walking by so many pancake houses yesterday, I decide to see for myself how different the pancakes here are to the American ones. First of all, they are really thin, more like crepes. And this particular place has about 30 different toppings, from ham and cheese to rum raisins (what i order) to peaches soaked in Grand Marnier. The first few bites are heavenly, but then the sugar rush hits me straight between the eyes. I push the last half around on my plate, thinking it may vanish into thin air if I cut it up into small pieces and then moving them around. But they don’t so I give up. There may be starving children in Ethiopia but if I finish this pancake that might be the end of me. After I leave the pancake joint, I crave something salty to wash off the sugar high.
I then end up at Rembrandthuis, or the house where Rembrandt once lived and painted. It is a fantastic museum because it provides a wonderful backstory, putting his art into a more hands-on context. I am often starstruck by artists so it’s a joy to get to stand in the same room where they once did the simple things that we all do, such as eating! Here is a picture of his kitchen:
I’m not supposed to take any pictures, which is really a shame because there is this magical room where he displayed treasures collected from around the world, from conch shells of New Guinea to African masks to ostrich bones. Not only was he a master painter but also a student of world cultures. Now that I have visited this room, Rembrandt becomes one of the five people (dead or alive) that I’d love to invite to my fantasy dinner party. It’s a real treat to also step inside the studio where he once sat and worked. But alas no pictures are allowed, except those of the exterior:
The problem with lollygagging in one museum (but how can one not!) is that you lose precious time in visiting other equally important places. Anne Frank’s house is one of these places, but by the time I get there, the queue is wrapped around the block and there is no way I can make my train back to Brussels if I stand in line.
So I walk down to the door and reflect on what once took place behind it.
I remember reading her book when I was maybe 13 and feeling the weight of the world on her tiny shoulders. As a child of war myself I just got her. When I read fear on those pages, I trembled for her. When I found both optimism and angst among her words, I felt such a kindred connection to her spirit. I wished she got to experience peace as I eventually did. I knew back then that one day I would go to where she poured out her emotions through ink and pay tribute to her courage.
I’m disappointed that I don’t get to go inside this time, but I feel uplifted leaving there. I see young kids, adults, families of all races connecting in line at the museum, and I think Anne would be proud.