Monday, April 5, 2010

Amsterdam, thank you ma'am

So on a layover, I usually opt for sleeping on a row of chairs, but thank goodness I am married to Troy whose main philosophy in travel is 'when are we going to be here again?' and 'you can sleep anytime'. That is why we have so much fun on the road. Even in the smallest small town, there is something amazing, and in Amsterdam, something amazing on every corner. What a city! We had a nine hour layover, so we caught the train into the older part of town. The buildings and canals are breathtaking, and the funny little house boats with full electric hook-ups were fascinating. They formed a sort of water trailer park along the edges of the canal, and I wondered if they ever disconnected and traveled around. It seems like that would be the benefit of living on a boat, but these boats looked pretty permanently affixed.
the front door of a house boat
The downside to Amsterdam is the possibility of walking through a more touristy, sex-shop-y, marijuana-y area. Fortunately I figured out where we were before Toby did, and called his attention to the intricate cobblestone walk... for a whole block. On the face of one building, large letters stated, "God is dead" and I lost count of the number of psychic healing and other establishments promoting humanism. But on another block, we came across a small Christian bookstore. We went inside, and Troy pointed out my CD to the owner, "This is Sara Groves" (I do not enjoy this, by the way). The proprietor looked at the CD, and then looked at my bedraggled self, and said, "It doesn't look like you." No. No, it doesn't does it. It was good to meet Ed Baker and have a brief conversation about faith in Amsterdam, and what the difference is between Holland and The Netherlands.
Talking with Ed Baker. Can you see Fireflies and Songs on the wall between us?
We wanted to see the Corri ten Boom Museum, but it was closed, and so from there we went to the the Anne Frank Museum, which is located in the factory and house where they hid. We went up into their hiding place, and saw on the walls of Anne's room, the magazine pictures and beauty adds that she had put up to make that time and place more bearable. We saw the one window she looked out of in the attic, and the bookshelf that covered the door at the bottom of the stairs. At the end of the tour, there is a short video of Otto Frank explaining how he never knew that the Anne of the diary was inside the everyday Anne he knew as his daughter. He wondered if a parent could ever really know his or her children. I asked Toby, "Do I know you?" He said "yup", but I suspect that Otto is right.


  1. You're a good tour guide, Sara. : ) We have good friends that moved to Amsterdam 7? 8? years ago and planted a church there. I so enjoyed hearing about her adventures getting groceries with her three young children on the bicycle (which, granted, was like a bicyle-cart). A lot of spiritual hunger there...many gather for teaching and discussion. Good stuff!

  2. And to think, you might have spent all that time in an airport. Adventure is fantastic, isn't it? Creates rich stories--the best spice of life;)

  3. Thank you Sara I'm just reading a book about Corrie Ten Boom. So close to me in the Uk but never been to Amsterdam. It sounds cute!
    When are you going to get to come to the UK?xxx

  4. Sara....
    Sent you an email. Do you remember me? Lisa Martinez from IJM Mumbai? I don't know how else to get a hold of you since it's been so long out of touch. You're coming to a church right down the road from me the weekend of April 16th and I was wondering if I could treat you all to some home cooked food? Let me know. Take care on your travels, Lisa

  5. Isn't it wonderful to have a husband who takes you out of your usual plans and shows you something new! (My husband does that all the time!)

  6. We didn't get to the Anne Frank house when we were there three years ago, but we were able to see the Corrie Ten Boom museum. Simply amaing - moved me to tears (history geek that I am). I'm sure Anne Frank's was equally moving - glad you got to experience some of the city!