Thursday, July 6, 2017

Flying Solo

I flew all alone for the first time in my entire life.  I've flown more than sixty one way flights in my life and my first flight wasn't until I was 21 years old with my mom.  The second flight of my life was our honeymoon.  After that my flying card started really filling up when we moved away from our home state of Texas.  By that time I had kids that were always with me.  So this was so very weird and wonderful to get dropped off at an airport and be alone.  I brought my books, a crochet project, and an audible book.  I was set and it was the shortest flight of my life as well.  Amsterdam is only a 45 minute flight from Frankfurt.  They barely had time to serve drinks before it was time to land.  Short though it was, it was gloriously peaceful.  My gate changed three times on both flights, but who cares? because it was barely an inconvenience to move myself and my carry on to another gate.   On the return trip, I was across the aisle from a toddler that had a few screaming fits when they had to put the tray table up, etc.  Didn't bother me a bit.  It wasn't my responsibility to quiet him.  It's all about perspective.

I arrived in Amsterdam and went straight to the bus and got off at my stop only to find that my phone was refusing to access my data.  I had been planning to rely on Google maps to find my hotel that was 90 meters away.  In what direction?  I had the address so at first I started to just wander around and get my bearings.  Eventually, I found a map posted and took a picture of that with my phone.  (So dependent on technology!)  I used the map to find my way to the street that the hotel was on and walked past it three times before I found it.  So incompetent.  I got on WiFi at the hotel and got a hold of Brian to help me figure out why my data wasn't working in the Netherlands.  Roaming was automatically turned off because it is a new phone.  Problem solved.

My friend arrived soon after that and we set off into the city to have lunch because we were famished.  We began our trip with a toast with a local beer, soups, bread, and a bacon pancake.

Next up was a wine and cheese tasting at a Reypenaer cheese shop.  This was a lot of fun, although I am not sure that I learned much, I definitely enjoyed trying to learn to distinguish the cheeses by smell, and taste.  The wine pairings were exceptional.  I know nothing about what wines go with what cheeses, but it was remarkable how the wines enhanced the flavors of the cheeses and sometimes even altered them.

We stopped for coffee after shopping a bit, before going to our Anne Frank reserved time.

We had been trying to get tickets to the Ann Frank House for weeks and happily we did get them because they were not kidding about the lines.  At all times of the day it is a 2 hour wait in line minimum for tickets.  Since we had tickets, we had to be there at a specific time for an introductory talk followed by the audio guided tour.  I had started re-reading The Diary of Anne Frank a week before our trip to refresh my memory, and I was glad I did.  It helped me remember the people in her life and many of the quotes in the house and in the introductory talk were from the beginning of the book.  It was helpful to cement it in my memory to have heard it all twice recently.

The whole thing was very moving and so worth all the trouble to get tickets.  It is so very sad that any of that ever happened.  I can't imagine living in that annex for two years and never going outside, always having to be so very quiet, never seeing any of your friends again.  And all of that to end up in the concentration camps anyways and die so near when the Americans arrived.

We went to dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant and had some Pho soup.  Off to the hotel to go to bed entirely too late and start all over again on our sight seeing the next morning.

No comments: