Our little group is converging in Amsterdam. Mark and Cinda are north by the train station, Sheila and Dave a bit south toward the Reiksmuseum and we are on the middle on a very quiet canal near Rembrandt’s house.
We are in the most modest of our three hotels, but we are the most centrally located and we have met Piero, our evening clerk, and he provides us with a wealth of unusual and extremely useful information. We learn of the Museumkaart which will get us into any museum in The Netherlands and will allow us to avoid standing in the hopelessly long lines outside The Rijksmuseum. He recommends an excellent Indonesian restaurant on the Rembrandtplein where the Black Watch bronzes are and where Dave, Sheila, Mark and Cinda and we can sample delicious Rijsttafel dishes. Piero also tells us to be in line at Anne Frank’s house by 7:30 a.m. to avoid crowds and experience this very moving example of a young person’s hopes and dreams in the midst of man’s inhumanity to man.
Re the title of this blog: Amsterdam sprang from libertarian (“I won’t be a serf to some feudal lord so I guess I will go try to farm in this lowland swamp.”) and liberal (“We need to work together to build and maintain this dike and windmill pump.”) roots. The result: a conservative, business oriented city with an amazing tolerance for diversity that goes back for hundreds of years.