Saturday, 19 June 2010

Amsterdam part 4 - our last couple of days

I spent the following day meandering round the Rijksmuseum which is just along from the Van Gogh Museum. It's in the process of being renovated so only had one wing open but it has chosen to display what it called the crème de la crème of its permanent collection in the newly furnished Philips Wing. The exhibition was called 'The Masterpieces' and it offered the unique opportunity to view all the highlights of Amsterdam's Golden Age in one place. I'll be honest and say that the paintings were not really my kind of thing but I could still appreciate the work and skill that had gone into creating them. One of the things that really stood out was the painters use of light...I guess that's not surprising when the musuem was featuring work by Rembrandt and his pupils (Rembrandt was famous for his use of light)...but the atmosphere they managed to create in their paintings was incredible!

That evening Chris and I found the most amazing little resaurant where we had warm bread with olive tapanade, followed by steak with hand cut chips (the waitress was very funny in her disaproval of Chris wanting his well done) and mushrooms marinated in honey and tomato ketchup (which sounds horrible but was absolutely gorgeous!) and then I had chocolate mousse and Chris had a lemon sorbet. OMG it was good!!

The next day was our last one so we got up early, checked out of the hotel, dumped our bags at the train station and then made our way to Anne Frank's House. For those of you that don't know the story (I'll be surprised if you don't!), Anne Frank was a Jewish girl living in Amsterdam that had to go into hiding to escape the Nazis during the second world war. Otto Frank, Anne's Father, was a fairly wealthy man and ran his own Jam making business in Amsterdam where they had fled after Hitler became the head of the German goverment. When the Germans invaded Amsterdam his daughter, Margot, was called up to go to a German labour camp so the family had a secret annex built in his office which was hidden by a bookcase. They went into hiding with another family where they stayed, unable to go outside and in constant fear of discovery, for over two years. They were eventually betrayed (it was never discovered by whom, and in 1944 were arrested, split up and taken to the concentration camps. Anne died Auschwitz in 1944. Otto was the only family member to survive and when he returned to Amsterdam in 1945 hoping to find his family he discovered that all that remained was the diary that had been written by his daughter which was saved by one of his employees that had helped them during their time in hiding. Her dearest wish was to be a writer and to publish a book called 'The secret Annex' based on her diaries when the war was over. He fulfilled her wish.

To be honest I don't really know what to say about the house. I spent the entire time trying not to was the every day things that really got to me....the pictures that she had pasted onto her walls to make them a bit more homely, the marks on the wall that charted her growth and the view of the blue sky that they could see from the attic. It's an amazing place and stepping through the opening behind the bookcase was indiscribable...


Haddock said...

Had read about her and the book.
But this is the first time I get to see the bookshelf and the secret Annexe.

Talli Roland said...

Great photos, Carol - I'm enjoying my virtual trip to Amsterdam!

And can you please give me a taste of the olive tapenade? Pleeeease?

Ayak said...

I would love to visit Anne Frank's house. I have read her story many times, and each time it reduces me to tears.

I've enjoyed your trip to Amsterdam. So well described, I can almost feel I'm there!

DJ Kirkby said...

I'm with Chris on the well done steak! I must try and make that sauce for the mushrooms tonight, it sounds lush! How were they cooked? Sliced and fried? Whole?

Carol said...

Haddock - It was astonishing that eight people lived in there for as long as they did!! Doesn't bear thinking about!!

Talli - I'm glad you've enjoyed your virtual trip :-)

I would if I could hon...I would if I could!

Ayak - I bought a copy of the book when we were there and I too was in floods of tears at the end!! It just stops so suddenly!!

I'm glad you've enjoyed reading about my trip...I had a blast :-)

DJ - I love mine done medium rare! The mushrooms were done on mushroom one piece of onion and I think they were try it cause it was absolutley gorgeous!!

C x

LadyFi said...

Must be amazing and sad to visit Anne Frank's house. She really was a very special girl.

Debs said...

Thanks for those amazing photos. I've heard about Anne Frank, but have never seen any pictures of the entrance to the annex and her room. Such a tragic story.

Carol said...

LadyFi - You've hit the nail on the head there....amazing and sad! I didn't know what to expect when I read the diary but I really liked sad!

Debs - It was an incredible experience! Places like that really leave an impression and I don't think I will ever forget how I felt walking through the entrance!!

C x

Blu said...

Hi thanks for sharing your trip I have really enjoyed it!

Carol said...

Blu - I'm so glad :-). I do think that's one of the lovely things about blogging....I've really enjoyed reading about Absolute Vanilla's trip to Mauritius...her photos were stunning!

C x

Nicky S (Absolute Vanilla) said...

That must have been such a remarkable experience and I relate so much to how you must have felt. I experienced a similar feeling when I visited Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. Breaks your heart the pain we cause each other. So glad you've been enjoying Amsterdam - and glad you vicariously enjoyed Mauritius! :-) xx

Lane said...

I remember my mother saying she was surprised how small Anne Frank's house was - or rather the rooms they used. I would love to go there.

Thanks for sharing your trip with us:-)

Carol said...

Nicky - I does break your heart! We have the capacity to do brilliant things yet some *sigh*...I just don't get it!! That period of history makes my blood run cold when I think about it!

Lane - I know exactly what she means! The rooms were incredibly small and to think that eight people lived in them for over two years....

Your welcome hon, thanks for reading :-)

C x

French Fancy said...

You did well not to cry - I couldn't stop. Wasn't it a sad experience - but then I cried at Vincent's house as well - it sounds like my trip was a lot weepier than yours :)

You make me want to return to this fabulous city. I can remember saying how easy it would be to live there - but then I say it about so many places I visit.

You deserved this break away from your studies and a chance to be out wining and dining with your lovely man. Plus you must be overjoyed with your dad's success - I'm so happy for you Carol


Carol said...

French Fancy - I would be lying if I said that I maintained my composure! I saw most of the house through a teary blur!

LOL, I said exactly the same thing! I even asked Chris about the chances of him working out of the Amsterdam office (It's unlikely but you never know!).

I do feel like I've re-charged the batteries. It was nice to enjoy the break and not have essays hanging over my head (just the results!). You must be feeling the same...

Yep, I'm over the moon for my Dad. He's worked long and hard over the years so it's lovely that he's finally getting the recognition he deserves.

C x

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