Archive for the ‘Beguinage’ Tag

WHERE’S MONA? – RIGHT HERE AND DOING BETTER   20 comments

Sorry, I’ve been away from here too long.

The cough hit again when I got home, and this time whatever the bug was hit my back too, so there were a few moan and groan days, such as drain one’s energy. These little nasties tend to seek out our most vulnerable parts.

Besides that, I found I can’t do anything with my travel photos until I get the new external drive I’ve ordered. Seems I’ve overwhelmed my little MacBook Air. I want to say I’ll have some photos for my blog after I get the chance to go through them to delete and edit. But I do hesitate, knowing that I never did deliver my Iceland photos as I had promised. (Have you noticed how time goes by faster every year?)

I do want to tell you, though, about our last day in Amsterdam. As I’m remembering the day, one thing that stands out is bicycles. Not only the fact that bicycles are a major mode of transportation, with their own broad lanes, but also that for some reason lots of them end up in the canals. We came by one boat dredging the waters, already loaded with recovered bicycles, and pulling up another whole bunch. I was too slow with the camera to catch them in the grasp of the claws, but I did get a shot of the piles already recovered. How it does inspire the imagination to make up a pretend backstory.

There are times in my travels when I arrive at a place where I’d like to stay a while. That’s how I felt at the Beguinage, a beautiful inner court of town homes rentable only to single women. Founded in the middle ages, it was once home, in the form of single rooms, to women who were one step away from being nuns, but never did take vows and were free to leave to get married. Now, in my daydreams, I could imagine spending the day working – teaching or whatever – and returning at night to the calm and beauty of the area. Maybe a quick pause in the lovely chapel would be in order.

At the other extreme of experience was the visit to the Anne Frank house. Doug – the world’s best personal travel agent – had discovered the option to buy a ticket on line for a half-hour lecture at 6:00 p.m. (as I recall) followed by a tour. Without that, we would have been in a huge line that stretched way around the block.

Anne’s father had certainly done his best to protect his family. For the situation, the structure was relatively roomy, like a small house, really. But imagine living there in silent darkness, with the windows covered. And ultimately being betrayed just a short time before the end of the war.

So here’s my true confession. I never could make myself read Anne’s diary. We assigned it in Developmental Psych classes; friends told me it was inspiring; but I was sure I would think only of the horror that Anne eventually suffered, and the senseless killing of her dreams. Having visited the spot, however, I think, for some reason I can’t really explain, that I can now read the book.

And I am more than happy to have experienced her hiding place. I like knowing that her thoughts and life have not only survived, but influenced people in many different languages and many parts of the world.

That was the end of our trip. The next day we flew from Amsterdam to Minneapolis/St. Paul. The process of making it through security and the subsequent check points was amazingly efficient. And it’s always good to get home.

 

 

 

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