Archive for the ‘Jewish History Museum’ Tag


Ignoring chronological order, I’m writing about the most exciting thing first. Many years ago, arriving for the first time in Europe, I was on a National Student Association tour spending eleven days on Holland America’s Line the s.s. Volendam, most recently having been used as a troop ship in WWII. Facilities were far from luxurious, but how perfect an eleven-day crossing for a bunch of ready and excited students. As it happened, we couldn’t disembark in Rotterdam until some paper work was finished, so my roommate and I volunteered to do some necessary typing. As we performed our clerical duties we pulled into the harbor, and the first thing I saw was “the clock.’ It is firmly fixed in my memory as my first and very exciting sight in Europe. I don’t know if that’s true of Harriet and Justine who shared the adventure with me, but for me it was a marker.

And two days ago I saw the clock again as we celebrated the naming of the new ship of the Holland America Line, the m.s. Koningsdam, complete with dedication by Queen Maxima, a special trip to the Rijk’s museum, and fireworks. That’s when I saw the clock again, as we pulled away from the dock. Now atop what has become the New York Hotel, it was the clock that marked my first visit to Rotterdam and Europe when it then crowned the Holland America Line building. I don’t know if Harriet and Justine would have shared my excitement, but I was thrilled with the full circle.

A special treat for those of us on board was an evening at the Rijk’s museum, with a fantastic guided tour in small groups. So much to learn, and so much that tied into the excursions we had enjoyed and the things we experienced on land today.

As for other neat things we’ve done, before leaving the Koningsdam, we enjoyed two more land excursions: One to Gouda of cheese fame (pronounced “Howda” with a guttural “H,”) and another to Edam. Both delightful small towns. I much prefer small towns to big cities.

But now that we are back on land, spending a couple of days in Amsterdam (where I am experiencing the “full circle sense” again) I am enjoying this city. The road: many widths. The bike lanes, the wait-for-the-trolley-and-bus lanes, the trolley and bus lanes, and the car lanes.

Quite a venture to cross the street.

I confess that yesterday I spent every spare moment dozing after starting another round of antibiotics with the return of “the cough!” and getting very little sleep before disembarking. But in between we enjoyed lunch at the music hall followed by a rousing concert (which did keep me pretty roused.). Handel’s “Water Music,” and Shostokovich.” A beautiful venue, and amazing how much difference the orchestra and the acoustics can make. The orchestra enjoyed a long and well deserved standing ovation.

Today, though, was blessed with the effects of a good, long sleep, and then off on our own expeditions – in the pouring rain: First Rembrandt’s House – a joy in itself and tying together so much of what we had been experiencing and learning. Then, followed by lunch in a nice dry spot, came the Jewish museum and then the Portuguese synagogue. So much visual pleasure. So much to learn. So much to think about.

And now, with a special Hello to Harriet and Jus, that brings us up to a rather hasty update.

















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