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Monday, January 5, 2009

Our last day in Europe

Our last day in Europe would end where it started, in Amsterdam. This is the city where we lived 15 years ago, when our oldest daughter was only 2 and a half. Now I remember why I didn't thoroughly relish my time there, afterall, I had lived in sunny California for 8 years by that point. The city hadn't changed much, it was gloomy with dark clouds persistenly hanging overhead, and the city looked as if it hadn't been cleaned in years. Especially after the New Year fireworks were strewn all about the city. But our last item to check off our list of things to see was the Anne Frank Haus. While this isn't a pleasant sight to see, it is a must see. It is important for children to understand how we cannot repeat history of this magnitude. The museum had changed much since I was last here. What I recall from 15 years ago was a simple, quiet restoration of the house. But today, it is filled with flat panel displays showing recordings of former playmates describing their last encounter, of Otto Frank, her father, recounting her diary and the days after his release. The house is still there, but upgraded with this technology. It is definitely a bleak feeling, to see and hear about her life and how such a beguiling, full-of-wonder child could have gone through such horrendous torture. Just three months after Anne and her sister died of typhus, the war ended. But her spirit lives on through her diary and this monument of her life. It is a must-see for those traveling to Amsterdam.

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