As as a sort of present for my 19th birthday, back in 2007, my dad let me and a friend tag along on a business trip to Amsterdam. While my dad was in meetings during the day the two of us would explore this completely beautiful but totally eccentric city and then reconnect with my dad afterwards. That they were comfortable with this arrangement I think makes my parents pretty cool.
Amsterdam was very nearly exactly how I'd always pictured it. Cobbled streets, broken up by canals, crisscrossed with bridges. Everyone is on bikes. (A lot of people are smoking you know what...) We had great weather and spent a lot of the time just sitting on a bench in the sun, taking in the scenes, and enjoying my favorite pastime- people watching.
One of the most surreal moments of this trip was visiting Anne Frank's house.
I've read her diary. The intimate words she wrote while in hiding. Behind a bookshelf that covers a secret door to a tiny secret attic apartment. The place where her family was ripped apart by fear and hate. To visit that place, to stand where she trembled, is humbling. Imagining the past lives of this city is overwhelming.
As we were leisurely enjoying our last few hours in Amsterdam, remarking on the tulip vendors and greenhouses that line the river, I felt my heart drop to the floor of my stomach and realized that I had indeed left my passport in the safe. I then had to call my dad, get the number for the hotel, call the hotel and then high-tail it back there. Short story long I recovered my passport. Rookie mistake I tell you. It also almost got taken at passport control on the way back into the UK, apparently I looked like a threat.
But that's another story.