We changed time-zones when we came to Amsterdam and I forgot to re-set the clock on my MP3 player, so I woke up at 6:10 this morning instead of my planned 5:10. I also have to remember that Daylight Savings Time is coming up soon too and that will really throw me off! I was a bit rushed when I first got up, but things got better.
We went back to Amsterdam for the morning today. I ended up winding up and down the beautiful yet very confusing streets and canals and, after getting briefly lost, I ended up in the Red Light District again. All the hooligans and workers of the night had gone home, so I took a stroll and examined the mess from the weekend before.
I then found a street of windows where the "women of the night" worked the night before. The women had closed the blinds and turned off their lights and gone home hours ago, so I took the opportunity to take a few pictures.
After I did, however, I took a look down the block to my left and I saw, five windows down, was an escort still working. I wasn't sure if she saw me take pictures or not, and I didn't want to stick around and find out if she had, so I shoved my camera into my jacket pocket and fled down the opposite direction. Thinking back, I don't think she was even looking in my direction.
I purchased a few post-cards and a "Don't Drink and Drive - Smoke and Fly" t-shirt, and found my way to the National Monument (which was a triangle on the ground that I walked over about a thousand times looking for) and the Anne Frank House.
I wasn't allowed to take pictures inside the house (which isn't her actual house, but was built to look just like it -- which was only a few blocks away) to protect the artifacts and pieces of the diary. It was a wonderful museum and I recommend anybody who is a fan of the diary or her less-well-known short-stories to go to the museum. I also bought some post-cards there as well.
Many of my fellow travelers had been feeling last-nights activities and are very tired and quiet today. My roommate, Ralph, didn't get home until about 3:30 AM and I don't recall opening the door and letting him in.
Tonight is our one night that we can catch up with our sleep and go for some wine-tasting. I plan to skip that and instead take pictures of St. Goar and the Rhine River.
Oh, before I forget: Flip told us that Vatican City would be closed the day we get to Rome, so we may have to leave Venice early and try to make it there on time, or go to the Roman Coliseum instead. I really want to go to the Vatican (it's on my bucket-list), but the Coliseum would be cool too.
With everybody around me sleeping, I'm getting tired myself. I'll write later.
And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.
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Just over a year ago I wrote an article about the glockenspiel that once stood in downtown Regina. I had fond memories of the glockenspiel as a child and was sad when they took it down to renovate the park. I was even more sad when they didn't put it back up, and I was angry when I discovered it was sitting in a junkyard (sorry, outdoor "storage facility") for the past ten years. That article got a lot of attention, from both the public, the city and the press. Today, efforts are being made to restore the bell back to its original location.
I'm telling you this because preserving heritage – may it be a 25-year-old bell, or a fourth century building – is important. Without heritage, we lose who we are. Often, the desire to move society forward steps over the heritage and causes it to get lost. As impressive as tall glass buildings might be, nothing is better than a smoky red brick structure.
Saskatchewan is beginning to realize how important this is – and thankfully it's happening now and not in a few decades after everything is gone. But, our neighbours have been on the heritage preservation band train for several years now, especially in Alberta.
They say hope was the last thing to die in Auschwitz.
It's been just over 70 years since the Allies liberated the death camp and the horrors of the "Final Solution" were revealed to the world. Prior to their arrival, Auschwitz was the most effective death camp ever created, having taken the lives of over 1.1 million Jews.
Block 4 of Auschwitz holds the museum, explaining the best it can about what happened seven decades past. The museum explains what Auschwitz was originally built for – a camp for Polish prisoners of war – and how it became key to the Nazi's "Final Solution". The museum goes over the construction of Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II (Birkenau) and Auschwitz III (Monowitz), the increased sizes and effectiveness of gas chambers and the factories of death that stood and smoked over the camp during its operation.
For many of us in Saskatchewan, summer means it's time for an Alberta road trip. Although the endless stretches of prairie have their appeal, there is nothing quite like seeing the mountains rising over the horizon.
One challenge that comes with taking a summer road trip is the heat. Much like on this side of the border, it isn't uncommon for summer temperatures to get to the extreme. I know a few people who have had car problems in the heat, and my family is one of them. Nothing ruins a trip more than an unexpected visit to the mechanic.
Thankfully, Alberta has a myriad of places to go swimming, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding or fishing. This not only gives your vehicle time to cool off, but also gives you a chance to escape the heat as well.