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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If you're visiting Alberta this summer, you probably have your heart set on visiting the mountains. After all, places like Lake Louise, Banff, Waterton and now Castle Provincial Park are some of the most beautiful sites in Canada, and they're always a hit on Instagram (if you're into that kind of thing). But, between Regina and the mountains is a whole province with plenty of sights to explore.
Last year I took more trips than I could count to southern Alberta, but most of them ended near Medicine Hat. Had I gone a bit further, I would have found myself in a myriad of attractions to see, from historical museums to sites of natural disasters and just about everything in-between.
For those looking to make a few stops on their way to the Rocky Mountains, or for those who are just looking for an Alberta road trip, here are six attractions you must visit while in southern Alberta.
Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania shut its doors in 1970. A year later, in 1971, it would briefly reopen and house inmates from Holmesburg Prison after a devastating riot. After the prisoners were returned to Holmesburg, Eastern State would sit empty for over two decades. It would rot, decay and collapse. Trees and shrubs would grow into the structure and a clowder of cats would take residence. These hallowed halls would sit empty, the only noise being the chatter of startled birds and the trotter of feline paws.
The following decades would see various discussions of what to do with the building. Eventually, it was decided to preserve it and turn it into a tourist attraction. Although it officially opened for tours in 1994, attendants would have to sign a waiver and wear hardhats before entering until 2008. They had 10,000 visitors the opening year, a number of tourists not seen in the prison since 1858.
From 1829 to 1970, Eastern State Penitentiary underwent a variety of changes and transformations. This massive, sprawling, 11-acre complex was founded under the belief that solitary confinement was the cure needed to prevent criminals from committing future crimes. It was believed criminals who served in solitary confinement would turn to a higher power to reconcile with themselves for their crimes – hence feeling "penitent". To assist in this process, each cell was equipped with a slit window on the ceiling nicknamed "The Eye of God". It would be the only light source available to the inmate.
If you follow my blog, you know I love history. History is what makes us who we are today. It defines our accomplishments and highlights our failures. Most importantly, it helps us move forward as a society.
A lot of my focus is Saskatchewan's history, but there's plenty of amazing history to be told in our neighbour province of Alberta too. From First Nations culture, through to early pioneers, the oil boom and the legacy the province today, there is always something to learn about when visiting Alberta.