Berlin, it seems, sort of likes me. I feel its warmth in the gentle swaying of the evening breeze and in the smiles exchanged on the street with people I've never seen. The little, smartly dressed dogs everywhere (not traipsing alone but accompanied by their owners, obviously) and people carrying cycles in the trains (which is allowed here.). I feel a longing to come back here even when I'm exasperated - like when I got bored of bread last week, which is all you get here. I wanted, more than anything, a piping hot Medu Vada for breakfast and settled for bread and cheese instead. I'm coming round to it though. Discovering croissants for breakfast was a wonderful moment.
Oh lord, I'm doing that vague thing again, aren't I? I don't know what that mood is, that simply takes over my fingers and flows out on to the screen, one abstract word after another, but I just have to let it run its convoluted course. Which I think it has. Now.
So anyway, getting back to normal writing, I was in the Netherlands last week! Two days in Rotterdam, followed by a day and a half in Amsterdam, and it was the most fun ever. I met some great people, saw some lovely sights and finally, finally visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.
Anne Frank's writing and the Holocaust aspect of the second world war is something I have been interested in since I was a child. I have read a lot about it and I did my B.A. project on the diary of Anne Frank. So it was nothing short of a dream come true to visit the Anne Frank House at 263, Prinsengracht on a sunny Monday morning (where the queue behind us seemed to stretch on for more than a block at 11 am).
The fact that the memory of this remarkable girl and all those who perished during this tragic time has not been commercialized is something I deeply respect. The Anne Frank House is not simply about the house in which eight Jews went into hiding, but a symbol of the atrocities meted out to a group of people simply because they were Jews. Visiting this monument reminds one that discrimination lives on even today and there is much to be learnt from the past. I hope to go back there as soon as possible.
Rotterdam was made fun by our friend Ruma, who showed us around the town and with whom we traveled to Amsterdam. Ooh, you get these delicious things in Netherlands called Swirl's - an ice cream with self-chosen toppings, which was great to eat in the chilly weather . And speaking of weather, it was cold and rainy for the most time when we were in Netherlands and the strong winds made it worse - especially since I get cold quicker than a snow flake in winter (does that sound right?) but it was a lot of fun-ness and frolick-ness anyway.
What else did I like? The trams, the canals (so romantic), the ducks, and the cycles (hundreds of which I saw parked, but honestly, not half as many out on the road actually being ridden), and the language, which is a comprehensible mix of German and English. And definitely on my list of languages I want to someday learn. Someday.
And now, dear reader, I must go. Packing awaits, but I'm not complaining. Off to Italy for a long weekend. And it seems the weather will be nice and sunny. Hurrah!