Guest blog by Anne:
The train rumbled towards Amsterdam just as my stomach rumbled. Oh no, I can't be the next victim of the illness. Our plans for Amsterdam were derailed when a person jumped onto the tracks between Brussels and Antwerp, Belgium and committed suicide by train. Thankfully it wasn't our train but the train right before ours. So instead of spending the day in Amsterdam, we spent it at Mechelen Train Station. Catherine enjoyed running around the platforms in the sun. Tom drank his Belgium Ale as I was crying because we would miss our slotted time at the Anne Frank Museum - the sole purpose for this leisurely day. A three hour train ride turned into an eight hour ride. We arrived in Amsterdam tattered, desperate and starving with only two hours to explore. We ran out of the most beautiful train station towards Anne Frank House. The smell of marijuana lingered into the street. Sex workers were dancing in front windows. I was unprepared for how liberal Amsterdam was. We arrived at the Anne Frank House at 4:30 pm. I immediately started crying when the security guard opened the door. After telling him the story about the suicide, he replied, "I understand". Touring the house has been a lifelong dream. Imagining life in the annex was heartbreaking. Some stairs were literally vertical and we had to use the railing to pull ourselves up. I felt like we were little ants walking silently to our death during the tour. It was one of the most powerful museums. And yes, I cried imagining what it would be like to be a parent and have to face a holocaust knowing the possible fate of your children. Next stop was the De Bierkoning, one of the most impressive craft beer stores in Amsterdam. Armed with bottles of beer, we made it on the 6:17 pm train back home - back home to Paris. When Meme and Papi asked Catherine about her day she exclaimed, "Choo Choo trains!" Even though the day was a disappointment, there is no one else I would rather be stuck on a train with than my lovely traveling partners.