Saturday, September 22, 2018

Amsterdam! Part I!

An opportunity to visit Amsterdam with my son popped up this past summer, and I leaped at it! The chance to go on an adventure with my son to a brand-new (to us) place? I couldn't afford to miss it! A part of me still hardly believes we went because going to the Netherlands is something I never thought I'd get to do.

I shouldn't be surprised, though. Know why? The first two reports I ever wrote, wa-a-ay back in elementary school, were on:

1. squirrels
2. Amsterdam

I had seen squirrels (as my long-time blog friends know). It was high time I saw Amsterdam!



But while I'd written a report when I was about seven (that I'm sure was quite riveting), I wanted to learn more about Amsterdam (or Amsterdarn, for those of you who are goody two shoes).

So I bought a book.

Russell Shorto's Amsterdam: A History of the World's Most Liberal City is an excellent book! I highly recommend it, whether you're going to visit Amsterdam, have gone already, or would just like to learn about an incredible place with a history of tolerance, radicalism, and a lot of water. It's both entertaining and fascinating. I started reading it on my trip, and it made my experiences there richer. While I'd previously learned snippets of facts, like about the Dutch in New York and John Adams in the Netherlands, I had no idea that so many United States places and institutions (for example, the stock market) had roots in Amsterdam.

Shorto is a talented storyteller. I love this book so much that I've been recommending it to family and friends, and I even bought a second copy to give as a gift.

Another book choice I made because of our trip: Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl.

I read it when I was a kid, probably close to the age Anne Frank was when she started her journal, but I'm rereading it. After seeing where she and her family hid during World War II, I want to reread her thoughts and experiences. It's so tragic, so haunting, and so heartbreaking. It's something that must never be forgotten. Not ever.

I'll end here for now. Next time I'll post more of the photos my son and I took on our trip!

Have you been to Amsterdam? What nonfiction books have you read because of places you've traveled or would like to visit?