While Julie was still with us, we took another Bike tour. This one was around Munich. It was quite leisurely and actually a bit cool with little drops of rain. Adam, an energetic South African, was our guide. I am sure that he knew more about Munich than some of it’s residents. There was no drama on this tour. We went around various churches and the Residenz castle where the Kings used to live. While at the Residenz we rubbed the noses of the lion statues (a symbol of Bavaria) for good luck. You could only rub three of the four lion’s noses or else they said that you were just being greedy. We ate lunch in this huge “bier garten” in the English Garden (like bigger than New York’s central park – or so they say). The English garden was so big they even had an area where people could surf! Quite relaxing and we all enjoyed it.
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When you mention Amsterdam to anyone, you know exactly what they are thinking. Drugs and prostitutes right? Well, there is actually more to see there than that.
Today we decided to experience a little more of the history. It turns out that the Anne Frank house is here in Amsterdam. It was the one where she and seven others hid from the Nazi’s during WWII for almost two years. I have never read her diary, but as no surprise have heard about it. I can not tell you how eerie it was seeing the bookcase that hid the secret annex, walking up the stairs behind the bookcase, and seeing the walls of her room where she had glued up her pictures to make it more “cheery”. I can not imagine living in such a tiny place with so many people and being forced to remain as quite as possible during the day so the workers in the factory below did not hear the noises from above. The mood is very somber towards the end when you realize their fates in the concentration camps. Of the eight, only her father survived. To carry on her memory, and the memory of all those others that suffered under Hitler’s regime, he persevered and got her diary published. All very moving indeed.
To brighten things up a bit, we then went on another bike tour, this time with Mike’s Bike Tour of Amsterdam. We toured the Red Light District (where no photos are allowed), the canals and canal bridges and then biked out into the country into Holland to see windmills and a farm where not only cheese is made but also those painted wooden clogs in more colors that you can imagine. We decided against a pair due to packing dilemmas, but of course we definatley did not pass up on buying some cheese! The weather was beautiful and quite a lovely day. By the end though, my calves felt like they were going to explode as I was missing the first two gears on my bike and always started out in third gear. oh well, c’est la vie! I have decided that I am a fan of bike tours and I would recommend them to anyone as they are a great way to get some exercise and hear a little bit about the town from your bike tour guide, along with getting a good view of the lay of the town so you can then go exploring later on your own!