|The tower by the Dom Church. No, it's not crooked, we're just bad photographers.|
|You can see the unique canal system here.|
Sunday the 18th, Sinterklaas came to town! He's the Dutch version of Santa. This is a huge deal here. He comes in town mid-November all leading up to the actual Sinterklaas Day on December 5. He comes in on a boat in the morning and then parades through the city during the day. He comes in with his helper called Black Pete, which is a person painted black because he's a slave. (Horrible, huh?!) There are hundreds of Black Petes around helping him. It's pretty funny, because all the kids are also dressed up as Black Pete. We knew Sinterklaas would be in Dam Square about 2 PM, so our plan was to go to church then rush home to see him. We left to go to church in the morning only to realize our tram was shut down because of the Sinterklaas parade. We ended up riding our bikes to church, which was actually fun because we passed all the kids going to watch Sinterklaas come in on the boat. When we got to Dam Square that afternoon, it was packed! We barely caught a view of him over the crowd, but it was still fun. We're excited to exchange our chocolate monograms on December 5, which is Sinterklaas Tradition. Here are a couple pictures of Sinterklaas with Black Pete(s) I found online and then a picture we took of the crowd in Dam Square:
|He looks like a mixture between the pope and santa, right?|
Tuesday, we finally made it to the Anne Frank Huis. If anyone's counting, it was our fourth attempt. The first two times the line was way too long; the last time, it was closed. Anyway, this ended up being the perfect time to go. Because we went on a tuesday evening, it was basically empty, which made it a really special experience. I re-read the diary this past summer and fell in love with it. It touched me so much, so I've been really excited to visit the house. I'm a baby; I was near tears the whole time in the house while we were there. It was really well done. They even have some of the original journals. It was incredible to wander around rooms where Anne spent so much time. I already want to go back. They don't let you take pictures inside, but I already regret not sneaking one as we climbed the stairs to the "secret annex." Oh well. We only have this lame, blurry picture outside the house in the dark. At least we have our memories!