When we planned to go to my conference this year we decided to fly in and out of Amsterdam having heard it was a fun place to visit, picturesque and one city not to miss in Europe.
As you can see the canals are charming, the city steeped in history and culture and a Mecca for worldwide travelers seeking fun and adventure.
The Netherlands has the second most densely populated country with 500 people per kilometer. I had not idea it was also the land of cheese and you can find "cheese houses" on most every corner. Bikes have the right of way and there is even parking garages dedicated to bikes.
The cities is sewn together with coffee shops where people can go in purchasing cannibus or whaver hallucinogenic they desire. Is this to self-medicate or enlighten their travel experience in this city?
The historical grandeur of church bells ringing juxtaposed to the smell of pot, and the red light district with women scantily dressed in their plastic cubicles makes this city perplexing.
The word that came to mind today was vacuous. Although pretty and interesting things to see, it felt empty.
The moment that made it all worthwhile was our visit to the Anne Frank House. Realizing the terrors of the war, the pain and challenges of Anne and her family and all they endured made me thankful for the life that I have. I can work, travel, eat healthy food, and enjoy freedom. In that moment I knew I have nothing worth complaining about. I don't need self-medication - only gratefulness for the life I have and the people around me. I'll be happy to return home tomorrow to sunny Santa Monica with a little more respect for the quality of life I enjoy each day.