Last month, while visiting Amsterdam to meet my granddaughter, Aden, I spent a day expoloring the city on foot. At one point as I walked, I came upon this memorial and took the above photos. As I walked the labyrinth, I was taken by a few things.

One was the rectangular bricks each printed with a name, a day and an age. Name after name after name after name. Later I researched and learned there were 102, 000 names in otal plus 1,000 empty bricks to honor unknown victims. I also learned that during the time of WWII, there were only 140,000 Jews in the Netherlands. As I read the names on each brink, I noticed the same last name across many bricks. I inferred WWII affected entire Dutch Jewish families. So many people of all ages. It started to take my breath away.

The shape of the memorial had me wondering why? Then, I discovered, after researching HERE at the designer’s website that the two meter high walls were in the shape of four Hebrew letters spelling לזכר which means “In Memory of”. Visitors literally walk in the shape of and in memory of these named Dutch Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

Then I noticed the mirrors added across the top. I was taken by this because as I looked up, I saw myself reflected in the mirror. I am here and the names in front of me are not. The mirrors also reflected the sky above and the nature around, like the budding cherry tree. Lifting my eyes toward heaven, I was taken by seeing myself honoring these lost Dutch men, women and children and also felt a bit of comfort in the natural world being reflected. Life goes on and here we pause to remember.

Yesterday, I met up with a friend who is Jewish and she shared how her oldest grandson just celebrated his bar mitzvah. Such pride as she shared the particiulars of this celebration. I also reread Stacey’s slice about her daughter’s bat mitzvah. She shared many reasons why reading hebrew is such a challenge. And I looked again at these photos I took 3000 miles away of a sacred space created to remember those who did live 75 years ago. But then an evil war took their lives, just because of their chosen way to worship.

Read more about the memorial which opened on 9/15/2021 HERE.

Amsterdam by the Numbers

3844 miles each way
2 planes going and 1 on the return
3 Ubers + bus + train + 1000s of steps through secrucity, board patrol to each planes’ gate

VISITING my 1st granddaughter
#14 and up a steep flight of 22-steps to our 1-bedroom AirB&B
4 block walk + Bus #17 + 2 block walk to #28 (Aden’s home!)
1 tap of my credit card to get on and 1 tap to get off
1 takeout meal enjoyed together (2 rice tables) and 1 night babysitting so new parents could enjoy a date
1 walk to the park on 1 sunny Saturday
Many hours spent holding and many more spent watching Aden rest so peacefully

EXPLORING my 1st granddaughter’s city
6 cloudy days, 1 day of blizzard-like snow and 1 sunny day
8 mornings of walking and finding a coffee shop for breakfast (0 Starbuck visits)
1 science museum (Nemo), 1 art gallery (Stedeljk), 1 boat tour, 1 outdoor market
A few buses and a few trams taken to navigate the city
But mostly walking many steps (15K+ a day) crossing many canals along the way

Aden and Aden’s home – so worth the visit!

Now that I am back home, I’m counting the days until I can visit her and her city again.
I hope it is soon!!

Shopping Day

When my husband and I travel, we have a habit of making the last day of a trip “shopping day”. So yesterday, we took a tram ride to the Albert Cuyp Street Market with our list. I wanted a few souvenir tote bags embossed with Amsterdam logos and a few tins of stroopwafels to take back home. And we wanted to get more gift for our granddaughter. On this sunny Saturday, this market was the perfect space to be. I purchased all on my list, plus we enjoyed both poffertjes (10 tiny little pancakes) and a nutella stroopwafel. Yummy!

1 – photo taken from the tram of the museum we toured yesterday during a windy, snowy day. 2 – tough-faced pofferjes maker 3 – stoopwafel maker 4 – Aden enjoying her new Dutch bunny!

The Stair

On our boat tour* our captain, Dom, short for Dominque, explained with in her South African accent,

“Have you experienced the stairs in these Amsterdam homes yet? I call them ladders and I hold on to the railing on either side, white knuckled.”

She had stopped the boat so we could get a good look at a row of typical Amsterdam row houses. All in this row were a door and one window wide. She further explained how back in the 16th century, you paid a tax by how wide your house was. To get around this, the stair from floor to floor became steep to take up less space inside and to allow for more living space.

“Notice the hook at the top of the gable. That is still used today to lift furniture to the top floors and then it’s pulled into the floor space through the wide window.”

The things we do to get around paying more taxes! We rented an AirB&B apartment on the first floor. Back home I’d call this the 2nd floor as there is a storefront space on the ground floor. Leaving and returning each day, I get to take the “ladder”. I hold to the railing on either side tightly. My shoes touch each tread at a slant because the width of each step is only 3 inches. Maybe after biking to and from work, this extra climb for one’s legs is no big deal. Personally, I won’t miss the steep climb when I leave on Sunday.

* I recommend Those Dam Boat Guys if you’re in Amsterdam and want a small (up to 8 person), personal and informative boat tour. Dom was a great captian!!

I Spy in Amsterdam

How many different kinds of transprotation do you spy from these Amsterdam photos?

When my husband and I arrived in Amsterdam, we took a taxi to our AirB&B in a part of the city called Jordaan, between the center of town to the east and when my daughter lives in Bos en Lommer to the west. We never considered renting a car as it is a walkable city and has public transportation. I’ve learned lots about being a pedestrican in this city this week.

  1. Stay alert! As I head outside each day, I ensure I am walking in the part of the sidewalk meant for pedestrians. This city also has a bike lane, a car lane and on some streets, a bus lane and a tram lane. When crossing a street, I look left and right a few times to ensure I can cross without encountering a biker, a car or van, or the tram. (So different from strolling in my neighborhood at home!)
  2. When waiting for the bus (like the #21 I take to visit my granddaughter), as it approaches the bus stop, be sure to give a wave to show you want it to stop and pick you up. I learned this the hard way the first time taking the bus! My smile at seeing the long blue double bus approaching quickly frowned as it just zipped passed without stopping. Luckily, the buses run every 7 minutes. (So different from the bus stop in my neighborhood. If the driver sees a person waiting, they stop.)
  3. People of all ages and all sizes ride using wheels and the water. Before this trip, I heard there was a bike culture in this country. WOW! There really is. Bikes of all sizes with a variety of clever basket-types abound. Unlike Venice, cars move on the streets and canal bridges, too. Most of the cars are electric. Many are super-small. So many people on the move! (The same as in my neighborhood but the medium-size gas-guzzling car rules back home.)

This week, I am happy to be a pedestrian in a new city. I’ll stay alert. I’ll wave down my bus. I don’t think I’ll give biking a try. Instead, I’ll continue to spy all the different, unique, wheeled vehicles passing me by.


I have the priviledge of taking this week off from my job as a teacher to visit the city of Amsterdam for the first time and also meeting my first grandchild – Aden Sophie. She turned 2-weeks old today (on “lucky” March 7) as snow flurries fell throughout the day.

I’m traveling with my architect husband. Over the years, we have explored many cities together. Some in the USA – DC, Charlottesville, Baltimore, New York, Connecticutt, Charleston, Savannah, Chicago, LA, Palm Springs, Santa Fe…Many more outside of the USA – Venice, Rome, Florence, Seina, Bologna, Madrid, Merida, Granada, Cordoba, Bilboa, Barcelona, Tulum, Valladolid, Paris, Marsailles, Toulouse…

One thing, when you travel with an architect, is that time is spent walking, climbing steps to get higher views. Then time spent observing and appreciating the build environment. And LOTS of photos are snapped of the surroundings, the buidlings and the details. Photos range from the city skyline to a front door to a doorknob.

The same is happening on this trip. As we wander the many Amsterdam canal paths (being sure to stay on the predestrian path and not the bike or car or tram paths), I’m noticing a unique building type that has been standing since the 1600s and 1700s. Today, cars, bikes, and trams whiz past while my husband and I stop to see the details in each fascade and snap many photos to remember this city, Aden’s new home. Here are a few of my photos.

Do you have a favorite city? When did you visit last? Any photos?!


Back in February, as I awaited my granddaughter’s her arrival, I wrote HERE about how fun it would be for her to arrive on Feb. 3, 2023. (2-3-23) That same day, my daughter explained how dates are written in Amsterdam –> day / month / year.

Today – March 2, 2023 – is written like this in Amsterdam –> 2-3-23.
Today – March 2, 2023 – is also the day I am flying to Amsterdam!!
A week ago – Feb. 22, 2023 (2-22 or 22-2) I awoke to a text from Amsterdam saying my granddaughter, Aden, had arrived the day before (21-2-23-written the Dutch way) I wrote about her HERE!

I’m excited to fly today, March 2, 2023 and when I think of the date the way the Dutch do, I feel it is a lucky date! (2-3-23)
I look forward to sharing this story with my granddaughter, Aden. All about how lucky I felt on 2-3-23 to fly across the Atlantic Ocean to meet her for the first time!