You’ll be expecting tales of an excellent sound sleep and a lovely relaxed breakfast under the awning and to a certain extent you’d be right. What you will not have expected would be us getting woken up at 3 a.m. by the rain clattering down on the roof of the caravan. We did however nod off again quickly and it was past 8.30 when we rolled from our bed and made a cup of tea.

While I prepared sandwiches for our lunch, Mary had a shower and straightened her hair. Great teamwork! We drove back to Velsen Zuid and took the fabulously fast flying ferry down to Amsterdam and took in some more of the sights, just wandering through the streets watching life passing around us. As it was Saturday there seemed to be a lot more people and bicycles zipping about. We certainly noticed a strong sweet smell in the air down the narrower vennels of the old town and I knew it must be Marijuanha (because a bad boy once described it to me!)

At 4 p.m. we were outside the famous Ann Frank’s house and thankfully able to avoid the ten mile queue of people waiting to get in, my gratitude obvious to my clever wife who had had the forethought to purchase the entry tickets online on Thursday evening. Thank you, Mary. The visit was very interesting but not nearly as harrowing as we had anticipated, although the walk through the Secret Annexe where Ann remained hidden for so long with family and friends was a sobering experience. The quotes from her diaries brought home how she had longed to be free, go outside into the fresh air and escape from the hell that was all around them. For a young girl she was very astute in her assessment of the evil being perpetrated by the Nazis. I personally felt angry on 2 counts: 1 – that some swine betrayed them all to the Germans and 2 – that the poor girl died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp only a month before liberation.

On our way back to the quay we encountered what must be close to the best way of getting round Amsterdam while simultaneously getting rat-arsed with your mates. It’s called the Beer-Bikes and involves a group of friends sitting either side of a bar while peddling through the town. Absolutely brilliant!

After our visit we hopped back on the fast ferry and were home in about 25 minutes. We intend to get up early tomorrow as we have to leave for Antwerp by 10.30 once we have dismantled the awning, packed everything away and hitched up to the car. And Mary will have her hair to straighten!

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