If I could have any toilet in the world, this would be the one I would want. Unfortunately it belongs to someone else.
Three years ago, when I went to Holland the first time, my friend Jane Tipping and I decided one day to go to the medieval town of Amersfoort to go shopping. Jane had heard it was great place to shop and she finally had someone to go with!
The tall narrow houses in Amsersfoort, which form the perimeter of the town, were built from a fortification wall that surrounded the town in the 1300's. In the 1600's another wall was built around the inner one as the town was growing rapidly and the inner one was used as the foundation for the Muurhuizen, or wall houses.
We hadn't been there but about ten minutes and were walking down the narrow street on the perimeter of the town when we were stopped by an old man who insisted we come into his house and see what the buildings look like from the inside. I think his name was Fritz (or Frans?)...
We were mildly uneasy about going into a persistent old man's home- but he WAS persistent and we were ready for an adventure so in we went! He had a crazy little place that was FULL of knick knacks- but when I first walked in the house I looked around a corner and found myself looking in the bathroom at the toilet pictured above. I know that usually a toilet is not the first sign that you are in the right place unless you have to pee really badly, but I was there to teach a sound healing workshop. Sound and music were very much my focus, as they tend to be most days and there was this wild musical toilet. I couldn't believe it. I did indeed take it as a sign from the gods that we were in exactly the perfect place!
It turned out, needless to say, that he was a musician- a stand-up bass player- and that his whole family had all been musicians. His father had been a musician- I think maybe his mother had been a singer and his sons were both musicians. He had a picture of his father as a very young man with a group of musicians- maybe an orchestra or something. I don't remember the details but it was all just great, funny and as magical and synchronistic as anything in my life. I had the feeling I had just walked into some crazy, dreamlike, divinely orchestrated scene that I couldn't possibly have dreamed up on my own!
He tried to get us to go up the very narrow stairs to see the upstairs but we managed to escape at that point. The picture below is Jane looking slightly unnerved and clearly ready to leave at this point! I have often wondered whether it was just a weird synchronistic event or if he actually just hangs out outside of his house accosting every obvious tourist and stranger that walks by. Was he lonely or was he just an old man who was totally turned on by the heritage of his town and his family and wanted to share it? Who knows, but I am leaving for Holland on Tuesday and my guess is that very soon Jane and I will be headed for another shopping spree in Amersfoort (we found some great clothes there the last time!) and I am definitely wondering whether we will run into Fritz and his musical toilet again.