Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Europe 2014 - Amsterdam, The Netherlands

For the next part of our adventure, we chose to fly to Amsterdam rather than take the Eurostar.
Flying put us there in a couple of hours, but the train would take a lot longer and we only had an afternoon in the city.

Donald, Ivan, Hannah and I had all been before in August or September 2002.
When we moved to England we went to the US Embassy in Amsterdam to take care of some final Visa paperwork.
Uncle Daniel was working in Holland at the time and met us for dinner.
It's also the place where we found out that our family of four was going to be a family of five!
(so technically Jenelle was there too!)
This time around though, Hannah would remember more and I would be just a LITTLE less distracted!

We took a train from Schiphol Airport to Centraal Station.
What a beautiful station!
 photo by Hannah
We locked our bags in the luggage storage facility and then got a tram into town to see the Anne Frank House and Museum.
I finally deciphered the sign.
"Every man wants a six pack."
"Men know why"

Well I wish I could read the very fine print because then maybe I could find out why too!!

We took a tram to the Westermarkt stop and made our way to Prinsengracht (I think it means Princes Canal) where the Anne Frank Museum and House was located.
photo by Hannah
I had tried to purchase tickets in advance that let you skip the line, but they were sold out, so we waited in a very long line.
It goes all the way up and to the right - I'd say we were there for about 45 minutes to an hour.
 So as we rounded the corner I took pictures of the building...
It wasn't until later that I realized that I took a photo of only the museum.
When you go inside the main entrance of the museum, you are led into what was the annex that the Frank family stayed in.
The trouble is, once you are inside the museum, it is hard to determine where you are...what direction you are facing, etc.
Once I got home and realized that my photos of the exterior weren't really the right ones, I was crushed.
I know it shouldn't matter, but the experience of being in this home and place where this amazing young girl was hiding was SO powerful!
I wanted my photos to represent the time there as best as they could.
Oh well...
I did find a photo online.
(credit goes to
The museum is to the far right and the house and annex are third from the right.
Hannah and I had both read Anne Frank's Diary and had seen the movie as well.
(If you haven't read her diary, go and do it now!)
It is short, but powerful, wise, insightful and prophetic!
After seeing this place, I read it again while we were still on our trip.

I was in awe during our tour, but became emotional when we walked through her room.
There were, on the walls, the exact pictures that she had hung - as any teenager would do - of people and things that made her happy.
They had protected those portions of the wall with plexiglass and knowing that it was original was overwhelming!
She was Hannah's age...
She died when she was 15 years old - less than a month before the British liberated her concentration camp.
Her father was the sole survivor of their family and was able to have her diary published.
"To build up a future, you have to know the past." - Otto Frank

Just walking around the city is a pleasure.
The canals and the architecture of Amsterdam are so beautiful!
I really like this city.
I would go back and back and back.

In these next pictures you can see that the homes have hooks at the top to use when large heavy items need to be lifted to the upper levels.
Just look at the gorgeous shutters on this home!

And of course...bikes!
I remember seeing them when we came before.
This picture doesn't begin to illustrate the amount of bikes you see.
And you had better be mindful of where you are walking.
These people aren't messing around on their bikes and you will be run over.
Not kidding.

Before we left for our room that evening, we had to have some patat or vlaamse frites.
Delcious salty french fries!
They come with a sauce of your choice - a big blob of it - and of course I chose something spicy!
Oh these were soooo good!

So after our time in the city, we took a bus to our next host's home just outside of the city limits.
What a difference after our first overnight stay in London.
Our host was Marta and we loved her!
(Hi Marta!!)
Seriously, she felt like an old friend and we were so comfortable in her house.
She had sweet pets that liked to hang out with us...especially her lovely little cat Bruxa!
Too bad Bruxa didn't catch mosquitos though...
It was hot and humid in Amsterdam and the next morning poor Hannah counted about 20 bites!

We had stopped at a small shop in the station on our way and bought "dinner".
This was mine.
An unusual combination, but a perfect way to end the day!

We left the next morning very content after eating a delicious breakfast that Marta made for us.
Cheese, meat, eggs, yogurt, bread, juice and coffee!
Took a bus back to the Centraal Station and caught our first of MANY trains!

Next stop:  Cologne, Germany

1 comment:

  1. Oh. My. Gosh. Those fries! I had nearly forgotten about those delicious Amsterdam fries. Your description of Anne Frank, her "house", and her experiences are quite poetic. But I am confused. You are in Amsterdam, right? Should you and Hannah be remembering more or less? ;)