My friend and I started out our trip in Amsterdam. We are definitely not the target audience of Amsterdam, as neither of us had much interest in smoking pot or doing anything in the Red Light district besides gawking during the very safe daylight. Nor did we visit any of the more famous art museums. Regardless, we still had fun, even though it rained a lot.
We arrived first to discover that Dutch people seem to drink tea in clear glass mugs. And you add the teabag into the hot water rather than pouring the water over the teabag. I kept seeing this happen, and even tried it myself (we needed tea after finding the hotel in the rain!).
The narrow houses lean a lot but are still ridiculously cute. The older ones all still stand on wooden pillars. They have to carefully monitor the canal levels to prevent the wood from rotting away – when it starts, the houses lean, and they have to be shored up with other materials.
Did you know many of them used to be warehouses? Now, instead of hauling goods, they use the little hooks on top to haul furniture through windows:
By far, though, the best part, if you can call it best, of Amsterdam was visiting the Anne Frank House. I don’t have any pictures of the experience, aside from a very dark one of the exterior of the building:
That is the warehouse / office that the Frank family hid in over two years. Like most young girls (and probably boys), I read Anne’s diary, more than once, and it’s something that has stayed with me all of my life, and which I’m sure will stay with me for the rest of it too. Seeing the rooms where she walked, the pictures she posted on her walls to cheer up, and pages that she wrote while in hiding was incredibly moving and memorable.
The museum compiles information about Anne’s life, living conditions in hiding, videos from survivors and friends and Otto Frank himself, and actual items from the period. It also ends in a fantastic bookstore. If you go to Amsterdam, you simply can’t miss it. We spent three days there in total and that was definitely the most significant and memorable part of the city for me.
I probably won’t go to Amsterdam again, as I felt like we saw everything we wanted to really, but I’m really glad we stopped there. My favorite, though, was Bruges, which is the next stop for next week!