Amsterdam: 10/6-10/7

Arrived around 7 pm on Friday. It was a long 10 hour trip. We dropped off our luggage and ventured out into the drizzling 50 degree weather. The thing I noticed about Amsterdam, though, is that it is very windy. So 50 degrees can quickly turn into a brisk 40. Our tour guide gave us a quick round of the city from the little Meininger hotel to the Red Light District and the Dam at the center of the city. Amsterdam is shaped like a bullseye with a bustling city surrounded by water. There are many bridges and ports that are covered by roads, bike paths, and walking paths. Although the people walk quite slow, they are very kind. It’s a “get what you give” culture around the Netherlands. We ended our night after walking around and seeing the lit up lively streets of the city. The next morning we set out on a rainy day adventure to the city of Edam and Volendam. Edam was a quaint little city with a few small specialty shops. Cheese, chocolate, and clogs. Volendam, also a city with a harbor that attracted different sailors from across the world, seemed like something that comes to mind when you think of “Dutch Town mixed with harbor town.” We saw a cheese museum and I bought more postcards. We then traveled back to Amsterdam to explore. Our tour guide managed to slide in 10 extra tickets to the Anne Frank house for €10 each. The memorial was such an empowering memory for me. I was taken through the house of 8 members of the secret annix and the hidden bookcase that hid them above a warehouse. We were led through each of the rooms that the 8 used, with a memorial at the end showing how four members of the Frank house died throughout the holocaust and a remembrance from Otto, who had survived. It was empowering to see a woman who had documented her dreams into a journal of the war around her. Her vision was clear despite that she couldn’t physically move between the hours of 8:30am and evening. Even the slightest crack in the floor would have them caught. I bought a postcard of Anne’s room because I thought that was where she wrote most of her journal and created most of her dreams of being a writer. Her dad had brought her favorite articles and collections with him when they had to escape into hiding. With some glue, she added some of her favorite things to her wall for decoration. Wanting to see the Van Gogh museum, we ventured south of the city. There was a violin performance under the Rijksmuseum on the way to I amsterdam that was abnormally beautiful and it felt like it touched my soul. We made our way over to the sign and it was like the tourists were swarming like flies. I found a nice little bench close to the sign and took some pictures of people taking pictures of people. We tried to make our way into the Van Gogh museum but we were 30 minutes late. Finding a hop in hop off canal tour boat was a nice €10 ticket back to the center of the city since my feet were a little sore and soaking wet. I would love to come back sometime and see what it’s like in the summer. We got french fries at the famous manneken pis before heading into the sex museum. The sex museum was separated into different rooms based on time period and type of art. It was a mix of pictures, red light district history, and sex history. It was very touristy but also an experience in which I learned a lot about myself. We got an uber back to the hotel and tucked myself into bed.