Wednesday morning we got up early.. very early to head to the airport. Our flight to Amsterdam was at 8am. It takes less than an hour to get there, so with the one hour time change we arrived at our hostel a little after 11 in the morning. I opted for the private room after having read many horror reviews about hostels in the city. We were too early to check in so we tossed our bags in a locker and set out to find our way around.
We wandered over to the main street and found a nice Italian restaurant serving a cheap full English breakfast - yes this was our first meal in Holland! Go figure! But we were starved and it was fast and of course the price was right. We finished just in time to head to the meeting point for the free walking tour so we could really get our bearings of the city. I love it when these tours are offered, great way to get adjusted and map out all the main attractions to check out later. Our tour guide was great and knew a lot about the history of the city, which was very interesting.
After the tour we checked in to our room and were pleased to see that I had chosen well. Our private room was 'cozy' but nice and clean. We unpacked some of our things, shared a burger at the hostel bar and went for a night stroll before heading to bed early. The early morning and 4 hour walking tour had taken its toll on us.
Day 2 we had our delicious hostel breakfast - cereal, granola, yogurt, bread, jam, cheese, meats... - and went straight to the Anne Frank house. We knew that no matter when we decided to go we would have to wait in line so we decided to do it first thing. The line was quite long, but took just under an hour which wasn't too bad. This museum is a must see for everyone. It is very moving seeing this small place where eight people had to hide for over two years. After they were given up and removed from their hiding place, the Nazis came in and emptied the entire house. For this reason Otto Frank requested that it not be refurnished. Even without furniture it is obvious how small the place is, and it is hard to imagine so many people sharing such small quarters. They have saved parts of the original walls with growth charts belonging to the girls and posters that Anne had pasted up as decoration. Throughout the house there were excerpts from Anne's diary too. As you exit the house you come into a museum with information about each member of the house, the camps and video interviews with Anne's friend and her father. It is very moving and very hard to really understand and take in the terrible things that went on in the time.
After the museum we had some of the famous french fries that are sold all over town and they were delicious! We had planned to do a bike tour that day, but there were some ominous looking clouds and we didn't want to test our luck! So we jumped on a canal tour for an hour and cruised around learning more about the city. The rest of the day was rather relaxed just wandering the town and enjoying the beautiful scenery. We even found a flea market where we each bought some old tins as our Holland souvenirs. We had been looking at tours to do the following day to get out of the city and see some of the countryside. We were having trouble deciding which one to do because they all sounded fairly similar and were fairly high priced. Then as I flipped through I noticed some ads for the places that we wanted to see (cheese and clog museum) and noticed that the ads said Free Admission. I though - what the...? The tours all boasted 'Admission Included' like they were giving you some sort of deal. This did not sit with me. I figured, I'm a pretty competent person, how hard can it be to find this place? We asked the hostel guy, who was very excited to have something to Google to pass his time, and we discovered that this place was about a 40 minute bus ride away and the bus left every half hour. Sounds good to me!
|Nothing beats wine on a terrace beside a canal!|