Dates: 23rd of June – 26th of June
I am back with another post about my travels around Europe and the United Kingdom. So far I have been to London, Paris and now Amsterdam! I only got three nights in the city, so not very long, but enough to go bike riding and see the Anne Frank House.
We left Paris via train to go to Amsterdam. The journey was only around three hours and the seats on this particular train were pretty comfortable, so it was a great experience. It is quite amazing to me that to travel by train to a different country in Europe, all you need is a ticket. You don’t need to go through security and no one even checks your ticket before you board! They only check it when you’re on the train.
It has been getting warm in Europe, so when we arrived at our hotel, we were hot from the walk there, which was around thirty minutes. I may have taken us to the wrong hotel first…but luckily the actual hotel wasn’t too far away. We were also starving considering we skipped lunch. Skipping a meal has been a common occurrence while travelling because it isn’t always easy finding somewhere to eat or thinking ahead to the next meal. Although we try to eat cheaply, we settled on the Hard Rock Cafe because we were starving. And yes, it was very expensive! Probably one of the best meals I’ve had, though.
This was our first full day in Amsterdam. I really wanted to go for a bike ride because I’d heard the city has good bike lanes. After experiencing them, however, I would have to disagree… They are far too congested in the areas I saw and seem dangerous. No one rides with a helmet. I also don’t like how people on bikes appear like they have superiority over pedestrians. I almost got hit on several occasions because I figured I would have right of way over a bike but then they ended up ringing their bell at me to move! Rude! (Disclaimer: The bike culture in Amsterdam is still objectively very good compared to other parts of the world.)
Seeing as I realised I wouldn’t be able to navigate the streets of Amsterdam very well, we only went bike riding around Vondelpark. It’s a very pretty park and so many people on bikes ride around it.
On our final full day in Amsterdam, we walked nearby our hotel to the museums and decided to go to the Van Gough Museum. There are several other museums in the area, but we felt this art museum would be most interesting to us. There were about three floors of his paintings and we were able to spend an hour looking at them, even at our impatient speed. I also bought this really pretty print of some almond blossoms.
Later in the day, we went to the Anne Frank House. If you are planning on going, make sure to either book online about two or three months in advance or check early in the morning of the day you want to go to see if there’s any tickets online. The only way to buy tickets is online.
Learning more about Anne Frank life when she lived in hiding from the nazis was a surreal and heartbreaking experience. It takes about an hour to go around the house/museum, and everyone gets a little radio to listen with. The tour includes information about Anne Frank and her family, seeing the three small rooms where she lived for two years, and a look at her diaries. Seeing the house in person makes the story of this young girl much more real than when I read her book at least ten years ago.
I then convinced my mum to go to a Dutch restaurant called ‘Hollands Hap Hmm’. This was one of the best meals so far! It was a (vegetarian) schnitzel, potatoes and vegetables, and we also got a sundae. It probably doesn’t sound spectacular, but it felt home cooked, which was a nice change from unhealthy vacation food.
Since arriving two weeks ago, all I’ve managed to read is one book. Thankfully, I really enjoyed it. I read Fingersmith by Sarah Waters and gave it four stars. I liked Waters’ writing, except for her tendancy to write too much detail, making the story drag on for 100 pages too many. I really connected with Maud and Susan’s relationship, and especially enjoyed the first part of the novel. There are three parts in total, and I felt parts two and three weren’t as captivating as the first. Still, the twists were shocking – I wasn’t expecting them at all.
And those were my short three days in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It is a really pretty city and everyone there is quite friendly. The only thing I would watch out for are the bikes. The transport is easy to navigate – though I only used the trams – and English is basically a second language, so there’s not really any need to learn any Dutch words! It’s still nice to know, i.e. thank you = dank je.
Next, I am going to Berlin (well, I’m already here) and then Munich.