Sunday, September 6th 2015
With breakfast consumed, we began our journey to the Anne Frank House. Following our fabulous tour director, the 23 of us mastered the switch from metro to tram and successfully made it to Prinsengracht 263. It’s a good thing we had tickets beforehand because even on a Sunday there was a line to the street!
The inside was like walking through a ghost town of tragic history. Otto Frank didn’t want furniture in the hideout so the rooms are bare. The original bookcase that hid the annex door remains and Anne’s movie star pictures still hang on the walls of her room- but it’s so desolate.
In addition to the secret annex, there’s a museum extension recognizing the results of WWII. It was sad to see Anne’s diaries encased in glass and know she intended to publish a novel once the war was over. Surreal. It was hard for me to emotionally connect to empty rooms, but knowing I’ve now walked through them is something to reflect on for the rest of my life.
After the museum, we trickled outside for a walking tour of Amsterdam. The air was crisp and chilled- everything I’ve dreamed September to be. The buildings have such character and charm. The canals, something I had never experienced before, were so pretty to walk along and gaze at. Occasionally a boat would pass and I wondered what it’d be like to grow up seeing this all the time. I loved all the little bridges that crossed over the canals and how many trees I saw a midst the brick sidewalks and piles of bicycles.
We used little ear bud radios to hear our guide talk about landmarks as we strolled through the enchantment. We learned some names of the canals, why there are hooks at the top of the buildings, and even had time to check out that bench from The Fault in Our Stars. If you sit on the bench and look to the left, the picture below is what you see. It’s one of my favorite views.
We later made our way up the Singel canal by the flower market and took a quick break for snacks and coffee. Some of us trickled into one of the many cheese shops and tried samples. I had some coconut Gouda. Now that was something I never thought I’d experience.
Sam and I stopped into a baguette/bagel place for a Nutella fix on our way to Munttoren Tower. The man preparing our bagels was so sweet. We were in a hurry to meet up with our tour group and felt bad rushing him with our order. Our slow-paced culinary tendencies were not yet seasoned this early on in the trip. I would have liked to sit in there awhile and read a book like this man (image below). It was such a pleasant little area.
After a walk through a university campus and some lessons on the Red Light District, we had free time to grab lunch before our canal boat tour. Emily, Sam, Julianna, and I took our tour guide’s recommendation for a little lunchroom (De Drie Graefjes) off of the Grand square.
The breezes were picking up by the time we all met by the Royal Palace. We then trekked twenty minutes or so to our boat for a canal tour. With comfy seats, room to spread out, and the gentle lull of the boat, I’m pretty certain everyone took a nap for some duration of that canal cruise. It was so nice to sit after running allover the place.
After resting back at the hostel, it was time for some nighttime entertainment! Ever heard of Boom Chicago? Me either! It’s a Dutch improv group Kathy told us about that we decided to go see that night.
A cluster of us found our way from the metro to the tram and to the Anne Frank statue (our meeting point). And then the skies opened up. I’m sure we were humorous entertainment for the locals as we huddled together and crossed the street looking for shelter. I was thankful to be one of the people who brought an umbrella.
We had some free time before the show to wander around the area. With a group our size, it was better to trickle off into smaller clusters. Amanda, Amber, Julianna, Emily, Jordan-Alan, and I found our way to macarons and coffee.
Now let me just pause a minute here and say that that macaron was the most beautiful thing I ate in Amsterdam. Chocolade: my first European macaron. Just heavenly. It was soft with a cake-like shell. I could almost call it leathery. And the inside was a smooth, chocolaty wonder. It tasted nothing like the crunchy hallow things I’ve had in Arkansas.
Boom Chicago! was basically a live improv show like Whose Line. It was hilarious! Something about Dutch Batman will always be a part of me.
Our second day in Amsterdam was wonderful and exhausting. It all seemed to happen really fast but still remained long. It felt like multiple days instead of just one. If I had to summarize it though, I’d say this was the most magical day of the trip. We certainly learned a lot (more than I could retain, unfortunately). And we ended on a happy note- fully of late-night laughter. So much fun! I love you, Amsterdam.
Boom Clap | Charli XCX