Europe by train: day 16. Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
We’re in Amsterdam and I’ve hit a travel wall. Amsterdam is a great city but it’s crowded. Yesterday we took a walk into the city center and I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. There was too much humans/bicycles/coffee/beer/drugs/bagels/shot glasses/dildos/scarves/you name it.
We have a hotel outside of the tourist district. There’s a park right next door where I go for my runs each morning. There are two really great bars across the street and a little café that serves delicious omelets for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch. They have homemade bread and free WIFI and the customers bring their dogs inside.
People keep speaking to us in Dutch. They think we’re one of them.
“I love our neighborhood,” I said to Brian yesterday afternoon as we sipped coffee in our café.
“It’s not really our neighborhood you know.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I almost yelled it.
I just won’t hear of such things.
Brian has to practically beg me to venture off of our street. I am reluctant, whiny. He may have used the words, “pain in the ass.” I refuse to go back to the center of Amsterdam. The tourist district of Amsterdam feels like a performance of Disneyland On Bike: Canal Edition. I cannot believe I am not in love with Amsterdam.
“Let’s just go across the street to our bar,” I say when Brian asks what I might like to do today.
He shakes his head. “Really? But we’ve been there every single day. And it’s not our bar.”
“Stop saying that! We’re here and it’s ours.”
So we go. Because beer.
On our first day in Amsterdam we went to the Anne Frank House. The museum is in the building where Anne and her family hid from the Germans during the Second World War. It’s where Anne wrote her famous diary. She and her family lived in an upstairs annex of the building. They hid for two years before being captured by the German Security Service. Anne died at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp only a month before the liberation.
Anne’s father, Otto, was the only member of the family to survive the war. He is the one who sought a publisher for Anne’s diaries. Anne wanted to be a writer and she dreamed of one day publishing her account of her time in hiding.
Visiting her home was haunting. The museum is powerful and moving. It was worth a venture into downtown Amsterdam.
I almost wish I hadn’t liked it so much because Brian is using it against me. “You liked the Anne Frank House,” he keeps saying. “Amsterdam is full of other things you’ll like too.”
I know he’s right, but our street is just so perfect. Why give up a good thing?
Tomorrow I have promised Brian a canal tour. It goes right through the heart of downtown Amsterdam. I’m hoping for another Anne Frank House-type success. No matter, it helps to know I can retreat back to our neighborhood, our home, for now anyway.
I didn’t see as much as I could have of Amsterdam. If you’re planning a trip to the city check out this blog for some great tips.
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