Travel Day 8 – Amsterdam

I had one full day in Amsterdam and this was it. I bought an 11am ticket to the Van Gogh museum online, and the walk was about a half hour. Knowing I would stop a billion times on the way to shoot pictures and get lost, I left around 10.

I can’t say I have a full grasp of how the traffic between pedestrians, cyclists and cars work, but being from Boston, I know how to be alert for crazy traffic. I was happy to never have a bicycle bell rung at me for being in the path of one.

I also never figured out how to find a coffee shop (meaning Starbucks, but local) to sit, relax, and have a cappuccino. Here, a coffee shop is somewhere you can hang out and smoke/consume cannabis. Then there are cafe bars, which are actually just bars. At least that seems to be the case. Clearly I should have googled the proper term for what is to me, a coffee shop (I vaguely recall our tour guide mentioning it but  clearly glazed over in that moment). I never did really find one. Plenty of restaurants, but no coffee shops.

After the Van Gogh Museum I did a lot of meandering, making my way to the Foodhaellen for lunch. I was hoping for lots of Dutch choices (read; croquettes) but it was really just a hipster-fest. I did find a nice, tiny Iberian ham sandwich which suited me just fine. After over-eating in Croatia, it felt nice to just ave snacks for the most part. I left there and continued to meander until my reserved start time at The Ann Frank Haus. During my meandering I saw a kiosk on a pretty bridge. On its side, there were pictures of fried dough. I got powdered sugar all over me and have zero regrets.

The Ann Frank Haus was far more moving that I expected it to be. Not that it isn’t moving. It’s tragic. I just mean I didn’t expect to feel so effected personally. The museum is done beautifully. It’s dark and calm, cleanly laid-out and the number of photos and memorabilia that survived is really impressive. In one room, where Anne slept, magazine cut-outs of movie stars that her father glued to the walls for her remained there. On another wall were pencil lines marking Ann and Margot’s height progress over their time in hiding. It was a strange feeling to pass a light switch she likely touched, and to think about what she and so many others went through and know that you will never truly know what it was like.

Amsterdam is a beautiful place. I would have loved to hang out longer, but alas, time to head home (and also, for the sake of my wallet and waist-line it’s best I be on my way home).


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