When I first thought of Amsterdam my mind immediately went to the canals and the architecture. Little did I know that I would leave simply amazed at the number of bikes.
We left London and drove down to the white cliffs of Dover. They were spectacular! From there we caught a ferry across the English Channel. Once we hit the mainland my cultural experience hit a new level. For the first time, I couldn’t speak the language or read the signs. I was so excited though! This is going to be one heck of a learning experience. Fortunately, most of the people speak English and they often have the English translation on signs and pamphlets.
After a long bus ride from France through Belgium and on to the Netherlands, we arrived in Amsterdam. Fortunately for me the bus rides don’t seem very long because the bus is always so entertaining. It was pretty late when we got there, so we quickly grabbed some dinner at the little Italian restaurant down the street from our hotel and headed to bed. We definitely didn’t want to be out too late in Amsterdam and we knew we had an early business visit in the morning.
Our business visit was to FloraHolland. It is the flower auction that Holland is so famous for. It was way cool to see and I left amazed at the logistics. I honestly don’t know how they do it! Plus, I really loved the flowers.
Our bus driver dropped us off at the central station of Amsterdam. From there we walked down into the Red Light District. It was an eye opening experience during the day, but I hate imagining what it turns into at night. What a sad life. It made me incredibly grateful for the life I have.
We walked through some very beautiful cathedrals and then ventured through the city. We took a break to get our next McFlurry…Rolo! It was so good! After a few hours of wandering, we started back in the direction we thought was the Anne Frank house. Little did we know that we were walking in entirely the wrong direction. That was our first funny, lost experience and I’m sure there will be more to come.
We finally made it to the Anne Frank house and had a really good experience. It was interesting to walk through the house she hid in for so many years. I cannot imagine living in those conditions of constant fear. It made me want to go back and read her diary again. I also left with a renewed desire to never let such horrible discrimination happen again.
After the Anne Frank house we went down to the Van Gough Museum. I actually really liked this museum. I have a new found appreciation for Van Gough. I especially loved his paintings of landscapes. There were also paintings from artists who influenced him. I really liked the Monet paintings.
For dinner we ate at the Hard Rock Café. It was nice to eat a hearty American meal and to be loud. I didn’t have to worry about all of us being loud and obnoxious Americans – which is especially easy to do when you have a group of college students together. And my food was wonderful! I had a delicious barbeque pulled pork sandwich.
After dinner we went on a sunset canal tour, which was really awesome! The tour gave us a good overview of the city and I really loved seeing all of the bridges lit up. It made for a good end of our trip to Amsterdam.