day 3: amsterdam

Amsterdam Travel Blog

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oh amsterdam. it's quite possible this is my new favorite city, and after spending a day there, i find myself wondering why we didn't allot more time for it.

we were up early, which gets more difficult with each passing day, and once again made our way to the train station (not to be confused with tram, bus, or metro), and settled in for our three hour journey. along the way we each attempted to grab more much needed sleep, but the random activity on the train, the draft from the window, the distractions passing us by, were enough to make it difficult. that's not to say the train ride wasn't pleasant--it was fine, for a three hour train ride when you are absolutely exhausted.

we arrived at the bustling amsterdam train station and quickly figured out the tram system--or at least, mostly figured it out. we got on a train and headed to the first stop of the day--the rijksmuseum (pronounced hikes-museum). the line was out the door, which was discouraging, but we were pleased to find that they were handing out hot chocolate to warm up the wait. despite being more water than chocolate, it was nice to have something hot in us.

our wait wasn't too painful, and we spent a couple of hours wandering through the hallways. they had an impressive variety, although i can't honestly say that any of it thrilled me--i thought it was a good museum . after that museum, we headed across the street to the van gogh (pronounced van-hock) museum. it was an impressive collection of his works, and though i did not love most of what i saw, deb did, and erin enjoyed it as well.

we grabbed lunch at the van gogh cafe after wandering around for awhile trying to find a place to have lunch. and just so you know, the van gogh cafe, not next to the van gogh museum. i had one of the better meals of the trip--a club sandwich. i'm not sure why, but prior to that, lunch and dinners had not really been hitting the spot. granted, the other other food we've had has been divine. the chocolate. the waffles. the chocolate.

after lunch we decided to wander our way through the city and eventually make our way to the anne frank house. it didn't take long before deb and i were debating about whether or not we could actually move to amsterdam. we loved it.

we loved the atmosphere, the landscape, and the people. we loved the canals, and the buildings, and the tiny cars. it is a city that has all of the culture and diversity of a large city, and all the charm of a small one. it is also a city of surprises. around every corner there is something new to find delight in.

one of our bigger discoveries of the day was that bikers rule amsterdam. motorists and pedestrians are seemingly second rate citizens, and my only complaint is that it is far too easy to find yourself in the middle of a bicycle stampede before you know what hit you. ask deb if you don't believe me!

eventually, after enjoying an amazing day in amsterdam, we ended up at the anne frank house. considering the little they had to work with (all the furniture had been removed after the war), i was impressed at what a nice job they ('they' meaning whoever is making money off this whole anne frank gig)had done in creating a worthwhile experience, or connection to the events that so many of us have read about. throughout the various rooms, videos had been carefully put together, and drawings and photos helped us visualize what the rooms would have looked like. i think erin, deb, and i were all a little surprised that the space the frank's and others occupied for the two year period was larger than we expected. that's not to say that it was large, or to minimize the sacrifices and challenges, but based on what we had read, we assumed it would be even smaller. i think we were all expecting nothing larger than a closet.

unfortunately, after finishing the anne frank tour, we were out of time in amsterdam. we never had the opportunity to visit the red light district, which we (erin and i) had so eagerly anticipated. and i think it's fair to say that i will be back at some point. i liked the city too much to only have one day there. it surprised me a little bit actually. i wanted to visit primarily for novelty's sake. after all, what's funnier than a mormon girl in a bar she can legally buy and smoke marijuana in? but i didn't expect to love the city for the city's sake. life is full of surprises.

we headed back to the train station and left for brussels at about 7:30pm. We arrived at about 10:30pm, grabbed a cab home and called it a night. after all, we have to be up early tomorrow for our paris adventure!
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photo by: pearcetoyou