Amserdam - Day 1 - walking tour
Amsterdam Travel Blog› entry 5 of 9 › view all entries
(I recently looked over this blog and noticed my entries for Amsterdam were never written! It is now almost 10 years since that trip and I have forgotten many of the details of this visit. These entries are written based on my photos and ticket stubs and maps. I’m sure I have a travel journal somewhere, but not sure where. I did find my map that I actually marked up with my route around the city! So, here we go…)
I took the night train from Munich to Amsterdam, arriving at 9 in the morning. I like the night trains because I like sleeping in the gently rocking cars. The cost is about the same as getting a decent hotel room, but this includes the travel! We arrived at the main train station, Centraal Station.
I then walked along some canals and made my way to the Anne Frank House. I enjoyed walking along the canals. They were lined with colorful houses and houseboats. It was still early and there was not really anyone in line. The museum had just opened when I arrived and I was behind a few people. You aren’t allowed to take photos there. There are some exhibits on the main floor, then you go up the narrow stairs behind the bookcase to visit the rooms in the secret annex that those 8 people inhabited for 2 years. The rooms are mostly bare and small. Some of the pictures that Anne had pasted in her room still remain. There are more exhibits after you leave the secret annex.
In case you don’t know the story, Anne Frank and her family were Jewish. They went into hiding with some others in the secret annex of the building of her father’s business when it became too dangerous for Jews in Amsterdam during World War II. They had the help of some of her father’s employees, providing them with food. Because the business still operated by day, they were not allowed to use the bathrooms, run water, or make any noise at all during working hours. The 8 people remained hidden there for over 2 years, until an unknown person betrayed them. Everyone was sent to the concentration camps.
I walked over to the Westerkerk on the next block. This is the church where Anne could hear the church bells ringing, but couldn’t see the church. The tower was under scaffolding, so I couldn’t see the church either. This church was white and bright inside, with the organ pipes on one wall. I went inside and sat down on a chair. I like to sit in churches to rest and take in the (usually) peacefully scenery. As I rested, I looked down and noticed the floor was actually grave markers! There are bodies under the floor! This is apparently common in these older churches, but it was a little creepy.
I continued walking back towards the center of Amsterdam. I walked through the Magna Plaza (shopping center) and walked by the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) and Royal Palace. The palace was closed for renovations. I was curious about the Red Light District, but again, being a woman traveling alone, I really didn’t feel safe going there after dark. I made my way there with plenty of daylight left. I walked along some canals and past the Waag before crossing a canal back into the Red Light District near the Oude Kerk (Old Church).
A friend highly recommend the Damrak Sex Museum and even Rick Steves mentioned that this one was the better of the two. I must say, I really enjoyed the museum! This one was more of a history through the ages, with photos and memorabilia.
Prostitution is legal in the Red Light District.
After eating, I continued walking towards Centraal Station. I passed Rembrantplein, with a statue of the artist Rembrant. I was passed by many, many bicycles.