|Gino happy with his Heineken.|
The weather was in the mid 50's and sunny for the first 2 days and then was rainy and cloudy the last day. But comfortable enough to wear a light jacket. After checking into our hotel we decided to hit up the Anne Frank house. It's open until 9pm and we thought going late enough in the day would be less busy. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take any photos inside the house so I only have one of the outside. But, where Anne and her family stayed was actually kind of an addition on the back side of the house. They lived in a 2 floor area and it was alot bigger than I had expected. We were able to see her diary and her bedroom with pictures that she glued to the wall from magazines. At the end of the tour, there was a video of Otto Frank, Anne's Father, in 1960 walking through the house and annex again. He said that he knew his wife had died in the camps but didn't know where his children were, so after the war he posted an add in the newspaper with their descriptions etc. Soon after, he found out what had happened. It took him a few years to read Anne's diary and when he did he said he didn't realize how deep her thoughts really were and how much she knew and understood what was actually going on. One thing he learned about his daughters diary is that you never truly know your children. I'm glad we went to the house but it was pretty sad walking through and knowing what happened.
|The front part of the house was a buisness, built on the back of this building is where the Frank's stayed.|
The weather was beautiful on Wednesday so we decided this would be our busy day of sightseeing. We started the day off by walking the street market which was directly behind our hotel. It was full of fruit/veggie stands, clothing, jewlery, etc.
Of course I have to add a photo of our delicious pancakes! Gino had apple and I had ham and cheese.
After breakfast we headed to Vondelpark, basically the Central Park of Amsterdam. On our way to the park we ran into the "I Amsterdam" letters located in Museumplein, in front of the Rijksmuseum. An icon of the city.
Vondelpark was really beautiful and there were alot of people walking their dogs, having picnics, playing music, reading, etc. There were about 3 restuarants, a playground, bridges and fountains. What a cool thing to have in your backyard!
We walked through the park for an hour or so and then started our walk to the Red Light District. I loved walking down random streets with all the old skinny buildings and alleys, you could get lost! Amsterdam reminded me alot of Venice with all the canals and water everywhere but much busier and "city like".
Using your bike as your main form of transportation is very common. The streets all have a car lane, bike lane, and walking lane. I was more afraid of getting hit by a bike than by a car! If you heard a bike bell, you better jump out of the way. That took a couple scares to get used to. People are crazy with those bikes and they're literally parked all over the street in random areas.
|Shelves of liqueur behind the bar|
The tour took about 90 min. At the end, we were shuttled into a bar type room where the bartender gave a little presentation and demonstration of how to drink your beer. If you take a sip of Heineken from a tap beer, it will taste bitter because all your drinking is foam. Your supposed to drink a big gulp so that you can taste the beer.
On the last full day of our trip we decided we needed to see some tulips! We read about a garden/park called Keukenhof. It's located about 30 min outside of Amsterdam and famous for its spring flowers. We jumped on the bus near our hotel, and it took us to the airport where we picked up another bus to the gardens. The weather wasn't cooperating and it had been raining all morning on and off. When we got to Keukenhof the rain was more of a mist but it was pretty windy. We ended up buying ponchos in the gift shop with big tulips on the back. We were the only people under the age of 70 with ponchos on, but we embraced it!
The gardens were designed by the same architects as Vondelpark, that we visited on our first day. It was created over 60 years ago.
Of course you can't go to Holland without taking a picture of a windmill!
There were 2 greenhouses full from top to bottom with flowers of every color. It smelled amazing!
Our flight back to Norway wasn't until 8pm on Friday night so we had another full day in Amsterdam, which was great, but we were exhausted from all the walking we did in the past 3 days! We decided not to plan anything and to just explore the streets of Amsterdam. We had brunch at a cafe in the flower market which was really neat. Picture a normal street fair/market but with every stand selling flowers, plants, and seeds.
|The floating flower market|
We walked along the canals a bit and stumbled upon a book market as well! Alot of the books that were being sold were in English. Actually, we both said that we heard more English being spoken in Amsterdam than any other language. In the picture you can see men sitting on chairs in the middle of the market. Those were set up specifically for reading.
Amsterdam is a beautiful city with much more to do and see than I had thought! 3nights/4 days was perfect for us but I think you could do the trip in 2 nights/3 days if you wanted to. This has been a crazy year for us and we enjoyed every minute of what Europe had to offer. We fly back to Minnesota tomorrow (Mon) and are very excited to see friends and family and to sleep in our own home!
Hope you have a great Summer and I'll start back up with blogging next season/ August-ish!