In July, my family and I visited Amsterdam which was a charming little city with all its bikes, buildings, and boathouses. Everywhere we walked were these beautiful towering flowers growing from the cracks in the sidewalks.
About the bikes though, they are not so cute after 30 minutes of walking around town. Bikers have full reign of the roads and sidewalks. We would just be walking down the sidewalk of a one way street when a biker would just go around the traffic via the sidewalks (which are so small only one, maybe two, people can walk on it at a time) and we would get dinged at for being in their way. Even though almost all the roads are one way streets, bikers would enter from any direction.
Amsterdam has the most bikes of any city and over 3,000 bikes are pulled from the canals every three months. Everyone - businessmen in suits, grandmothers, kids - ride bikes around (without helmets I might add) while work trucks drive about a foot behind them. Umm no thank you!
There are no stop signs or lights so it’s very hard to determine when it’s ok to cross the street or not. So, we would just run across streets looking both ways frantically and hoping a biker wouldn’t angrily round a corner.
Putting that annoyance behind, there were still some things to make it worth the street anxiety, such as the Anne Frank house. Amazing. I highly recommend visiting the center. The tour starts in the building that Anne’s dad, Otto Frank, worked at before they went into hiding. Almost all of the rooms are explained, and sometimes set up, as their original purpose in the building in addition to holding information about the people that worked in the building.
The original bookcase that hid the house was on display, which was so cool to see plus it was handmade by Bep’s father, who worked with Otto. Bep worked in the building and aided the Franks by bringing them food and news from the outside world. The annex was bigger and smaller than I thought. Very Small for eight people to leave in 24/7 for over two years, but nice size rooms if it were just a European house. But I keep thinking there could have been better rooming arrangements...
When leaving the annex, we get to hear from people who knew Anne like her friends and dad. Also, there is a small scale house replica with furniture so we see what the annex would have looked like which made it more real. Otto requested for the annex to remain empty because that was how it was left after the Nazi’s raided their home.
We visited the Van Gogh museum as well which is probably one of the biggest art exhibits I have ever been to. I learned so much about Van Gogh as an artist and person, so definitely recommend checking it out.
As much I love doing things, I also love trying new food…Upon arriving to our rooms we noticed the most stunning sign on the TV table: complimentary. We were given complimentary water and waffle stroops. Waffle stroops soon became our favorite snack. They are two mini toasted waffles stuck together with honey. Sooooo delicious!
Then we found little shops making fresh waffle stroops with one side dipped in milk chocolate topped with your choice of marsh-mellows, caramel, Oreos, m&ms, etc.
Aside from waffle stroops, one restaurant recommendation that I’m passing on is Cafe di David. It’s great Italian food right across from the canal!
Also, I didn’t realize that there were so many canals throughout Amsterdam, sort of like Venice. There were lots of house-boats through the canal and every once in a while we could see through. These houses were very nice, and some of them were $1 million!
We even saw the tiniest house in Amsterdam (and probably Europe).