“In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart.” ― Anne Frank
Travelling to Amsterdam was more than just a cultural experience, it was a reminder of our past.
Walking through the Anne Frank Huis is incredibly moving, thought-provoking and most of all, overwhelming. Although it’s only the remnants of an event in time, the pain lays fresh. No one wants to think something like the Holocaust could happen again but it could. That is the reality we live in; the unknown.
When I was younger, probably around the fifth grade, I read The Diary of a Young Girl. This was followed by a sea of other stories including Gabi’s Dresser and Hanna’s Suitcase―but what about all of the others? Six million Jews (and five million non-Jews) were murdered by Hitler, yet not all of their stories are being told. The Diary of Anne Frank is just one story out of millions that should never be forgotten. For those unaware, Anne’s diary was written while she and 7 others hid in ‘The Secret Annex’ during the Nazi occupation in the Netherlands. After an anonymous tip was given to the German police, officers stormed the building arresting all of its occupants. Unfortunately Anne never made it back home; she died of typhus in Bergen-Belsen, a concentration camp, a few weeks before it was liberated. Her father, Otto Frank, the only one of the group who survived, had her diary published in 1947. For a more in-depth telling, please go here.
There are so many words that have consumed my mind, if only they could find a way to my fingers.
We also took time to visit Hollandsche Schouwburg, the National Holocaust Memorial and Joods Historisch Museum, the Jewish Historical Museum.
Aside from the more serious aspects of the trip, there were many moments full of free spirit. I had my first experience of a coffee shop in the Netherlands. And yes, I’m still giggling about it…
All our food experiences were to die for; I have absolutely no complaints. Amsterdam vlaamse frites are available from little take-away stores all around the city and are so good. They are french fries served in paper cones, covered in the condiments of your choice. I chose special ketchup which was a mix of ketchup and mayonnaise. We were also told that about the world famous pancakes from The Pancake Bakery. Now I generally don’t like breakfast-type foods, but it was phenomenal. I ordered the Brazilian, a pancake with walnut ice cream, mocha sauce, Amaretto, almonds and whipped cream. I know you’re dreaming about it right now.
Of course we did some of the basic tourist attractions including a canal cruise and taking pictures with the I amsterdam letters. I do have to admit that we didn’t rent any bikes but I am seriously surprised with how many people truly ride around the city. I mean, I’m too lazy to walk around the block.
I am thankful for the opportunity to travel to such a beautiful location that I had only dreamed of in the past. Every day the sun was shining, leading us on an adventure that will never be forgotten.