Netherlands · 3 Days · 7 Moments · July 2018

Amsterdam


10 July 2018

Goodbye cozy Airbnb! We’ll miss your comfort and amenities.

9 July 2018

With Alvina still at aerial class, I embraced my alone time. I’m a natural degenerate, so the prospect of visiting the Red Light District excited me. I assumed prostitutes wandered the streets. Hence, I thought the women in the various windows around the city (sorry, no pics allowed!) were live action sex dolls. I only realized otherwise when they knocked on the glass to grab your attention. The District boasted sex clubs/bars/shops galore. To satisfy my hunger (and thirst ;)) from the area, I munched on a strawberry waffle, much crunchier and toaster than I am accustomed. Also, cannabis, cannabis, cannabis. But I don’t have to tell you that. I strolled alongside the Grand Canal for a while, before catching up with Alvina and touring the Sex Museum, a detailed and graphic recollection of sex through the ages. Then, we called it a night.
From the Anne Frank Huis, we continued on to the Amsterdam Cheese Museum, where we were greeted by unlimited free samples of (mostly Gouda) cheeses. My tastebuds fancied the truffle varieties and the 40-week aged Gouda best. With our bellies full of cheese, we, of course, craved more food. We were tram connoisseurs by this point, and effortlessly navigated to the hipster part of town, to an international food market called Foodhallen. Many delicious options appealed to us, but we craved Dutch food. Hence, we rode the tram (unlimited passes) to another part of town, near the Van Gogh museum to munch on some famous fries. The Van Gogh museum was sold out as expected, but I saw a lot of his pieces at the Metropolitan in New York, so I wasn’t too heartbroken. The inner tourist in me was equally as thrilled to photograph the I Amsterdam sign. Meanwhile, as Alvina went to aerial classes, I headed to the Royal Palace to bask in the plaza and spend some time at a coffee shop. ;)
Two days in the Netherlands is not enough to explore its beauty. We woke up much earlier the next day to tour Amsterdam, and to make our 11am Anne Frank House reservations. I managed to score tickets the night before. Thoughts about the Anne Frank Huis: - Surprised about the size of the annex. After reading her Diary, I always imagined her hiding spot was simply an attic, sans a toilet and multiple rooms. - Heart breaking audio tour, with interview clips from Otto Frank. It was painful seeing remnants of her existence — her real diary, pictures of movie stars adorned on her bedroom wall, her and Margo’s height chart penciled on the “living room” wall. - The house itself is quite an unassuming building. It is indeed difficult to imagine that just seventy years ago, Nazis invaded these same streets.

8 July 2018

Night view on the river. McDonald’s for dinner.
As our Airbnb was situated in the neighboring town of Amersfoort, we spent our first day in the Netherlands exploring the local area. My first impression was not positive, though clearly due to my American sensibilities, as I could not find a shop that accepted foreign credit cards. Cue hangry me. Due to time constraints (I slept in until 2!), we decided to stay in the Amersfoort area. Our journey commenced at the medieval water mill, constructed in the 1400s, that is/was part of the wall surrounding the city. Old Amersfoort is a plethora of local shops and eateries. With so many options around, we hesitantly stopped at a random creperie, with an idyllic courtyard area. The centerpiece of the city is the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwetoren, a clock tower looking over the city. Construction commenced in 1444. Lastly, I was struck by the sheer number of canals in the area. Gardens, homes, and businesses alike are even built on them.
Our 7pm flight was shockingly short, as we were only in air for no longer than 30 minutes. I barely had any time to even think about sleeping. The train from Schipol Airport to Amersfoort was a straight-shot and very easy to take. The attendants were very kind, and all spoke English well. We rolled into our Airbnb at 10pm or so. The Amersfoort Airbnb was unusual, but very cozy. It consists of 4 levels, connected by a flight of circular and narrow stairs. The host, originally from Australia, gladly talked to us for a few hours, on topics ranging from American politics to travel to drugs to Amersfoort’s superiority to Amsterdam. I slept well that night. Too well. I didn’t open my eyes again until 1pm the following day! But I did have quite the view to remind me to get out of bed. ☕️