Day 8 – A place you’ve traveled to

28 Oct

For the past four years, we’ve travelled to Europe for our summer vacations.  Every trip has been meant to be our last hurrah before we have our baby and can’t take European vacations so easily anymore.  And then every year, we plan a new trip to Europe and it reminds me how baby-less we are.  But we always have an amazing time so it’s not all sadness!

My favorite of these trips was Amsterdam.  We took a week there.  Everyone said a week was too much. There wasn’t enough to do in Amsterdam.  These people are crazytown.  I don’t get how people can spend a week at the same beach they go to every year and then do 7 European cities in 10 days and think that they’ve seen Europe.  Sure you’ve seen a bunch of sights but you don’t have the feel for a town.  We like to try to immerse ourselves and feel like little locals wherever we are.

Because of that, Amsterdam was my favorite.  Paris, London and Italy were great. But we were zipping around trying to see everything and finding it hard to fit it all in!  There was so much.  Amsterdam had less to see.  That meant we had more time to wander around and stroll, rather than running from one sight to another.

Amsterdam is a city of canals (more canals than Venice!) and it is breathtaking.  We went at the end of August and it was already fall-like, which I think we’ve already established is my favorite time of year.  It was so nice being able to stroll through these great neighborhoods and explore the Amsterdam that people live in.  We were able to linger in cafes and enjoys our dinners because we weren’t rushing from place to place.  We were able to take  canal cruise in the day and the evening. 

Everyone thinks that Amsterdam is all drugs and the red light district.  It is SO much more than that.  While you will walk past many coffeeshops, you really have to seek that out if you want to partake from either.  If you’re not seeking that out, you get to spend time in a beautiful old city that is fulled with amazing history. 

We went to the Anne Frank house while we were there. I was mixed on whether we should go.  I thought it would be morbid and depressing.  And yes, it was sad.  It was heartbreaking stepping into their hiding place.    In a way, it wasn’t a small place to live.  It was almost bigger than I thought it would be.  But then I realized that back then, there was furniture there and a group of people living there all the time.  Not going out to work, not leaving to visit friends, not leaving to go shopping.  They were there all the time.  And the space started to shrink for me.   While it was sad, it was also hopeful and inspirational.  There were people from all over the world visiting this place.  Looking at her words written on the walls.  Examining her actual diaries under glass.  Watching videos of survivors being interviewed.  And those people were there for a reason.  And we were leaving knowing that seeing what we had seen, we wouldn’t allow something like that to happen again.  We were trying to learn lessons from our past and hopefully carry then into the future. 

Just writing about all this has made me want to go back to Amsterdam and stroll through the streets again.  Take the tram to the restaurants we liked.  Visit the museums we liked again.  Try some new foods that we didn’t have time to try before.  Explore the countryside a bit more. 

Maybe next time we’ll go with our kids.


3 Responses to “Day 8 – A place you’ve traveled to”

  1. CW October 28, 2010 at 5:47 pm #

    you missed out the satay. No trip to Amsterdam is complete without satay!

  2. Stella M. October 30, 2010 at 7:26 am #

    “I don’t get how people can spend a week at the same beach they go to every year and then do 7 European cities in 10 days and think that they’ve seen Europe.”
    I loved how you described your visit to Anne Frank’s house. As for my visit, I felt sadness because of what she and her family (and all her people) had gone through, and yet I felt happy and proud that so many persons from all over the world had decided to visit that tiny, tiny place because this implies that a lot of people still remember what happened.
    Agreed! Amsterdam has a strong label of being excessive and so on, but if you go there there is so much more: Landscapes, tulips, bridges, tiny streets, bicycles, art, colours…

  3. Erin W October 31, 2010 at 12:38 am #

    I always wanted to go to Amsterdam to go to the museums and be immersed in Van Gogh and Rembrandt.

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