That Monday morning we awoke to a sunny day in Amsterdam. Our last day out of a long weekend to this beautiful city, also known as the Little Venice of the North. Being a good patriot however, I must say that Belgium’s Bruges also competes for this title. I’ll leave it up to debate.
Anyhow, copious breakfast again in the Executive Lounge, at which Dorothy asked me : “So what’s the plan for today?”
“There isn’t much plan. I have pre-ordered tickets to visit Anne Frank’s house at eleven o’clock. And other than that I suggest we walk around and visit whatever catches our eye. Whatever makes the kids happy.” I answer to truth. A friend of mine had told me to pre-order the tickets online, else it’s rather impossible to get in. People from all over the world are queuing to see the famous hideout that sheltered eight people for two years in the second World War.
“Oh goodie, I do agree that’s a part of history not to be forgotten. How touching to take the kids there.” Dorothy is delighted.
That morning, we stored our luggage with the concierge of the Doubletree by Hilton hotel, and took to the streets of Amsterdam. We were following the plan on how to get to Anne Frank’s house. A twenty minute walk, the concierge had assured us. And it was, even at a leisurely tempo.
We arrived slightly early at the site of Anne Frank, so we decided to go for a serving of ‘poffertjes’ which are mini-pancakes, a Dutch speciality. They serve it with white icing sugar and a portion of butter, which melts nicely on the mini-pancakes. Delicious.
Next we were in line waiting to enter the legendary house. Needless to say we were tremendously excited. I had read Anne Frank’s diary as a teenager, and had adored the movie. The house turned out to be so true to what had been shown in the film. Only the reality showed us that the house was really tiny. It was baffling to imagine that eight people had actually lived here for eight years. Out of courtesy and respect for history, no pictures were taken inside. The place is sacred, almost like a monumental tomb.
“Oh look at that, street art!” Dorothy exclaimed. “Let’s buy a painting. That man is old. When he dies in ten years’ time, that painting might be worth a fortune.”
After our tour, we casually walked back the way we had come. At Dam Square the kids had noticed tours given in old horse ‘n carts. So we decided to give that a spin too. It was wonderful, seeing the city yet again from another perspective. Our guide pointed out the little quaint houses and other noteworthy sightings along the way.
Again back on our way towards our hotel, an exhibition caught my eye. It was well passed mid-day and the sun was high. Which made it a very good occasion to get inside and admire something. This exhibition was the “science of happiness” and given this is a subject I am very interested in, I was adamant on seeing it. To make things more interesting, they used actual bodies donated to science to showcase the working of the human body. How our bodies influence our sense of happiness, and how in turn we can take better care of ourselves and find happiness along the way.
Finally, we made it back to the hotel where we collected our luggage and made our way to the train station, which in fact was just five minutes next to the hotel where we’d stayed. Upon arrival, I had noticed a lovely little sushi bar there. The kids absolutely love sushi so this was a nice treat to end our tour.
Our train ride back home was comfortable. Traveling first class is no excessive luxury when accompanied by three (small) children. And what an adventure Amsterdam had been! I had mapped out the perfect trip, yet allowed enough space for spontaneous ideas and unexpected thrills. Thinking ahead and building in every safeguard I could imagine: the right suitcase, the right buggy, traveling in comfortable first class, booking a spacious suite in a hotel near the station and central to Amsterdam. Yet sometimes you need a little help to save you from human error. That’s where travel blogs and online research come to the rescue. And the best part? I get to tell you all about our great time out and about.
The baby also attracted another butterfly. We’re all so truly blessed.
What do you think ? Did you enjoy our adventures in Amsterdam ? And my biggest question still : where to next ? Let me know your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.