And FINALLY I have a bit of time to write about my favorite city to date. There’s something about Amsterdam that totally stole my heart. It’s actually the first city I’ve visited outside of the United States that I could see myself living in for a period of time. I met one of my good friends from high school, Donovan, in Amsterdam on Thursday night. Donovan’s cousins, Kirk and Bre, live in Amsterdam. They are in their early 30’s and have a 14 month old named Teia. They both grew up in Seattle and met in college at the University of Washington! Krik and Bre graciously opened up their home to Donovan and I for the weekend and it was SO much fun staying with a family. They were wonderful hosts and a ton of fun to be around.. they actually reminded me a lot of my own sister and brother-in-law. And of course having some baby time was very special seeing how much I miss my niece! I’m sure that my experienced in Amsterdam was very positively influenced by having the opportunity to live with my friend’s family.
On Friday morning Donovan and I visited the Anne Frank house. I am fascinated by WWII and Nazi Germany, so visiting the house where she and her family hid from the Nazis was so interesting. I never had to read her diary for school, so I did not know much about her, but I learned more about her and her life while touring the house. Her father actually worked out of the same home where they ended up hiding. Her father’s boss and the boss’ secretary agreed to do everything they could to hide them from the Nazis. The Franks and another family lived together in the back of the house. They shared a living room and a kitchen, and they had a few rooms to split between the families. Anne wrote about how during most of the day their blinds had to be completely shut so no one could see inside of the house. For a little bit of time during the day she could peer outside and she wrote about how she longed to be free and to run and play and breathe in the fresh air outside. She felt like an animal trapped in a cage, and she felt like the Nazis robbed her of an authentic childhood. Anne eventually died in an extermination camp, but her face and her story became a symbol of the Holocaust, and especially became a voice for all of the Jewish children who experienced life under the Nazi regime.
After the Anne Frank house, Donovan and I (based off Bre’s recommendation) went to get some Dutch pancakes for breakfast! The pancakes were SO delicious and I also tried a mint tea. Afterwards, we walked downtown and walked along many of the outdoor Christmas markets. In the Netherlands, the Dutch celebrate Christmas like we do in the States, but in November they also have a special celebration for Santa Claus, called Sinterklaas in the Netherlands. It was a lot of fun getting in the Christmas spirit in mid-November! We sampled some delicious cheeses and played in a park for awhile. We eventually made it to the famous “iamsterdam” sign and snapped a few photos. That night Kirk and Bre treated us to Thai food!
The next day, Donovan and I took Krik and Bre’s bikes and rode around the city. It was a BLAST! We rode a couple of circles around Vondel Park and through the streets. At times it was very peaceful, but riding in the middle of traffic was pretty scary haha. I survived though so all is well! Most everyone in Amsterdam rides bikes over driving a car, and I really like that aspect about the city. Also, it was apparent that many people value exercising. We saw tons of people biking, running and walking, so I really enjoyed seeing that. I felt like a little kid riding a bike again 🙂 Donovan and I ended up finding a small food market in a residential area and we stopped for lunch. We had thai chicken pot pie and carrot cake! It was delicious and fun to be with locals. That night, Krik and Bre took us on a boat party. Bre’s friend is moving to London so it was her going away party. The boat party was a ton of fun and we cruised around the canal’s of Amsterdam and drank Heineken.
My weekend in Amsterdam was so special and one of the best weekends yet. I would love to live there someday 🙂