The flight to Amsterdam was breathtaking to watch the sunset from. I couldn’t stop taking pictures, and having my nose pressed to the window. The Swedish lady next to me got a kick out of my Stockholm stories and my American take on the city. She was very amused at how excited we got over the reindeer at the zoo, when she said you can barely drive in the Northern part of Sweden without herds of reindeer crossing. The sky was still light until we dipped below the clouds to darkness and heavy rain.
Our first and only full day in Amsterdam started early so that we could hit all the tourist spots we wanted to. Just like the first day in London, the public train transportation was down the one day we were in the city. Therefore, we had to bus to the next station from the airport, and the take the train to the city station. This all worked out very smoothly for the inconvenience of it. We reached the city at 9 am and walked straight to the Anne Frank house. The line was already two hours long, but it was well worth the wait. There is so much history in this building that was once used for Frank Otto’s business. It is a sad history, but a history and story that should be known. The Frank family’s story mirrors the lives of many other Jewish families leading up to and during the time of World War II, but the Frank family became well known through the diary of Anne Frank. Anne Frank kept a record of life in the Secret Annex through the two years leading up to their capture. Her diary was a way for her to express herself in a place where quiet was necessary to their survival. The Frank family and four others in hiding were betrayed, and sent to Auschwitz in 1944. Otto Frank is the only one to survive the camp, and spends the rest of his life devoted to human rights and sharing his daughter’s diary. Her diary has touched the lives of many, and walking through the house, she certainly touched mine.
Our next stop was the Van Gogh Museum. The wait for this was about two-three hours, and again was worth it. Outside of the museum, they have 125,000 sunflowers in honor of Van Gogh’s “Sunflower” portrait. This beauty on the outside was only a touch of the beauty on the inside. The museum is three floors of mostly his art with a mix of other artists who were his inspirations. The different floors took you through the different eras of his life, and the influence of where he lived could be seen in the expressions of his art. His brother Theo, an art dealer, was his best friend, and one of the greatest influences in his art that exposed him to see different styles. When Vincent’s metal health took a turn for the worse, he became exceptionally productive in metal hospitals producing 125 pieces in a year. His art and prosperous future was not enough to keep him from his suicide in 1890. He died young at the age of 37, and it is left to fathom what he would have made in a longer life. Theo’s son, Vincent, named after Vincent Van Gogh, would spend his life devoted to making his uncle’s art famous. He helped popularize Van Gogh’s large legacy- a collection of 850 paintings and 1,300 paper works. I think one of my favorites, other than his most popular pieces, was the Boulevard de Clichy and his Montmartre, Paris pieces. This museum was an incredible way to share his life story and an amazing tribute to his works of art.
We concluded the day with Amsterdam made Heineken beers on a canal cruise. It was a perfect way to see a city connected by small canals and bridges. Even though we only had one full day, I feel like we saw all Amsterdam had to offer. I would love to go back again and see tulips in bloom and wind mills spinning in the breeze.
Bye for now,