Hamsterdam!

 That’s right folks, we are in the Venice of the north, Amsterdam! We drove from Brussels with Ali and Max and got to see the beautiful Belgian and Dutch countryside, as well as Holland’s famous windmills. I was really excited because we were going to stay the next three nights on a houseboat!
IMG_2570

Thank You, Kapitein Rob!

“Kapitein” Rob, the person who manages and owns a couple of the houseboats, was very kind and helped us with whatever we needed. The first night we stayed on a more modern houseboat on the Amstel River.  There is way more room inside these houseboats than you think.

IMG_E2254
The next day, we walked through the city with Ali and Max to Central Station, and even in the rain saw so many bikes.  At Central Station, they are parked on multilevel parking units like a parking garage. IMG_2719
Then Ali and Max went their way and we went to the Anne Frank Museum. I have read many books from World War II including Anne Franks Diary, and it was interesting to see all of the rooms in the secret annex that she wrote about.  Anne’s father brought some magazines with pictures to the annex before they moved in so Anne and Margot could decorate their room and make it more “cheery.”  There was also a wall where her parents marked how much they had grown over the two years.  Anne said that writing was what kept her from going crazy during the time they were in hiding.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Anne Frank, Otto Frank, Margot Frank, Edith Frank, Peter Van Pels, Auguste Van Pels, Hermann Van Pels, and Fritz Pfeffer all went into hiding in the Secret Annex in 1943.  Their hiding place was discovered only a couple of months before The Netherlands was liberated. Sadly, only Otto, her father, survived.  Anne and Margot would have survived, but they caught typhus shortly before Bergen-Belsen’s liberation. Anne’s Mom died in Auschwitz in 1945.

 

IMG_E2340
One of the women who helped them hide and brought supplies to them,  Miep Geis, found Anne’s diary and saved it.  Anne dreamed of her diary being published some day and her father helped fulfill that dream.
After we completed the walk-through of the secret annex, we went outside and found a great boat tour.  The staff was amazing!  Our tour guide ,Shiba, knew everything about everything!  She is getting her masters in history and loves learning.  She is coming to California this summer with her sister and we invited them to stay with us in Sacramento.

Also, the captain of our boat let me steer it for a while.IMG_2401

Did you know that the buildings in Amsterdam lean forward and have hooks on top so that you can lift furniture up one or two levels because the stairs are too narrow?

During the canal trip, we passed the most beautiful church in Amsterdam. It has a crown on top which was given by the German Republic because Amsterdam was such a good trading city.

IMG_2372

That night we went with Alizée and Max to a wonderful restaurant!

 

I tried my first creme brûlée ever! It was so good!

That night, we stayed in a different, more traditional houseboat. It was pretty cool. There’s a place on top where you can sit and wave at the boat tours coming by.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 


We said goodbye to Ali and Max on Tuesday, and went off to the famous Rijks Museum, which is ranked among the top museums in Europe.

We saw lots of academic paintings. My favorite was the “Threatened Swan,” which was painted by the Dutch painter Jan Asselijn. It looks pretty accurate to me!

 

threatened swan
We also saw some paintings of one of Amsterdam’s most famous artists, Rembrandt.  This painting is The Night Watch.IMG_2514

In Rembrandt Square there is a huge statue of him surrounded by all the things he painted.
IMG_2556

The next day we went to the flower market where we saw every kind of tulip that you can imagine.
IMG_2584There were even black tulips!

We were all excited to go to the Van Gogh Museum, where all of his most famous works our housed.  We saw his self portraits, one of his sunflower paintings, the potato eaters, and many, many more.

 

My favorite was the Almond Blossom painting. Japanese printmaking was one of Vincent’s main sources of inspiration and he became an enthusiastic collector, and the almond blossom painting is an example of the Japanese style that he used.

Our last night in Amsterdam was spent in a “gypsy wagon,” on a a farm in the countryside only 20 minutes from Amsterdam.  In good weather, we could have ridden bicycles to the ferry into the city, but it was cold and rainy.

IMG_2647
It was really fun because there were farm animals!
IMG_2700
My favorite were the donkeys which were right outside our windows.

In the morning we collected eggs for breakfast from the chicken coop, and made a really wonderful, farm fresh breakfast.

IMG_7009IMG_7011

IMG_2714

Then we packed our bags and headed off to the train station because we are heading to Berlin!

Keep calm and Travel on!

Your Junior World Trek Reporter

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s