The main reason I have always wanted to visit Amsterdam is to see the Anne Frank House. I mentioned in a blog previously that I have read her diary many times and watched numerous TV adaptations of her story but I think until you actually go and feel it, you can’t fully appreciate any of it.
I tried to book my ticket online but they were all sold out so instead once I arrived at the hotel and stored my luggage I made my way straight there. The walk was very pleasant and remains the area of Amsterdam I am most fond of.
The queue was big but not quite as big as I had anticipated. The sun was shining and the breeze was warm so I didn’t mind the wait, all 45 minutes of it.
I finally reached the ticket office, paid my 9 euro and in I went. The second you walk through the door you feel apprehensive but in a way I can’t fully put into words. I had a happy and warm feeling whilst queuing, I knew what I was going to see I suppose but, it didn’t really sink in until you entered the building and listened and watched the first part of her story.
As you make your way through you are following her words, she is telling you about everything you are looking at along with the occasional narrated short film. The more you go through the building and follow her journey the more the silence becomes the loudest thing in there. It is truly fascinating yet very painful to understand, the mix of emotions got to a lot of people and I witnessed more than a few grown men and women shedding quiet tears.
I held onto that sad feeling until I got into what was Anne’s bedroom. In here I felt different. Yes it is still very sad but you can smile thanks to the images she left on the walls, images that too made her days a little brighter and most certainly lifted her spirits. I left her room feeling happy, increasing my grin as I passed a well preserved poster of Ginger Rogers on the wall as I left. Everything she enjoyed was positive, there were images of Hollywood royalty and British royalty along with a few others, and it just added a nice lift to such a grim space.
The one part of the visit that got to me the most was looking up to the attic and out of the window. She talks about this in her diary and to actually stand in the same spot, read her words, look up and still see the same tree and daylight she had written about was truly heart breaking. This was her only view of the outside world for so long. It was a small window and you could only literally see the sky and branches from the tree yet this kept her going. This for me shows how lucky each and every one of us are to have our freedom. It’s sad because at the time she was technically free yet she was trapped in this house. I can’t begin to imagine what that really must have been like especially for such a young girl.
I could write my own book about why each and every one of us should take the time to visit the Anne Frank house when in Amsterdam. There are very few places on earth that can move you in the way this house and the words of this child can. It gives me a lump in my throat writing this now!
Once leaving the Anne Frank house I did do some other exploring, walking for what feels like miles up and down numerous streets and then ending up in Dam Square which was purely by accident.
I enjoyed Amsterdam although I did find the speed of everything over whelming. If you are not trying to avoid bikes and cars there are then the trams and the sheer volume of foot traffic coming in all directions to get you. I thought London was busy, even New York, but I truly don’t think you have seen anything until you have been here!
I would definitely like to come back here, maybe spend more time sightseeing and taking in a little more of what Holland has to offer. I can however leave with my head held high and say I did NOT get myself mowed down by a cyclist although I did come close a few times. Instead I was assaulted by a pigeon whose wing hit me in the face as it took flight!
For now though I bid Amsterdam farewell and I am en-route to join MSC Cruises MSC Magnifica! My next blog shall be all CRUISE SHIP related! I know you will appreciate that!