The day started out with a trip to the local market with Marjan and JulieJanne. The local market was very sweet – it was small, but had everything you’d ever need – a fruit and vegetable seller, cheese, a butcher, a bakery, clothes, and more. While there, I also got to eat a stroopwafel. For those non-Dutchies, a stroopwafel is like a hard cookie in the shape of a waffle, filled with syrup. Normally they are a bit bigger than a cookie. The one I got at the market was freshly made, with the syrup inside all warm and gooey. It was also enormous – about the size of my face – but very, very delicious.
Later on that day, received the tiniest stroopwafel ever with a cup of tea!
After the market, JulieJanne and I took the train into Amsterdam, where she was my guide today. We started out with a boat tour of the canals, which was awesome. It was a nice way to see the picturesque side of Amsterdam – canals covering every part of the city, bridges with bicycles leaning against them, and more cute canal houses than you’d think possible. The tour also included lots of interesting tidbits about the city and its history, such as why the houses are so small (they were taxed based on how big the front of the house was) and why they often lean slightly forwards (it makes it easier to move furniture into the top floors with damaging anything, using a pulley that sticks out over the top of the house).
Following the boat tour, JulieJanne and I spent a few hours hanging out in Amsterdam, going to the shops on the main shopping street, and getting dinner at an Italian restaurant. Our last stop of the day was at the Anne Frank House.
Like many other people my age, I had to read Anne Frank’s diary in school many years ago, and we spent some time learning about her as a part of our history class. However, learning about somebody’s life and how they lived in hiding during the war is very different from standing in the place where they lived. The Anne Frank House starts by taking you through the warehouse and offices below the Secret Annex, and then takes you to the Secret Annex itself. Being in the Secret Annex itself was very affecting, and many people going through were crying. You could read and hear Anne’s words on the walls, see the pictures she had pasted on her bedroom walls to make it more cheerful. The floors creaked loudly as you stepped, while reading about how the inhabitants of the Secret Annex had to tread quietly and not use any running water during the day, for fear of the warehouse workers hearing something and learning that they were there. It is horrifying to think of how Anne was in many ways a young, innocent girl, but at the same time was distinctly aware of the seriousness of their situation.
The Anne Frank House finishes by taking you through a small museum exhibit of what’s been done with Anne’s diary and the impact it’s had on the world. The whole experience was incredibly moving.
JulieJanne and I headed back on the train after that, both of us feeling exhausted from the day as well as quite emotional from the Anne Frank House. Overall, it was another wonderful day in Amsterdam.
The church outside the Anne Frank House – Anne wrote about hearing it toll all the time in her diary.