TULIPS IN AMSTERDAM & A VISIT TO THE ANNE FRANK MUSEUM
Today is my 44th birthday and I’ve just arrived home after a two day break in the fabulous city of Amsterdam.
I visited Amsterdam for the first time about 20 or so years ago when I was a dancer on a cruise ship and loved the fabulous vibe the city has. It’s an eclectic mix of culture and beauty (with a very adult world right alongside it) However, the atmosphere has a buzz to it and I adore the canals, tulips and distinctive houses.
Isabelle has studied Anne Frank at school and it’s a story that also truly fascinates me. I visited the house/museum last time I was in the city and Isabelle has been very keen to visit so, a two day trip to Amsterdam as a gift to my mum & dad for their Golden Wedding Anniversary and to coincide with my birthday was booked.
Unfortunately Tony couldn’t join us as he is busy at work but mum, dad, Isabelle, Max and myself all set off to Hull to board the P&O ferry. I booked the ferry as some friends had done the same trip a few months ago and said it was a nice experience. It’s very reasonably priced and very quick and easy to board the ship. The cabins are small which we expected which was fine as they are only needed to shower and sleep in and they were spotlessly clean. Food is not included in the price but there is a lovely bistro restaurant along with a self service buffet restaurant so, with two nights in board we booked one night in each. The food was excellent with a vast choice and a fantastic breakfast which filled us up the next morning before we journeyed into Amsterdam. There is a cinema on board, excellent shops, bars, a casino, children’s areas and a Starbucks so there’s plenty to do for the short time you’re on board.
We arrived in Rotterdam at 8am on Tuesday morning and, after a very well organised and fast disembarkation there were coaches right outside ready to take us to the city centre. Again, the organisation was excellent and the whole process was very smooth. In Amsterdam almost everyone rides bikes so you need your eyes everywhere when walking but we headed straight to the Anne Frank museum which I had pre booked two months prior to our visit (if you don’t book the museum on line you have very little chance of getting in as it is hugely popular, tickets are available from two months prior to your chosen date). Time slots are booked to ensure the is a steady stream of people entering the house which has been expanded & developed so much over the years. Last time I visited we went in the house which is of course exactly the same but they have now expanded into the building adjoining her house to create a fabulous museum.
The Anne Frank house is a museum with a very touching poignant story, as a visitor you experience the story through quotes, photos, videos and original items with the unbelievable feeling of actually being in the secret annex where Anne and her family were in hiding. There is an audio tour as you move through the museum which is key to your visit. It provides you with information about the persecution of the Jews, the Second World War, the people in hiding and their helpers.
This audio tour is an excellent addition to the museum to tell the peoples stories and to the documents and objects you see. For a small museum with such huge quantities of visitors each year it is excellently organised and has a quiet, subdued atmosphere throughout in keeping with Anne & many other Jewish people’s stories at this time.
After the museum we then went for something to eat in one of the many fabulous eateries in the city. The buildings are all very distinctively Dutch. Narrow & tall with very steep winding staircases and an eclectic mix of colours on the exteriors. These buildings make it feel very atmospheric and it’s always wonderful to soak up the culture of a new country or destination.
We then had a wander through the streets and looked around some of the shops before going on a short canal ride. The canals are such a distinctive part of Amsterdam, it was lovely to sail down them taking in the sights of the city. After picking up a few little souvenirs and my favourite stroop waffles it was then time to get on the coach back to the ferry. Again, the transfers were very smooth and well organised and we were back in time for a quick shower and change before dinner. Another amazing meal and a few drinks later it was time to get some sleep ready to head back home in the morning.
A lovely short trip which I would highly recommend as a little extra if you get the chance. It was all very well organised and very reasonably priced. Amsterdam, you were as lovely as I remember and I will be back again in the future!!