We got up bright and early on Sunday well rested and ready to conquer the part of Amsterdam that we hadn’t gotten to the day before. To avoid the lines, we first visited the Anne Frank house, which was near to our hostel. It was a sobering reminder of what even the most innocent children had to endure at the hands of the Nazis during the Holocaust. I still can’t imagine what life must have been like for Otto Frank, the lone survivor of the Frank family from the Holocaust, knowing that everyone that he had loved and cared about, including his closest friends with which he had been hiding for several years, had all been killed. Truly, truly unforgettable.
We then headed to the Museumplein, where they have a vast number of museums that commemorate everything from artistic masterpieces to tapestries to pornography. Needless to say, we stayed on the safe (and much less sketchy) side by sticking with the art museums. The Rijksmuseum was phenomenal…I don’t usually get moved by art, but a lot of the art in that museum are not only stunning but also tell the story of the Netherlands. After oo-ing and ah-ing for about an hour, we went to the nearby Van Gogh museum. In its highly contemporary and modern design, it took us about 15 minutes to figure out where the entrance to the place was (apparently NOT on the highly contemporary and modern part of the building, but across the street), but once we were in we were definitely fascinated. It is incredible to think that prior to his “dabbling” in art for the rest of his life, he had had no prior training in painting, drawing, etc. As well, the museum prominently featured one of my favorite quotes of all time – “I am constantly doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it”. In the end, though, I was somewhat unimpressed by the exposition, as it did not have any of his most famous works, which apparently are all featured in New York.
Our last tour was of the Heineken Brewery near the Museumplein, which was a lighthearted and fun experience for certain, although it wasn’t really anything new if you knew anything about how beer is brewed. They did send us off with a free gift (included in the admission price) so all was well. As a final sight to see in Amsterdam, we treaded into the seedy “Red Light District”, as we wanted to see what all the fuss was about, but nonetheless during the day to avoid the shady characters that surely traveled there at night.