So I’m actually home now and have been for about a week. I’ve been trying to get caught up on things, which is why this has been so long in the making. But let’s have a look at Amsterdam, shall we?
We only made it into Amsterdam for one day, due to family events, weather, traffic and illness. (Yes, I was sick the entire time I was in Europe – lovely!). I really wanted to go to the Anne Frank House. I’d been there in the past and it’s a most amazing experience. When I was last there, they were building an annex onto the side of the building that was to have more information, exhibits, etc. So I wanted to see how that ended up. I’ve always been fascinated by the Anne Frank story – about all survivors’ stories, really. So I was quite disappointed when we rounded the corner on this bitterly cold day to see a line completely around the building. The metal and glass building you see in the photo is the new part they were building when I was there. So, still being sick, I didn’t want to stand out in the cold. Instead, we went to a little tea house which was actually just a regular cafe. We split an apple turnover and had Earl Grey tea.
We wandered around the city for a little while, then headed over to the Amsterdams Historisch Museum. This museum chronicles Amsterdam’s growth from a tiny, swampy village to the modern city it is today, housing over 750,000 people. All of the information displays were in both Dutch and English, which was very helpful for me and probably stress-relieving for my husband. 😉 There were paintings and artwork, as well as sociological exhibits, including a lot of information on the charitable organizations which helped the poor especially during the 1700s and 1800s.
I especially found the archeological displays interesting. In some cases, they’d found leather shoes from the 1200s! And it’s always interesting to look at artifacts that people hundreds of years ago used in their daily lives. It always jump-starts my imagination to consider what they might have been doing when they were wearing those shoes.
After, we wandered around a little more, taking photos and chilling out. We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant because I wanted to see what Dutch Mexican would be like. The food was good, but it’s the first time I’ve ever had to eat tacos with a knife and fork from the beginning! After the tacos are put together, they put cheese over the hard shell and then put it in the oven. Considering that all the Dutch folks I know use a knife and fork for everything (including French fries and pizza!), I really wasn’t that surprised. But it tasted good and that’s all that really matters!
Ahhh, but then… then I finally got to go to a brown cafe! My husband was born and raised in Amsterdam and he’s been to brown cafes before, but they’re not his thing. But ever since my first visit, I wanted to at least go into one and have that experience. He’d never go with me :p So finally I told him this trip that if he wanted to stand on the street and wait for me, that was fine, but I was going to go in. He went in with me.
It was tiny, with lots of green, red and gold alongside the Bob Marley posters. The upstairs seating area had seven tables crammed into about a twelve by twelve room. Sparkly holiday ornaments hung from the ceiling in – you guessed it – Jamaican colors. The walls were mirrored and the haze in the tiny room was like someone had lit a signal fire in the corner. On the menu, you could order actual drinks (coffee, tea, espresso, etc) along with weed or hash or a mix, loose in a bag. There was also the option of buying a joint: either weed or a mix of weed and hash. And did I buy anything? Well, I did buy something… but I’m not telling what! 🙂
Some photos of Amsterdam for your enjoyment: