Wow… what a day. I was out for 11 hours and I. Am. Tired. Before I succumb to sleep, I wanted to get a blog post in, seeing as though it was such a busy day. First, I woke to a surprise. When I went to sleep last night, I had one roommate. When I awoke, I had two. I knew the doctor needed to get up early to go to the hospital, so when I got up about a half hour later, I thought I had the place to myself. I am sitting in bed checking my phone when all of a sudden I hear movement from the top bunk of the doctor’s bed. Um, what? Then I see what appears to be a shadow of another bag sitting in our, very small, room. I was freaked out! Come to find out tonight, the doctor told me that the third girl came in about a half hour after we went to sleep, turned on the lights, etc. I slept right through it. Wow.
So I made it to Central Station to start taking trams around the city, but I knew the train I wanted to take to Belgium tomorrow said “reservations compulsory.”. (Although I have a rail pass, some countries (ahem, France) require you to pay an extra seat reservation. Dumb. So before setting out to the Anne Frank house, I decided to get that reservation taken care of. It took longer to be seen than I thought it would and then found out that the reason it says I have to make a reservation on this train is because my rail pass doesn’t cover that company. So I will be taking a different train. One that does not require me to pay an additional 60 euro. Because, no.
I made it to the Anne Frank house expecting a line. I went online a week ago to reserve a ticket and the ones available online were sold out. So I knew I would be waiting, I just didn’t expect it to be down and around the block. It’s October, not July. It was also very cold and windy this morning, which I thought I dressed for in a long-sleeved t-shirt, cardigan, and scarf. Nope. I was freezing. It was about an hour and 20 minutes before I was able to get inside and purchase my ticket. Longer than I anticipated. Part of me knew it was open until 9 and thought about coming back later when it wouldn’t be as busy, but I couldn’t guarantee that it wouldn’t be busy. This was my number one thing to see here, so I stuck it out.
I was expecting to be pretty emotional, especially because I reread the diary last week (actually an unabridged version… her father edited it when it was first published and at some point… not sure when… the entire original has been published). But I think I was more enthralled by it, considering I first read the book decades ago and seen the movie (the Oscar was there!), and seen plays. I had a vision of the place in my head and, of course, it was not as I had pictured. The original bookcase is there but otherwise the rooms are empty, per Otto Frank’s wishes. It is shocking to see just how small a space it was and to think that 8 people lived there for over 2 years. It’s just incredible.
I think I was also not in tears as I had expected because I am just so mad. She almost made it. They all almost made it, but she died only a month before liberation. What if the US hadn’t taken an isolationist stance until Pearl Harbor? Would the war have been over sooner? Would Anne and the other 7, not to mention thousands of others, have lived? There have been a lot of swirling issues and questions in my mind about the Holocaust while on this trip, but I haven’t quite figured things out enough to share here.
After the Anne Frank house, I wanted to head to Albert Cuyp market, a street market Judy told me to go to, for lunch. Unfortunately, I took the wrong tram. And I kept thinking it would eventually end up at central station. So I stayed on. And it didn’t. It went to the end of its line and I got back on when it turned around! So about an hour was wasted riding trams, but at least I got to see the city! I was starving though, so I had a waffle while on my way. With powdered sugar. So good! I made it to the market and then had poffertjes (mini Dutch pancakes that come with a tab of butter and powdered sugar. I added some caramel syrup. Tasty! The stalls were interesting! Lots of yummy looking fruits and veggies, some great clothes (ok, sweaters, really… just what I need!), some real fugly looking clothes, toiletries, etc. Very eclectic. I then tried patat frites again and I am glad I did. I had the mayo, but added ketchup this time. So good. I think they were just a better quality from the stand today than the takeaway place yesterday. On my way back through the market, I stopped for a stroopwafel…google it. It was very good! So glad Judy gave me all these pointers. But I certainly didn’t need anymore sweets today!
After the market I went to the Van Gogh Museum. I almost didn’t go when I saw it was 15 euro, but then I realized I was being kind of scrooge-wish. I am about $400 under budget at this point, so I needed to let it go! Which then carried over into the Heineken Experience. 18 euro?!?! Holy cow! And SOOOOO not worth it. I barely learned how their beer was brewed. It was all sorts of other crap. Like multimedia stuff, bottle your own beer, play video games, make a music video or commercial or something. Um, no. One thing that was kind of cool but kind of bizarre wa a “ride” they had. We entered an auditorium for a “movie”, but it ended up being “interactive.”. What we stood on moved with the movie and it splattered water on us and there were heat lamps. It was crazy. It was to simulate us as beer being brewed. I ended up getting called on in the first tasting room. Guy asked for someone who doesn’t really like beer. He was looking at me, or in my general direction, so I raised my hand. He asked me to take a drink to see how I drank it. Apparently I passed because he said usually people take tiny sips, but I didn’t. Yay me!
Also, the quote of the day was heard here. At one part, a guy had samples of wort and I approached him before the rest of the group (really, there was no group, you went on your own, but the people behind me, anyway) and he asked if I wanted to try it. It looked a little sketch, so I said, I don’t know, do I? He then asked where I was from, so I said the US. He said, then you have to try it. I asked if it was a requirement and he said, well yeah, you’ve flown halfway around the world and paid 18 euro to come in here, you have to get your money’s worth! True dat.
I then made my way back to central station to get on a canal cruise. I had meant to go on one last night but I was freezing. I noticed today that the boats are covered. Had I known that, I would’ve went last night. And then when I stepped on, I realized they are also heated. Nice! It was a great cruise. I loved seeing the city that way. It also, like riding the tram, allowed me to see more than I otherwise would have. Plus I got some great info about the city, its architecture, and its history.
After the cruise, I was exhausted. I hadn’t eaten anything of substance really, definitely no protein, but there wasn’t anything good in the train station. I hopped on the metro and almost fell asleep on the way to my hostel. When I got to my stop, I did not feel good. I was tired and my stomach was upset. I knew I probably needed to eat something, but nothing sounded good. On my walk, I saw that Subway was open, so I followed some guys into the store and wasn’t long before the smell turned my stomach. I had to leave. I got beck to my room and was not doing well, but the doctor had gotten two DCs (CANS!!! It’s been so long since I’ve had a CAN of DC!), and she gave one to me. Somehow it helped. About a half hour later I was feeling better, so I set out for Subway. It was closed. Because of course it was. But you know what wasn’t? KFC. That’s right. But they did not have mashed potatoes. What kind of KFC doesn’t have mashed potatoes?!?! That’s ok, I got a sandwich and I felt much better. Now off to bed so I can (hopefully) see a few things in the AM before I take the train to Belgium!