Monday 30 September 2019

Monday in Amsterdam

We walked in the rain this morning to the Anne Frank museum. It is probably the most well done, emotional experience I’ve ever had.  We were there approximately 2 hours. The tickets are bought for a particular time of day as the number of  visitors is strictly controlled. There is a respectful hush from everyone as you listen to the audio as you go around the rooms in the annex where the Von Frank family lived hidden for two years before they were discovered. We all felt very moved and somber as we exited the museum and continued on down the street to our next destination. I would recommend that you all put this museum on your bucket list.
We went to the central train station and bought tickets to Harlaam.  This little town is similar to Amsterdam though much smaller, it takes 30 minutes on the train to get there. We went to a place called A Crepe Affair and had chocolate banana crepes and coffees! Delicious but big, we realized we could have easily shared two instead one each! After wandering the streets and several shops looking at shoes and clothing we broke down and made a purchase each! The weather brightened up considerably which was great for wandering.  Google told us the 10 best things to do or see.  There are 10 “secret gardens” in Harlaam and we found a beautiful one! It had a big iron gate, inside there was a pathway around a square garden patch, the perimeter was rimmed with attached townhouses who had nicely planted bushes and pots. It was very charming!
Next we wanted to see the working windmill.....very large and right on the edge of one-off the many canals.  a couple of young girls asked us to take their photo by the windmill and they then took ours! We found out they were just visiting for 5 days and were from Boston. They naturally inquired why we were all wearing the same we told them our friends had recently holidayed in France and had taken photos of themselves wearing berets........we wanted to show them we could do the same so wore black and white T-shirts.   We did get amusing looks and stares most of the day everywhere we went.
We still had to find the “beer church” a church that was now a bar/restaurant. Sandy’s daughters had recommended it as a must see.  It was quite awesome, it is called Jopen afterbthe beer 5hey make on the premises. Three of us had jopen gerstebier and one Life is a beach. Joanie and sandy shared a  flight of 3 with an appy called van dobben bitterballen basically beef with mustard!  You can imagine how difficult this Dutch language is to pronounce! Makes it difficult when navigating the streets as well. Not to mention the thousands of bikes that whip around so fast.....AND they have the right a-way unless there is a traffic light.
We did find another secret garden as we were making our way to the train was about the same size as the previous one and a little less manicured , included a small lake like fountain in the middle and lots of flowers, again a ring of homes all around the perimeter. Our other find in an alleyway was a Jewish memorial.
Once we were back in Amsterdam, exiting the train station I discovered if you didn’t exit the turnstile when your ticket opened it in a timely fashion it would close and not allow you out.....this is to stop you handing your ticket to a friend to use it as well. A station attendant had to let me out! It takes time to learn how to operate in different cities.
For dinner Sandy’s daughters had suggest we go to the Jordaan area to a place called Argentina restaurant famous for its steak.  It had great food and atmosphere. The waiter looked at us in our matching striped T-shirts and looking puzzled said wow and was laughing! He said we looked like we just got out of jail.
We walked home via the Dam Square and saw the Royal Palace......nice at night with few people about.
Good night Amsterdam. Zzzzzzzzz


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