My husband Tim and I started planning a trip to Amsterdam as soon as our son Tom told us he had been asked to relocate there for his job. We have traveled to Europe several times, but we had never been to Amsterdam. We visited Tom, his wife Jen and their two little dogs Macy and Moxie, for almost 2 weeks over Christmas 2019.
The first thing I noticed while walking around Amsterdam was that the majority of men and women are very tall, over 6 feet, long legs, lanky build. I am 5 feet 8 inches, and have never felt short in all my travels, but I did in Amsterdam. The people look quite fit also, with all of the walking and biking they do. The next thing I noticed was all of the bicycles—not just the huge number being ridden in the bike lanes, but the hundreds parked everywhere. One common denominator of all of the bicyclists is that they wear no helmets!
We acted like tourists while visiting; we went to a couple of art museums, went on a food tour (Hungry Birds—excellent), visited Brugge, Belgium for a couple of days, took a boat ride on the canals, visited Europe’s largest outdoor market and saw many other sights. While we thoroughly enjoyed all of the areas of the city and places we visited, touring the Anne Frank House and Museum was probably the highlight of the trip for me (other than seeing Tom and Jen). Like every other student, I read The Diary of Anne Frank way back in junior high. Since the first reading, I have read it several more times and seen the movie at least twice. Both the diary and movie definitely made an impact on me, especially when I was a young girl. So to actually be in the secret annex where Anne and her family and 4 other people walked, talked, ate, slept and hid from the Nazis for over 2 years was quite an experience, a very solemn one. I was actually surprised that the annex was bigger than I had imagined. That was partly due to the lack of any furnishings, which is how Anne’s father, Otto chose to have the space shown. Reservations are necessary for visiting the Anne Frank House, and can be made online up to 2 months ahead of time.
Though Tim and I missed being with our two other children and their families over Christmas, our time in Amsterdam with Tom and Jen was one of our best Christmases ever! I highly recommend visiting Amsterdam! The Dutch people are very friendly, and everyone speaks English, making everything much easier.