Well, we made it home after spending almost a month in Europe. Our last stop was Amsterdam.
This is our second visit to Amsterdam and we left this time thinking we are just a bit too old for the central Amsterdam scene. Not that we don’t love the ubiquitous smell of weed 😊.
We did love our hotel though! We stayed at the Amsterdam Marriott which is near Museum Square and Vondelpark, the largest city park in Amsterdam (a great spot for a walk). The room was lovely and the staff were so helpful. The highlight was probably the very best breakfast buffet ever – I love their made to order omelets and wonderful brown bread toasted!
We took a canal cruise (meh). We took the route that started at the City Center which was not great and involved a fair amount of open water. There are other routes that would have been lovely, but those were already booked (of course).
We also visited the Rijksmuseum. Yet another meh for us. The building is incredible, but it is completely overwhelming in size and many of their famous paintings were out on loan. On our previous visit to Amsterdam, we went to the Van Gogh Museum which we both loved and highly recommend!
A true highlight was the Anne Frank House. Talk about a powerful and moving experience! I was completely claustrophobic just going into the tiny rooms where 8 people lived together for over 700 days. I think it is a must see for everyone. Tickets are sold well in advance and I am so glad I made the effort to get ours.
There are many wonderful quotes from Anne Frank, but this one was so poignant to me because it was written just 2 months before she was arrested (4 August 1944):
I would love to go to Paris for a year and London for a year to learn the language and study art historyAnne Frank, 6 May 1944
We had to take a COVID antigen test, which is still required to return to the U.S. We had purchased tests from eMed for a ‘simple’ online process. We couldn’t get our passwords to work despite multiple tries. I was in a bit of a panic because time was running out and called the hotel front desk. They directed us to a nearby Snelkliniek and we were able to make an appointment for that afternoon. We got our results via email in 30 minutes and the service was excellent.
Note: It is a true miracle that our antigen tests were negative! We were in lots of crowded indoor settings during our journey and masks were rarely used by anyone but us.
I had some trepidation that we would be able to successfully navigate this journey and deal with the inevitable glitches, COVID 19, and the ongoing war in Ukraine, but we did fine! And we are so happy we took the plunge!
That being said, the Europe we saw was crowded with tourists, even this early in the season. Everyone seems to be trying to make up for lost time. I can’t even imagine what the summer months are going to be like!
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.Mark Twain