I woke up early on the second day in hopes of not having to wait forever to get into the Anne Frank Museum (if you ever go-which you should-make reservations online before you get there). Fortunately the line wasn’t too bad and I only had to wait 45 minutes. The museum was fantastic. It is devoid of furniture, which lets the visitor picture what it would have been like and to allow more visitors to walk through. It is a small home and former business. The museum has restored it so that it appears similar to what it must have looked like during World War II. Because of its size and the massive crowd, it is hard to really stay and just think in any one room, especially in the Secret Annex. It mainly becomes a line of people walking from plaque to plaque to get to the next room. Anne’s room is a skinny space, almost a small hallway, that is hard to really see because the line wraps all the way around. It amazed me how eight people lived in that small area for so long. Some of the artifacts that are on display are maps, books, a board game, the photos Anne glued to her wall, and her diary. It was amazing to see her handwriting, the original form of one of the most translated books in the world. There are also videos from the people that helped the families hide and brought them food and other supplies. It was truly a wonderful experience that showed so many different angles and shared so much more information. If you’ve never read the diary you get a basic overview but if you have read it, the book literally comes to life before you.

I also visited the Tulip Museum which was interesting. I always figured that they grow so many to then sell them-and boy was I wrong. They are grown for the bulbs, which makes much more sense. There are also so many varieties of tulips, it was pretty interesting. And they are also not native to Holland but rather the Middle East. They also explained how they harvest the tulip bulbs and decide which to sell and which to plant again. For lunch I went to The Pancake Bakery, which was DELICIOUS! It was basically a giant, thick crepe with toppings. I got apple and cheese, which was similar to Gouda. It was very savory and a little sweet.

That afternoon I walked around Amsterdam, taking in the beautiful architecture, canals and city sights. I went into the main Catholic Church-Saint Nicholas-which was beautifully decorated, and also had an art exhibit of portraits of homeless people. The portraits were really amazing and life like. I went into the New Church in the main plaza but it cost to go in, but I could see some of it-like a beautiful gold room or storage or something in the middle and ornate wooden pulpit. I also tried a stroopwaffel. It is made of 2 thin wafer cookies with a honey based filling in between. I got the last one of the day at the bakery I went to and it was coffee-caramel I believe, it was really good. It was a good balance of crunchy and sweet. That probably makes no sense but it was delicious none the less-and I don’t even like caramel all that much.

In the evening we went to a jazz/blues bar near the hostel. It was really fun and the band was amazing! We drank some Heinkens, which are made in Amsterdam/Holland, or were originally at least, I didn’t go to their “museum” so I’m not sure. We made some friends from around the world, danced and basically had a blast. I had forgotten how much I really do love jazz music and hope to go to a club back in New York City soon. It was a great way to end our time in Amsterdam, although it wasn’t very Dutch. Next stop is Brussels on my European adventure.