LODGING WE LOVE: Ibis hotels—we stayed in these often! good prices, clean rooms, and a front desk person (we really like hotels over apartment rentals/BnBs because of the front desk person. We’ve had a few mis-steps with Air BnB rentals … Continue reading
We took off from Cinque Terre for the other coast–and the magic of Venice. It was about a 6 hour train ride from the La Spezia station with a brief stop at a local station to change trains. Arrival in … Continue reading
After a year of bemoaning the fact that we no longer live in a tourism mecca, I decided that finding places to go in the United States might be a viable way to scratch the travel itch. And it just … Continue reading
After a restful sleep, we rolled out of our farmhouse late in the morning destined for Amsterdam. Saskia recommended we park at the ArenA, a large parking/shopping area outside of the city with easy access to public transport. For 8euro, we were able to park all day and get a metro pass for all of us into the city.
We spilled out of Amsterdam Central Station near 11am with thousands of other tourists and made our way down to the canals for a boat cruise of the city. The sun was shining bright through big fluffy clouds and the 1 hour tour gave us a good overview of the city’s development and major architectural highlights. I enjoyed looking at the different gables on top of the tall narrow homes that line the canals.
Our next stop for the day was the Dutch Resistance Museum (located near the zoo). The focus of the museum is the efforts of the Dutch to combat the Nazi party during WWII. Tim pointed out a special display devoted to Abraham Kuyper which included his copy of the Heidelberg Catechism and his personal Bible. There were also quotes about the Christian Reformed Church in Holland (both positive and negative views) and its efforts to help the Jews.
The museum visit was a good preview before our visit to the Anne Frank house. Will finished reading the book hours before our showtime (we bought tickets on line indicating a time slot to see the home) and he was an excellent guide for the rest of us who have a somewhat faded memory of the diary’s highlights. In the book, Anne talks about how much she disliked the bells that rang from the church nearby and it was surprising to hear those same bells ringing at the 1/4 past the hour during our tour. We were able to walk through the secret passageway that the famous bookcase hid (bookcase is still there and propped open) and we got to climb the steep stairs leading to the top floor rooms and appreciate how tiring it would be for your legs to make that climb day in-day out for 2 years. Otto Frank determined that the house should have no furniture in it when it was opened as a museum but in 2009 the historical society placed furniture in it and photographed the rooms so visitors could imagine what it would have looked like when the family was in hiding.
We finished our full day of touring with a Rick Steves Jordaan canal walk and a satisfying meal at the Pancake Bakery, an excellent restaurant featuring that Dutch treat: the monstrous pancake. Will had a bacon pancake which came with thick slices of bacon baked in (we were expecting bacon bits) while Tim and Lauren ordered a traditional nutella pancake. I was happy with my lemon and sugar concoction and Lilly was the big winner with the “animal pancake” which came with a brand new stuffed animal Tiger to take home and love.