Friday 27th September 2019Edinburgh – Amsterdam

As John Denver once sang, “My bags are packed and I am ready to go”…..the reason for this is…..I am “Leaving on a Jet Plane”.

So we’re off on an adventure to Vietnam and Cambodia but firstly we are sneaking in a quick whistle stop tour of Amsterdam, a city that we visited a couple of years ago and loved.Very rarely do we go back to a place we have previously been as the world is a massive place and I want to see and do as much as I can before it get darks!However due to flight times/stopovers it was just the excuse we needed to visited this city we wanted to explore again.So Amsterdam is the capital and most populous city of the Netherlands.It’s truly a cycling city, which on my first visit mesmerised me and I felt envious of their transport systems especially the roads that cater for cyclists of all ages.

Bicycles outnumber residents in Amsterdam.

There’s an estimated 881,000 bikes for 811,000 people.

Everyone cycles in Amsterdam…it’s invigorating and amazing!It is also full of gentle canals which make the perfect back drop to explore so many options from the historic buildings, beautiful museums, boat tours on the canals, shopping, or just simply to wander.This is a city known for its exquisite architecture, and the narrow houses that line Amsterdam’s canals are so exquisite.Many of these stunning examples of architecture, date back to when building tax was calculated by the width of a property’s façade.

We visited the smallest house in Amsterdam – Singel 7 – it’s just under two metres wide!!Inside Singel 7I also love Amsterdam’s tolerance and diversity.One place I wanted to re-visit was the Anne Frank House.The last time I visited here I was touched so much by what I saw and read.Although I had previously known the history of Anne Frank visiting her actual home, seeing the bookcase, the cramped attic, the small confinement of where these people lived, reading extracts from her original diary and seeing her original diary touched my heart.

I could not even begin to comprehend what these people must have went through.It was from here that Anne Frank, only 15 years old at the moment of her death, wrote her famous diary.The museum tells the story of how for more than two years Anne Frank and her family lived in the annex of the building at Prinsengracht 263 where Anne’s father, Otto Frank, also had business.The Van Pels family and Fritz Pfeffer, two other Jewish families hid there with them from the persecution of the Nazis.

The office personnel knew of their hiding place and helped the eight people by supplying them with food and news of the outside world.On August 4th, 1944, the hiding place was betrayed and the hidden people were deported to various concentration camps.

Only Otto Frank survived the war.

Anne Frank’s House across the canalIt is a place I would definitely recommend to anyone travelling to Amsterdam and I can assure you your experience will be one never to be forgotten…the rooms although empty (Otto wanted them to remain this way as the Nazi’s had taken everything from them), still breath the atmosphere of that period of time.We also paid a visit to the Van Gogh museum which draws some 2 million visitors each year and boasts the biggest quantity of his painting under one roof.Vincent Van Gogh was a nineteenth-century Dutch Post-Impressionist painter who I studied at school.

His work had a huge impact on twentieth-century art although he was little appreciated in his lifetime, selling just one single piece of work.

His work however is definitely an acquired taste!We wandered, we ate, we drank coffee and we wandered some more.Situated in De Wallen (the city’s medieval centre) the neon-lit red-light district leaves little to the imagination.

This small collection of cobblestone streets is the main hub of the country’s legal prostitution industry.We then visited Dam Square, Amsterdam’s most famous Square.

As the site of the Royal Palace, Dam Square often holds events of national importance.

The National Monument, commemorating those who died during the Second World War is here also.

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