Friday, October 30, 2015

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

I'm not sure how I missed writing the Amsterdam post, but I did! This should be the last post from 2013, unless I find another missed 2013 adventure that I didn't post.
The trip to Amsterdam was our first trip with Explore Europe Travel, even though it wasn't called Explore Europe Travel back then (they just recently changed their name). Explore Europe Travel is what they're called now, so it's probably a good thing I can't remember their old name.
In December 2013, we left the Grafenwoehr area, and headed to Amsterdam for a "day trip", but it was really a weekend trip. We left late Friday, spend the night on the bus, had the whole day Saturday to explore Amsterdam, got back on the bus Saturday night to get home Sunday night. It was quick and fun, but was for all intents and purposes; a "weekend trip". 

We awoke early in Amsterdam! We had to wait a bit to to meet our tour guide, but luckily we got to stay warm on the bus. Since it was December, I'm glad it was a bus tour. Actually to tell you the truth, once we met up with the tour guide, I was glad it was a bus tour because I was asleep during the tour. Haha. Drew stayed up to listen to the tour, and learn some facts about the city, but I just couldn't stay awake.
Once the tour was finished we had free time on our own until 11pm! Our first stop was at the Anne Frank house. If you're not there when it opens I would suggest buying your tickets in advance. I forgot our tickets on the bus, but luckily they we able to look up our reservations. Thankfully they were even able to let us in to an earlier tour.

The Anne Frank House is a historic house and biographical museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank. The building is located at the Prinsengracht, close to the Westerkerk, in central Amsterdam in the Netherlands. For those not familiar, during World War II, Anne Frank hid from Nazi persecution with her family and four other people in hidden rooms at the rear of the 17th-century canal house, known as the Secret Annex, where she wrote in her diary about the life of her and her Jewish family hiding from the Nazi's. They were eventually discovered, and sent to a concentration camp. Anne died in the camp, shortly after their arrest. Unfortunately you are not able to take any pictures inside the Anne Frank house, but it is furnished with information tablets, diagrams, pictures, and even passages from "The Diary of Anne Frank". 
They said that after Otto Frank (Anne's father) came back after the war, he striped the house and all that is left is the actual house. For the most part, I'm glad we went. It is the 3rd most visited museum in the Netherlands!

 A canal near the Anne Frank House

Sidles' in Amsterdam December 2013

After leaving the Anne Frank house, we ended up meeting up with other friends we knew on the bus and hung out in a group the rest of the day. Usually when we travel, we do things on our own, it was nice to be in a group and hanging out. Since Amsterdam is mostly canals, instead of a hop on hop off bus tour, we did the hop on hop off boat. It is probably the best way to get around the city.

The weather in Amsterdam was actually not too bad. I thought since it was December it would be cold. Of course I still had my big winter coat on. But in the sun, it was still nice.
Our next stop was to the Hard Rock Cafe, we stopped there for lunch and a few drinks. When in Amsterdam! This is where Drew's love of the HRC started, not really because when we were younger, we would go to Orlando to hangout at city walk and eat at the HRC there, but this was the first European HRC we visited.

After leaving the HRC we headed to the "I Amsterdam" sign, it's within walking distance to the HRC and it is right next to the Van Gough museum. We thought about going to the museum, but it is so expensive and to be honest I am definitely not a museum person. So we settled for hanging out at the sign and trying to fight our way through the crowds of people that also wanted to get their picture taken here.

He was trying to help me up.

S is for Sidles!
We wandered around the streets of Amsterdam, using the hop on hop off boat tour, until we had to meet up with the tour bus. 

I can't take him anywhere!

We did make a pit stop in the Right-light District when it got dark. When in Amsterdam right? It wasn't what I was expecting, I expected to see more girls out, but then again it was only 6pm, but it was insanely busy! AND you would think given it's reputation that it would be easier to find, but there aren't any signs to direct you to the district, so you should just follow the crowds, every tourist wants to check out the Red light district!

See the crowds of people!
Although, we did see someone saying their "goodbyes" with one of the girls and a crowd of people cheering him on. I did find out some interesting information while we were there, Blue lights means that the "women" aren't exactly women, even though they may look like it! And it's only 2 euros to view a sex show...If you're interested in that type of thing. ;)

In the red light district, looks just like another street!

He was just hanging out at the end of the main road in the RLD.

Over all our time in Amsterdam was short and sweet. I hope one day we'll be able to go back, especially since we pass through the airport on our way back to the states. We had a great time in Amsterdam. It's like the Las Vegas of Europe.... what happens there, stays there! Haha.