Published: June 16th 2012June 15th 2012
Touristy cheese shop ... but we tasted a lot and bought rounds of aged gouda and truffle gouda
Our pre-purchased tickets to visit the Anne Frank house and museum at 11AM were early enough to get us up and going in the morning without being too rushed. The rain had arrived as promised, so we got on our rain gear and headed out in search of breakfast. The light, intermittent rain wasn’t much of a bother and we made our way to a pastry shop for a simple and quick breakfast. Our croissants and jam were quite good and we managed to enjoy them despite the surly waitress. We finished the short walk to the Anne Frank house and arrived right on time for our entry, walking right past the long line for tickets and into the museum. The museum is very well laid out. One enters at the ground level and starts the tour in the rooms of the jam factory that took up most of the building, learning about the events of the time and the people who helped hide the Franks. Eventually you make your way up to the Secret Annex where the Franks stayed in hiding for over two years. The annex itself is unfurnished and empty as requested by Otto Frank, the only family
member to survive the war. He felt this was important to symbolize what was lost. Dioramas show how the rooms were furnished during the years that the Franks and another family hid in the rooms that were hidden in the top of the building. All the windows are covered over, leaving the visitor yearning for light and helping to recreate the feeling that young Anne must have had while she was locked away without access to sunlight for over two years in this house in its lovely location right on the Prinsengracht canal. Exiting the Secret Annex, we entered the museum and learned about what happened to the Franks after being arrested by the Nazis. This visit built on what we learned about the holocaust during last year’s trip to Budapest and Prague, but learning about the experience of the Franks offered a deeply personal view of the horrors of the time. We exited the museum and headed out toward the Jordaan district, stopping first in the “Museum of Cheese” which is a thinly-disguised cheese shop. The cheese samples were abundant and tasty and we didn’t leave empty-handed. The Jordaan district was very quiet (perhaps last night’s party-goers were still
Dancing in the Rain
Andrew found this raised platform and decided to show off his dance skills
in bed?) and we wound our way through streets and canals in this neighborhood, eventually turning back towards the center of town in search of lunch. The service at the café we found was much friendlier than our breakfast stop, but very slow. After a too-leisurely lunch break, we headed towards the flower market, stopping along the way to acquire more cheese. The flower market was quite stunning with much to see and photograph, and we made a mental note to order tulips from Holland on-line when we are back home. We continued wandering somewhat aimlessly and stumbled upon a store that sold all manner of items for applying and stamping wax seals upon envelopes. The old world charm was too much for Andrew to resist and he now owns a supply of wax and an “A” stamp that you may see on letters you receive from him. A bit further along in our walk, the intermittent drizzle turned abruptly into a torrential downpour and we sought shelter under a narrow awning. That worked until the wind changed directions and we were again getting soaked. We jogged down the street and took shelter in a shopping mall. Inside, a glass
Vendors sell tulip bulbs and other seeds and roots. Impressive selection!
elevator on an angle (“inclinator”) was too cool to resist and we took a trip to the top floor café to look around. The rain had abated and we headed home to unwind for a bit before dinner. After a refreshing break we headed back towards Centraal Station to ogle at the multi-story bicycle garage. We then headed back towards the Jordaan district for dinner. Café Restaurant de Reiger, selected by Sonia from the guide book, turned out to be an excellent choice. Tables were readily available when we arrived at 7:30, but within thirty minutes the place was packed. Many restaurants (including this one) don’t take credit cards and John had to go on a bit of an adventure hike to obtain more Euros to pay for dinner. We passed on the tempting dessert menu and found more kid-friendly dessert on the way home (ironically, at the same café where we had obtained breakfast from the grumpy waitress earlier in the day, but now being run by a friendly young man). Back at the hotel we followed the same wind-down routine as the previous day. The sun sets so late here, about 10 PM, it is hard to get
to sleep at a reasonable hour.
There are more photos below