Individual Days - Netherlands

Amsterdam

September 11, 2023

Our group tour started by taking an early train to Amsterdam. There we met our local guide, Ronald. He took us on a historic street tour of Amsterdam.

Amsterdam Centraal

Frank House & Westerkerk

The Westerkerk (western church) is a Dutch Protestant Calvinism reformed church. Rembrandt is buried at Westerkerk.

This is also the church where the Frank family attended. The church is very close to the Frank House. When Anne was in hiding, she could hear the tower bells. While they irritated the others, Anne writes in her diary that it gave her comfort to hear the church bells ring.

Otto, Anne’s father, was a decorated veteran. He fought for Germany in the First World War. It is just amazing to think that the Nazis turned against loyal German citizens. Otto was the only member of the family to survive.

Westerkerk
Statue of Anne Frank
Front door to the Frank house
Frank House

Dam Square

We walked past the Royal Palace to Dam Square. There we discussed two memorials. The first is one that most people will miss. On the sidewalk, the cobblestones are replaced by names. At the end of World War II, the Netherlands had been liberated. People took to the streets to celebrate. Unfortunately, there was a group of Nazis in one of the buildings. When a Nazi soldier was shot and killed when he wouldn’t give up his weapon, the soldiers in the building came out to the balcony and opened fire on the crowd below. Thirty-one people died, many of them Jews. Their names have been added to the sidewalk where they died. The second memorial was the National Memorial Statue which was built in memory of Dutch soldiers and resistance members who died in World War II.

Outside of Royal Palace

Continued our walking tour until we arrived at our Canal Boat Ride.

Canal Boat Ride

We got to take a break from walking. A great opportunity to see the city from a different perspective.

Rijksmuseum

Marianne guided our group through the Rijksmuseum. We started at The Night Watch. It is being tested for any areas that need repairs. Currently, the artwork is not framed and is displayed behind glass. Our guide explained each of the characters and the action between them. There is a replica of this piece. In it we can see a couple more characters on the left side of the painting. This means that someone cut the original art. That portion of the painting is lost.

Heineken Experience Museum & Rooftop Tour

Now we have the rest of the evening to ourselves in Amsterdam. The Heineken Museum is where the original brewery was located. The tour also included sitting on the rooftop patio. A nice view of Amsterdam.

Dinner & Evening Stroll

We had an amazing dinner at Restaurant Argentino Luna – an Argentinian steakhouse. The main course was so good, I started eating before taking a picture.

Argentinian Sausage with herb oil
Argentinian Filet with Peppercorn sauce

Walked through the Red Light District on our way to our final stop, Amsterdam’s Xtracold Icebar. Once inside, we were given heavy coats and gloves. To explain our voyage, we were joined by Captain Jack Sparrow. He explained that we were embarking on a Dutch expedition to search for the Northeast Passage and become stranded near the island of Novaya Zemlya. Wait a minute, Captain Jack Sparrow? Are we in the Caribbean or the arctic circle? Yeah, just suspend logic and go with the story… Next, we were ushered into a room where everything is made of ice – the walls, tables, even the glasses. The temperature is kept at 15° F. Captain Jack said to keep warm we must drink up – Heineken and assorted flavored vodkas (no rum). Proost!!

We walked 9.9 miles today.

Vaarwel Amsterdam! In the morning, we will check out of the hotel and head to our next destination… Germany.

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