Monday, October 25, 2010

I Was Gonna Go to Class, but then I...Went to Amsterdam

We had to leave our hostel in Paris at 5am so we could make our train around 7. We were lucky to get the train because the day before the trains had been canceled because of the strikes. So, we got on the train and promptly fell asleep. We woke up right in time for our stop. When we got off the train, we looked for the subway to get to the hostel but couldn't find it. When we asked the tourist information where to go, they informed us that we were not in Amsterdam. We had gotten off the train 45 minutes away from Amsterdam in Rotterdam. So, we had to take a commuter train to Amsterdam.

It was even colder than Paris -- and rainy! In addition, when we got to the hostel, we learned that it was a Christian Youth Hostel. It was quite a surprise. We dropped our bags and went out. While at a nearby cafe, we discussed where we would like to go and decided on the Torture Museum. It was kind of hard to find, especially because Beth and I were kind of tired from the trip. We walked around a bit and passed a huge tulip market. Finally, we found the torture museum. It was super creepy but also really cool. Their collection included a rack and an iron maiden. From there, we explored a little more.

While exploring, we also learned that our Christian Youth Hostel was about half a block from the red light district, so we had to walk through it to get almost everywhere. It was so strange! The women are all in lingerie, standing behind glass doors. It was kind of surreal. After we went to the torture museum, we went to get some ribs at one of the many Argentinian barbecue restaurants followed by some Dutch apple pie. Then, we decided to go to the Erotica Museum in the Red Light District. Honestly, we were curious, and hoped it would be an actual museum. We were wrong. It was actually just four floors of pornographic pictures. Back to the hostels and to bed.

The next day, we met this women in the cafeteria during breakfast who gave us a bunch of recommendations for good museums. First, we went to the Jewish Heritage Museum, which was really interesting, then we went to the Anne Frank House. On the way, we stopped at this really old pre-WWII movie theater. All the wood was engraved and gorgeous. The Anne Frank House was obviously depressing. The most haunting thing was seeing the piece of wallpaper still marked in pencil where the kids' growth was measured. The museum was also really inspiring. At the end there was
a section about Anne's father Otto Frank who started the museum and was the only one in hiding to have survived the war. This section said that the museum was not only about Anne, nor was it all about the Holocaust. He started it to remind people of the damage that hatred and prejudice can do. The museum is meant to remind us also that prejudice still exists in the world and that we need to remedy that.

From the Anne Frank House, we got some food, some more apple pie and went to a Jazz Cafe. We had tried to go to a Jazz Cafe in Rome, but it turned out just to be a pizzeria with a trumpet mounted on the wall. This one was different. It was a real Jazz Cafe with a live band and Beth were front row. It was awesome!

Next stop -- Barcelona....

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