Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Amsterdam Recap: Day One

On Friday evening, Nicole and I jet-setted off to Amsterdam. Our plane was delayed, so we did not get to our hotel around 10pm. We ordered room service and crashed, so we could get a good head start on the tourist activities.

Saturday, we started off getting our I.am.sterdam passes. These passes were for 48 hours and allowed us free or discount admission to a lot of museums and exhibits. From there, we grabbed breakfast.  I had the apple strudel...it was vacation after all!

Apple Studel
Our first stop of the day was to check out Dam Square where the Palace is located! It was a quick walk from where we had breakfast, and it was already buzzing for the day!

Palace
From there, we headed to the Anne Frank House. As we anticipated, the line was quite long as we had not bought pre-sale tickets. Note to those headed to Amsterdam in the near future, buy your tickets ahead of time. While we only waited an hour, it was a bit chilly. It reminded me of all those games at Syracuse I waited outside for.


You couldn't take photos inside the house, but the tour brought you through all four levels. Starting in the warehouse to the office and then up to the areas of the secret annex. While the furniture had been removed and some modern things added, the posters Anne had put on her wall were there along with a few other goods that were left by the occupants. From there, the museum focuses towards what happened after they were captured and sent to concentration camps.

While the Van Gogh Museum was under renovation, some of his paintings were on display at the Hermitage Museum which is where we headed next. Luckily, we got to walk along the canals for part of the journey across town.  The views were incredible. I know I live along the Great Union Canal in London, but nothing compares to the system of canals that Amsterdam has.



At the Hermitage Museum, the temporary Van Gogh exhibit featured seven themes from his life. Again, no photos were allowed. But, we did get to see the famous Sunflowers, several of his self-portraits, and many of the landscapes that he painted in his later life.

With our passes, we got to take a river cruise on the canals. After stopping for a mid-day snack and coffee, we boarded the hour cruise through the harbor and the famous canals. While the commentary was limited, we got to see much more of the city that we would not have gotten to see without the cruise.

Leaning Houses 
Sunset
For dinner, we had some traditional Dutch food before heading home for the evening. The first day was jammed pack with trying to see some of the major sights, but well worth the fatigue! Stay tuned for day two re-cap tomorrow!