Started my journey to Israel with a security guard in Minnesota. I was stiff, nervous, and clueless… and he could tell. He asked, “You don’t travel much do you?” I mumbled no, realizing that I stick out like a sliver in my own state. Gotta work on that.
My flight arrived in Amsterdam at 1pm today, which was really 6am for the midwest. I sat next to a 70 year old woman named Rosemary who asked a lot of questions and had a lot of answers. One of these questions was what I will do during my layover. I mentioned that I thought it would be great to see the Anne Frank house. And that was the beginning of our 5 hour trip to the city of Amsterdam. I never could have made it on my own. We got lost or misguided dozens of times. We’d take a few steps in the guided direction, and suddenly stop after 30 seconds and realize that we had no clue as to if we were still going the right way. So she would ask for help. And she continually asked for help; tapping people on the shoulder and walking up to people I would have immediately pinned down as inapproachable. She asked a man on the train one question, which turned into 20 questions, and he finally agreed to guide us to where we needed to go after we got off the train. I never would have done that.
But it worked. We saw the Anne Frank house, (they pronounce Anne like my name, Anna, which I like) had some great fried fish, had a chocolate croissant and an Amstel on tap. The line to get in the house was rather long, and I found myself climbing 4 or 5 flights of stairs. With each flight, the stairs narrowed. Couldn’t actually believe I was there. It was a big thing for me as a kid to come see this place- I had read her diary and felt very inspired by her story.
Things I noticed:
-There are so many bikes and bikers! They have special lanes and stop lights for bikes! There was a literal parking garage for bikes. Three stories high just packed with bicycles side by side. Needless to say, I fell in love with it.
-People were pretty darn nice.
-Life is expensive with Euros.
-Its beautiful here with all of the architecture and water canals flowing through the city.
-It seems as though most people we talked to would end it with “buh bye!” Its kind of funny to hear a man say buh bye.
Thanks for a good time Amdam.