Tuesday, August 12, 2014


      Without a doubt, my favorite part of our two-week Europe trip was our time spent in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, my family and I were only able to spend a day in the city, but luckily, this day served as a preview for what will hopefully be my study abroad experience next summer! 
      My family and I woke up early for the drive from Antwerp, Belgium to Amsterdam, and the first thing we did after parking was to wait in the line for the Anne Frank House. A visit to the restored building where the Frank family stayed in hiding is something I believe everyone should do during their time in this city. I read the Diary of Anne Frank when I was ten, and I've been keeping a journal myself ever since. While reading my own old journals causes me to question why anyone has ever chosen to be my friend, I can honestly say that reading Anne's has had a deep impact on my life. I am amazed at her spirit and kindness and her attitude towards mankind, and to be able to see the setting of where it all took place is something I am so grateful for. For me, the most moving part of my visit to the Anne Frank House was a video of her father, Otto Frank, discussing what it was like to find this journal after he had lost his entire family at Auschwitz, for him to explain how incredulous he was at the complexity of his daughter's thoughts and at how hard she was on herself. I cannot recommend a visit to the house enough, and while no photography is allowed within the building, here is a view from the outside:
      After the visit to the Anne Frank House, I quickly purchased a postcard and grabbed lunch at a cafĂ© overlooking a canal. 
My aunt ordered paninis from my brother, cousin, and I and I can honestly say that this was the best panini I have ever had. I also made a point to order some Dutch pancakes, which were delicious as well:

      We walked around for a bit and took some pictures of the canals:

      I also visited the Van Gogh Museum, which I absolutely loved. I grabbed a couple postcards, which now serve as the perfect addition to my freshly-painted room. Next, we headed toward Noordemarkt, which is a sort of outdoor flea market. I didn't find anything for myself, but my dad grabbed some pretty good Dutch cheese.
       We ended our trip to the Netherlands with a visit to Zaanse Schans, an area of old windmills and houses just outside the city. Something I loved about Amsterdam is that unlike many other cities, it has the perfect balance of city-life and nature. I loved the canals and the fact that so many people use bicycles to get around. I absolutely love the culture and overall feel of the city, and I love that Zaanse Schans offers a view of country life just a short distance away form the city.
       Did I miss anything I need to see during what will hopefully be my next summer abroad? Please let me know!
~ V

All pictures taken by Virali. Please ask permission before using.

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