Our last full day in Amsterdam started with a trip to the Anne Frank house – one of the biggest tourist sites in Amsterdam, and given the current political climate, an unmissable one.
We had tickets booked for 10.30am, the new ticketing system only allowing you to either pre-book tickets for visits between 9am-3pm, or risk queuing after 3pm until closing time.
There was already a sizeable queue when we arrived at 10.15, but were told we weren’t allowed to join the queue until 10.30. To battle the cold, we grabbed a tiny cup of coffee from the cafe right next to the museum. This is another one of those card only places, but having not had breakfast yet, I was willing to risk the card fees.
The house is always busy and everyone tends to shuffle around in a neat queue, but it is well worth taking your time to read and watch everything. Even if it means impatient people behind overtake you in the line.
My second visit to the house, it had as much impact on me as the first. A silently oppressive air fills the upper floors, which are reached by almost vertical staircases. Living in those rooms for over two years must have felt suffocating. And all because of the fact they were of a particular religion.
Seriously, anyone who supports Trump and what he is doing in the US really needs to brush up on history, because it is being repeated.
Next we were in dire need of lunch, it now being 12pm and having not yet eaten. We headed for the shopping centre and was served by one of the most flamboyant, friendly waiters yet. He also had traces of glitter on his face from presumably the night before which made him all the more amazing.
After lunch we hit a bit of a snag. There wasn’t much left to do on the list so we decided a wander round the shops was in order, stopping in at another cafe for afternoon snacks.
Being up that end of the city, we decided to wander up to the I Amsterdam sign, for the traditional tourist pictures. It was crazy busy, as expected, but managed to snap several pictures anyway.
We then headed back to the hotel for heat and a nap, because old and it was -2c outside. Even with all the layers, it was still bloody cold!
That night, we headed out to the Hash, Hemp and Marijuana museum. Whether you use it or not, this is honestly a fascinating and educational experience.
From the French bringing it to mainstream Europe during the colonisation period, to America’s war on drugs – read: black communities – to the wider acceptance of medicinal use again. It is really interesting to see the evolution of the product through out history. Not to mention the free photo booth with hilarious pictures which will never be uploaded on social media.
The Red Light district always seems slightly more sinister at night, and I honestly doubt I would wander there alone.
Not because of any of the shop windows, but more by that time, tourists tend to be well out of their depth with what ever substance they have decided to take, making them volatile.
We stopped in at a pizza place on the way back to the hotel for what was a surprisingly good slice, considering it was just reheated. Despite some drunk English tourists giving a bit of grief to the workers, it was another good meal in the Dam.