Earlier this month I took my first ever trip to Amsterdam to visit my friend Carys whose studying there. I chose a weekend which ended up being grey and miserable (obvs) but we made the most of it. After a 5:30am start I was pretty dead by the time I arrived at Amsterdam Central Station so I went straight back to her studio before heading to the American lunchroom and bakery,De Drie Graefjes. The lunchroom is super quaint and actually has veggie options – a refreshing change compared to eating out in France.
Carys is one of the most naturally warm and easygoing people I know, so I knew that she’d be the perfect host and I was right. After lunch she showed me the main sights around Dam Square, including the Red Light District which was less shocking than I thought it would be.
Anne Frank’s House
I’d booked a ticket to see Anne Frank’s house for the next morning. I have to be honest, I was disappointed by the whole experience. Having read her diary when I was younger I expected a moving tribute to the family. Instead, the extensive museum surrounding the house becomes a history lesson, the majority of which you have to go around in single file, making it difficult to appreciate the content on offer. The house itself was undoubtedly fascinating and eerie, but there is no reconstruction of the living conditions of the family and the attic is off bounds. The worst part was the huge gift shop tagged onto the end. I accept that museums need to make revenue however some of the items on sale were just in poor taste. For example, the fact that you can buy your own replica Anne Frank diary. I can’t help but feel that this takes away from the powerful story of the Frank family.
Next, we headed over to the Jordaan area of the city. Jordaan is a historically working class area of Amsterdam which was eventually gentrified and is home beautifully kept properties along with quirky shops. It’s the perfect place wander around the canals aimlessly.
Lastly we went to have a look around De Pjip. It’s an ‘edgier’ part of the city, think Shoreditch but a lot more chilled out. While we were there we made a stop at United Pancakes for tea and traditional Dutch pancakes. As it was getting dark several of the bars were illuminated by outdoor heaters accompanied by sofas and piles of blankets which made for the cosiest set up (take note, England).