We sped down the tracks looking out the train window as my travel companion and I were headed to Amsterdam. I couldn’t take my eyes away from the emerald countryside of the fields and little farm houses that surrounded us. Once we arrived, we stored our baggage in the train station lockers to take a quick look around because our host wouldn’t be home until 1 pm. It was nine in the morning and we had been traveling since 5 am; we decided the first this to do was grab an espresso and croissant in a café. From there we called our host to give him notice of our arrival.
Going to Amsterdam we were heading to our first Couchsurfing experience.
It was a nerve racking feeling heading to a strangers house to sleep on his couch. Luckily, I wasn’t alone, but of course, all my worst fears were rolling around in my head. The idea of sleeping on strangers couch for free seemed a little crazy.
After our European breakfast we took a short tug boat ride across a river and five blocks away we were standing in front of our temporary living space. Our host was very friendly and told us to make ourselves at home. We spent about an hour talking and introducing ourselves. Noticing how exhausted we were he left to meet up with some friends, and we fell asleep. We ended up not seeing very much of our host. And since we were only staying two nights we took that time to get lost in a new city.
We spent the Next two days of our stay exploring this sweet little Dutch city.
Imagine it. It’s a fresh brisk day and the town is awake with tides of bicyclists pedaling to get to their next destination. The network of canals weaving through the city is amazing. Looking over the street edge I see a water canal lined with tiny fishing boats. It originated as a fishing town, later became a booming trade spot and a leading center for finance and diamonds. The city is alive and as I head down the street I can admire the sweet little shops and cafes lined on either side of the road. Around lunch time we head to a pub where we ordered a couple of beers.
Sitting outside in front of the pub we were feeling good about how far we had come, and proud of how we managed to fly to London and make our way to the mainland of the EU. After a week of being in England, it wasn’t until we sat down here that we began to understand, it was just the beginning of a great trip. Once we were done reveling in our accomplishments, we discussed our day. In the end, we decided to just get lost. We knew we wanted to see the house of Anne Frank and of course, we had to check out a proper Amsterdam café. But for most of the day, we strolled along the canals soaking in the European surroundings and crisp air.
Feeling the excitement of being in this beautiful surrounding we headed to the nearest cafe to smoke our first legal joint. Coming from the states where marijuana is secretly soically accpected it felt strange to be sitting in a public cafe smoking weed. We split a joint between the two of us, laughing the whole time. The cafe was a bit empty and we figured it would be nice to walk around the city and enjoy the lovely day ahead of us. We sat for a while on a park bench people watching and taking in the triumph of our journey so far. A little after 1 pm we decided to continue our exploration.
Eventually, we headed to Anne Frank Haus.
I am very fascinated with World War II history so I was very happy I got to go to the historical site of Anne Franks origins. It was a long line to get in and the price for admission is as follows:
Adults: euro 9,-
Age 10-17: euro 4,50
Age 0-9: free
Online ticket: €0.50 surcharge.
Once we finally got in we took the full tour and got to see the rooms where the family hid and lived for two years. To be honest I was surprised at how large the rooms were. I had always imaged a small attic where the roof was too low to stand upright in but there was quite a bit of space. However, it must be noted that two families lived here with furnishings and personal items. I’m sure even with these rooms it would have been incredibly difficult to live within four walls for two years. At the end of the tour, there were clips of Otto Frank projected onto a screen talking about his family. By the time we reached the end of our tour the emotions were running high and we figured we needed to grab a drink.
We walked around until we stumbled upon a warm tavern with smells of hardy foods wafting our way. We walked in, shaking off the nippy night air and ordered tomato soup and fish and chips. It really hit the spot and warmed us up.
Full of warm food and feeling drowsy we headed back to our Couchsurfing home eager to get to our beds. We took the boat back across the bay and walked to the apartment. It was here we came to our first obstacle. The key we had would not unlock the door! We tried for at least and hour to unlock the door. All we wanted was our beds and a good nights sleep. With our host out for the evening, we sat defeated. Finally, a very friendly couple happened to walked by and saw we were sitting on the doorstep looking miserable. They were kind enough to show us the two other locks at the top and bottom of the door. We made some jokes about them not helping two thieves get into someones home and we bid them a fond and thankful farewell. It wasn’t long before we were in bed giggling over the first grim situation we had encountered.