Saturday, May 18, 2013

Lines, lines, and more lines. Oh, and the Anne Frank House.

Shortly after we woke up the power came back on, so no ninja phone flashlight showers for us this morning. We got dressed, grabbed breakfast in the hotel, and managed to get in line for the Anne Frank house before it opened at 9am. It's a good thing we showed up so early; we still had to wait in a pretty long line to get in.

The house is just a bit to the right, out of the picture. We're finally almost in!

Looking up at Westerkerk from the line. You could hear the bells from our hotel, seemed like it was chiming nonstop.

You can't take any pictures inside and I wasn't about to disrespect anyone by sneaking some. As part of the tour you actually pass through the original secret bookcase entry and wind your way through the same rooms that they all hid in, all of which are now empty. I was surprised by how big the space was, though I know that eight people were crammed in there for several years so I'm sure it felt smaller. In some places they had preserved the original wallpaper with things the family had posted on the walls - maps, pictures, and height marks drawn in pencil of the two girls as they grew. They also had the original red and white checked diary on display, as well several of the later books she used once that one was full. While I don't have any pictures to share, you can check out the museum's website here; they have a really neat 3D tour of the annex.

After finishing up at the Anne Frank House, we walked back to the hotel, where I made a quick phone call to confirm our plans for the next day (which you'll find out about in the next post), then we went off in search of some sort of discount ticket book/card thing that Mark had read about. It took a few tries but we eventually found a place to buy them, then we had to walk to another building to trade in one of the ticket things for a 24-hour public transportation pass. It took a while, but we finally got everything sorted out and hopped on a tram to Museumplein. Since one of the things in the ticket book was a free ticket to the Van Gogh Musuem, we figured we'd check it out.

...and this is about as close as we got to the Van Gogh Museum. Even though we had prepaid tickets, we still had to wait in a line that barely moved in the 30+ minutes we stood there. We finally gave up after it seemed like the line stopped moving completely, and since that had been our plan for the afternoon, we were at a bit of a loss as far as what to do next that wouldn't involve standing in another hour-long line. We wandered around a bit, grabbed lunch at a bagel place, then finally decided to use one of the ticket things for a free canal cruise. That we had to wait an hour to board. Mark was not happy.

Oops! Wrong picture.

Waiting for the canal cruise. Because we love waiting.

Once we got on the boat the day seemed a bit better, since we were finally doing something. The cruise winds all through the city (I have no idea how they don't get lost with how many canals there are!). 

It was pretty neat to see the city from this perspective.

At one point we even passed the Anne Frank House; it's the second one from the left, next to the one with the triangle roof and red shutters. The line to get in was even longer than it was when we were there.

The cruise went all the way out into a harbor area where the water was a bit choppy, which was kind of fun. A couple Dutch kids laughed as this boat passed by; it's a Pancake Boat, where you can cruise around while eating pancakes. Mmm, pancakes...

And because no trip would be complete without hearing kids screech the word NEEEEmo, this is NEEEEmo (or if you want to be technically correct, Nemo). It's a science center, and now that I'm reading the wiki entry about it, it actually sounds kind of interesting. This is the closest we got to it on this trip, though.

We eventually started winding back around toward the dock. It was neat to see the canal houses lined up.

We passed through a lot of these little tunnels. The boat just fit through them.

Since the canal cruise was a little ways away from our hotel, we decided to see a bit more of the city on the walk back. My map showed a flower market, so we wandered around until we found it.

There were a LOT of flowers for sale! Bulbs, potted flowers, cut flowers, bonsai trees...all sorts of stuff.

These were for sale, too. I'm sure it would go over great if I tried to bring one of these home. (I didn't!)

The stalls were all lined up along the side of the road. We wandered through most of them before heading back up to the parking lot where we'd left the car. Since it cost an arm and a leg to park in the city, we grabbed the car, moved it to the cheap parking lot, and took the metro back in to the city. By this point it was almost time to find dinner.

We walked past the Anne Frank House again on the way to dinner. You can still see the people lined up along the bottom right part of the picture, waiting to get in.

A better view of the Anne Frank House from across the canal. It's the one in the middle.

...and one last picture, looking down the canal. The house is toward the far right part of the row of canal houses.

After I took about thirty pictures of the Anne Frank House, we made our way down the street for dinner. You know what's down the street from the Anne Frank House?

The Pancake Bakery!! I had a pancake with tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, pesto, and mozzarella. And a beer. Pancakes and beer are a good combination.

Mark was feeling ambitious and managed to put away two pancakes! I had a hot chocolate with whipped cream and rum for dessert, but helped out with a couple bites of the dessert pancake he got.

And of course, the post wouldn't be complete without one last Anne Frank House picture. We walked past the house on the way back to the hotel, so I made sure to get a picture of the sign.

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