shAMSTERDAM

21 02 2011

WOW! what a weekend !! I just returned from AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS. A place that I have watched a multitude of documentaries around and have heard many stories about this wonderful city.  I have listened to story and after story from my friends, grandparents, aunts , uncles and cousins about AMSTERDAM. Each of them had their own experience and  story to share with me.

My Grandfather had told me about how the MEN AND WOMEN were both extremely TALL there. He said that ALL of the women there were towering over him – he is about six feet tall (he’s been shrinking hehe). I figured this out very quickly and noticed that all of the people around me in the train station were at lest 1 and a half feet taller than I was. They were looking at life from an ENTIRE different viewpoint that what I was! These TALL people would never have any trouble trying to find their friends in a large crowd.As my friends and I wandered around the streets of AMSTERDAM, I came to the conclusion that maybe the DUTCH were SO TALL because of their means of TRANSPORTATION.

TRANSPORTATION is commonly the root of how a city runs, in AMSTERDAM you have many options of how you would like to make your communte each day around the city: walk, cab, drive, BIKE, ride down the CANALS on a boat, tram, and train. The main form of TRANSPORTATION in AMSTERDAM is BIKING. I would say it is safe to say that EVERY single person in AMSTERDAM owns a BIKE! Before arriving in AMSTERDAM, I met 2 boys who are studying abroad in AMSTERDAM and they shared their story with me. They were saying how EVERYONE rides BIKES, and how cars and cabs are uncommon. Cab drivers rip you off and try to make you feel like you are an idiot ( this is my own personal story). The boys recommended that we purchase a BIKE from a junkie on our first day there, and use it as a means of TRANSPORTATION. We chose to not listen to the boys because 1. we would never be able to keep up with the professional BIKERS of AMSTERDAM and 2. we wanted to walk around the city, catch it in all of its glory (taking our time to stop and take photos) , as well as ride down the CANALS. Because their main form of TRANSPORTATION does not involve sitting in a car – their bodies are in motion more often. I think that the BIKE’s stretch out their legs which makes the locals SO TALL. Otherwise, the locals are walking around walking around which is also great exercise for themselves.I heard that Mac’s Bike Tour was the best one to take in order to see the entire city. Like I said before, the professional bikers of AMSTERDAM kept us away from taking the BIKE tour.

The opposite of getting a good work out would be EATING EXCESSIVELY. Let me tell you one of my favorite parts of my  AMSTERDAM story is about all of the AMAZING FOOD I ate over the weekend. First of all I fell deeply in LOVE with Stroopwafel’s – which are palm sized caramel wafer cookies! OMG they are UNREAL- I averaged about 20-25 of these wafers a DAY, NO JOKE.  We stayed at the Marriott Hotel which was heavenly, because they would give us an UNLIMITED amount of individually packed wafer‘s at the front desk- i seriously took advantage of this! I also bought 3 boxes of them at the Supermarket. I reallyy LOVED them. My best friend from home Jaclyn, told me all of her AMSTERDAM stories about a month ago when she traveled there. Her story revolved around a restaurant called  THE PANCAKE BAKERY. She raved about the FOOD there as the DUTCH are known for their stroopwafers , PANCAKES as well as FRENCH FRIES. DELICIOUS! My friends and I found ourselves dining at THE PANCAKE BAKERY 3x during our weekend trip! It was better than she even described it! One of the pancake options was called a “Princess Pancake”- the powdered sugar and candy filled pancake came with a Tiara and Wand! My other friends stuck to more traditional PANCAKES and ordered nutella and banana PANCAKES. This is a FAMOUS PANCAKE restaurant, and my FAVORITE CELEBRITY has even been!! I think Paris Hilton really knows what is going on and where the HOT spot to be is! So I trusted her along with my best friend Jaclyn and traveled to THE PANCAKE BAKERY. With wanted to be known world wide, the restaurant has to have a WEBSITE – what would a restaurant be without a properly functioning WEBSITE.

If you want to check out more information about THE PANCAKE BAKERY aka the best PANCAKE place in the ENTIRE world probably, look at this website :  http://www.pancake.nl Here you can find out the history of the shop as well as pictures of what it looks inside and the MENU! One really great thing about THE PANCAKE BAKERY was that it is located about 2 blocks from the ANNE FRANK HOUSE, also known as the ANNE FRANK HUIS if you are from the Netherlands. This is a central spot for tourism and locals to know of, so if you needed some help with directions, all you had to do was ask which way to the Anne Frank House– and you would be on your path to the heavenly PANCAKE BAKERY. When we were finished with our delicious and heavenly PANCAKES we made our way to the Anne Frank House.

Anne Frank’s House was something that I have heard about since I was a very young girl. As a Jew, we learn about the HOLOCAUST at a young age and are educated on many aspects of it. One of the first stories we are told is that from the Diary of Anne Frank. Her story is one of the most famous stories that was able to survive the Holocaust. To walk through the place that she had grown, lived and hide in gave my entire body the chills. Seeing and touching what I had read and learned about for 15 years of my life was absolutely incredible. To see her physical DIARY pages and notebooks, it was just WOW so surreal. To listen to videos and replay her story in my mind was insightful. We have all had our struggles, but nothing compares to those of the Holocaust. THIS WAS A 5 star TRIP!!!! can’t wait to go back !!!!!

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