Saturday, February 13, 2016

Day #3 Amsterdam Canal Cruise & Ann Frank House

Today started well with chaperones giving everyone a wake-up knock at 6:30am. The hotel provided a delicious breakfast of eggs, pancakes, croissants, juices, strong strong coffee, fruits, meat & cheese platters, tomatoes with cheese, cappuccino, and bacon.  The fresh butters from the farm and every variety of Nutella was especially nice.  This was a nice message left for us by the hotel staff:

We loaded our pink EF bus at 8:30am for our hour trip back into Amsterdam. Like I said you cannot miss our bus anywhere! 

                   A small group of 3 students and one chaperone from New York were added to our larger group. This is common on some EF tours. They have been great. Small world. One of the students has been accepted to WPI right in Worcester. 

Upon entering the city we had a guided tour director jump aboard our bus and a short city bus tour. We did a ton of walking yesterday and it was cold today. It was nice to see the city from the comfort of our bus for another hour.  We got out quickly to take pictures at one of the oldest and largest windmills in Amsterdam. Didn't thin we would see flamingoes in the Netherlands but there they were at the zoo. We also saw some beautiful houseboats. Houseboats are found all over Amsterdam and are extremely expensive to own. 

                                              Houseboat on the Amstel River

After our short bus tour we had 30 minutes of free time to grab some snacks, coffee, water, and check out one of the many market places in the city.  Every time I walk by one of these vending machines I am pretty amazed. All over Amsterdam are these large vending machine type storefronts with hamburgers and hot sandwiches in them.  No one has tried one yet. 

The highlight of the day was visiting the Ann Frank House museum. When we pulled up it was shocking to see the amount of people waiting in line. We were told the line can stretch over a mile and the wait can be anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. Luckily we had a reservation. 

Richard and Riley doing their best to not act like I am taking their picture. The line behind them at the Ann Frank House went on forever. 

The Ann Frank House is a special place. To walkthrough and see the exact rooms and hidden areas that Ann Frank and her family hid in for 2 years during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands was really a big experience. The tour itself is self-paced and there are videos, walls filled with information, and original pieces everywhere. The fact that the Franks and some extended friends (totaling 8 people) were able to hide in an annex for 2 years with only a few outside helpers was amazing. While the story ends sadly as they are all captured and only Ann's father Otto survives the concentration camps the museum does an excellent job of showing just how talented a writer Anne was at such a young age. 

Anne's actual diary. She wrote so much over 2 years she filled it up and started adding loose leaf papers which are also preserved. Luckily one of the secretaries of the business saved her diary and pages after her capture. 

                                              Some pictures of Anne. She started writing her diary at age 13 and was eventually captured in 1944 at the age of 15. Dying shortly after in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945 along with sister. 

            This movable book case led from the business front to the secret annex. Not even the workers in the business knew of the Frank's living behind this wall. 

After the museum and a quick lunch our group took a canal cruise on the Amstel River.  

A time-lapsed video of our Canal Cruise 

Another boat passing us 

        One of the old wooden battleships on the harbor during our cruise. The detail in the wood work is amazing. 

Finally our dinner tonight. Some lean meat chili with chick peas and white rice and fresh sour cream. Mint water and a rocky road dessert. All delicious. 

After dinner an hour back to the hotel for 7pm. Some free time in the hotel and back in rooms for 930 room check. A favorite pass time for the students is hitting the charging station to charge phones...

Another great day. The kids have been awesome. Our final day and night in Amsterdam. Off to Antwerp and Brussels, Belgium in the morning. 

Here is sophomore Ashley Valentine's take on the day:

After waking up at to get ready, we went to floor one (not to be confused with floor zero) and ate mini pancakes and breads we didn't know the names of. At 830 we boarded the massive hot pink bus once again and picked up our temporary tour guide, Gherwin, G-Dog for short. As we drove around for a good thirty minutes, G-Dog gave us some good facts about churches in the area, the Red Light District, and even older windmills.  Following that, we went to the Waterloo markets, similar to flea markets, and I bought a braided bracelet for myself and one for my sister. 

After the markets, we drove to the Anne Frank Huise (House). Her story was brave and I was interested in being able to see the bookcase that hid the door to their secret annex. 

We visited the cafĂ© and I enjoyed a poppy seed muffin, as one does, then glanced through the bookshop briefly. Some of us took a picture on a bench that we thought was in The Fault In Our Stars movie, which sadly we were misinformed about. A few of us pet a golden retriever lying down nearby while we waited for our bus to drive us to our cruise. The canal cruise brought us through most of the outer canals of Amsterdam and a large freshwater lake called the "A". 

Subsequently, we went to "Drover's Dog", an Australian restaurant with a wifi password that politely asks that there be no cats. The food was delightful and surely enough, Thomas (our bus driver) was ready to drive us to our hotel again. Still feeling the jetlag, we all did a weird power jog to the hotel lobby to get warm and ready for bed. 

We will drive to Antwerp and Brussels tomorrow, for now we sleep. 

Till next time. Thanks for reading. 



  1. Sounds like everyone is having a great time! Such a powerful experience visiting the Anne Frank House. Enjoy.

  2. Sounds like everyone is having a great time! Such a powerful experience visiting the Anne Frank House. Enjoy.