My favorite city that I visited during Forum Europe Summer 2017 is Amsterdam, Netherlands. My friend and fellow classmate, Coley, and I had planned to visit Amsterdam because both of our parents told us how neat and interesting of a place it was. In addition, we both had a lot of friends who told us Amsterdam was a “must” if traveling to Europe during the summer. We stayed at the Pulitzer Hotel, which we both LOVED! It was located right on a canal and only 100 yards away from the Anne Frank House. I really enjoyed the layout of the area we stayed in. Every block we walked took us to a new canal with shops alongside them.
Two of the most interesting things we did on this weekend excursion were tour the Anne Frank House and visit the Red Light District. First, we were lucky enough to get tickets to the Anne Frank House. A family friend had told us they sell out extremely fast but to check every night since sometimes they will put out a few tickets for the next day. We checked on Saturday night with other Forum-Nexus pals, Ashley and Victoria, and there were tickets available for all of us to go on Sunday morning! Our tour was a very moving experience. We were able to see the Annex the Frank family lived in when hiding out during World War II. The house had been preserved extremely well. There were marks on the wall from where they measured their heights, and pictures on the wall Anne had glued on. Moreover, we were able to see sections of Anne’s diary and other writings she had during her two years in the Annex. Overall, the Annex was not as small as I had expected it to be, but living in there for two years could easily change my opinion. Next, we went to visit the Red Light District on Saturday night. My older sister has visited Amsterdam before and she told us it was a “must see” part of Amsterdam. Interestingly, I felt pretty safe in the Red Light District. There were thousands of people, mostly men, walking around staring at the prostitutes in the window. Coley, Victoria, Ashley and I held onto each other tight while trying to walk through the busy crowds. Visiting the Red Light District was definitely a “one and done” experience, but it was interesting to see how their government has made prostitution legal only in one area of the city. Photographs are not permitted at either location, so we were unable to document these two areas.
While in Amsterdam, we ate a lot of great food, though I’m not sure any of it would be considered specific Dutch food. We ate at two restaurants that we loved – Pancakes and Café George. We had breakfast at Pancakes on Saturday morning, where they only serve Dutch and American pancakes. A Dutch pancake is one big, flat pancake, compared to American pancakes, which are thicker and usually served in 2s or 3s. Coley got a Dutch pancake with almonds, bananas, and Nutella, while I got an American pancake served with bacon and maple syrup. On Saturday night, Coley, Victoria, Ashley and I all ate dinner at Café George. It was a diner type setting with excellent food. Coley and Victoria ordered chicken, Ashley ordered steak frites and I ordered pasta. All of our food was excellent and paired perfectly with a bottle of rosé!
In conclusion, I would recommend future FN students to plan ahead early so they can get Anne Frank House tickets (they come out 2 months in advance), walk around all of the canal streets (since there are tons of excellent restaurants and shopping), visit the Red Light District (just for the experience), and stay more than 2 nights if possible- it definitely was not enough with how much you could do! After my trip, Amsterdam has become one of my favorite cities in Europe!