I am so happy to report my Amsterdam situation has improved greatly! After a great nights sleep and a renewed sense of adventure (along with a heavily edited map) I headed back out into the city for day 2, 3, and 4!
My first order of business was to visit the Anne Frank House, where a 13 year old girl spent 2 years in hiding with her family during the Nazi occupation of World War II. During her time here, she developed a strong writing ability and her diary went onto become one of the worlds most widely translated books. Sadly, her family was discovered and she lost her life In a concentration camp. Her story touched me deeply when I first read the book in 8th grade. Visiting her secret annex was both profoundly sad and touching, and the reality of her situation really hit me making my way through the home. Below you can see the 4 flight staircase she lived above, as well as the bookcase that concealed the entrance to her family's hiding place.
Once I finished there, I headed on over to Westerk Church, a Protestant church where the artist (not the toothpaste) Rembrant's funeral was held. Oddly enough, it was the most modern church I have visited, with its building dating to the early 16th century. So new! :)
Amsterdam has amazing cuisine, you can eat in every language! My friends know that I am a sandwich connoisseur and am always trying anything between 2 slices of bread. This city has the best sandwiches I have ever eaten, I am in absolute heaven. The bread, the cheese, the pesto... My last meal on earth must come from this city. My last drink on earth must come from Dublin.
Amsterdam also has a wonderful selection of museums too! On 1/9/13 I admired the Amsterdam Museum, which displayed the city's entire history from 600 A.D. forward and the Maritime Museum of nautical history. I found the maritime museum absolutely fascinating. Constructed on pilings, its a floating wonder that showcased instruments, vintage globes, paintings, and other watery wonders. In addition, parked next to is the 16th century Dutch East Indian Trading Company ship. As part of the museum, I was allowed to enter the ship and investigate, which was so cool! Although terribly creepy, since it was very dark in some spots and I was alone. Not so secretly, I love Pirates of the Caribbean, so getting to step onto this ship was the closest i may ever get to a "pirates life for me".
It is an art lovers paradise here, and in this case I am so glad to be traveling alone since museums and galleries tend to bore the stew out of most people. I've visited 9 here in Amsterdam alone. My main goal was to visit and enjoy the works of my main man, Vincent Van Gogh. His artistry has inspired me is since I was a young girl, and I am a huge fan of his technique. Why? This man devoted his life to his art, and experimented in every style before settling on his own unique brand. I admire his passion, as well as that of others, who commit their lives to becoming the best they can at what they choose to do. Van Gogh is also responsible for one of my favorite paintings, which you can see below.
I also took some time to visit the Hermitage Museum, which was filled with the Impressionist style works of art. Impressionism rose to popularity in the mid 18th century with the help of Van Gogh, Monet, and Degas. Again, I was enthralled with all of the paintings, and spent a substantial part of my time between these two places. The diamond museum was pretty neat too, and I learned how to cut a diamond and viewed some absurdly large stones.
Another reason I spent so much time indoors was because it was cold! So, so cold. I decided to take a hop on,hop off canal cruise, since so much of the city is connected via waterway. I highly recommend this mode of travel in this city, it was so beautiful. I found a new appreciation for Amsterdam once I viewed it from a boat. Over the course of a few days, I partook in all 4 boat tours the company offered, each one with a different route.
When I wasn't working my way through a museum or a sandwich, I was visiting the cities numerous open air flea markets. Here, you can buy virtually anything. I thoroughly enjoyed meandering past antiques, books, clothes, jewelry, trinkets and more. I picked up some jewelry, and some vintage bookends among others.
It's a shame Amsterdam seems to be overshadowed by marijuana and sex to many people. There is so much more to that here, and I wish more people took the time to investigate the charm of this city beyond the red light district.
There was a moment when I was sitting on a bench watching the swans in the canal, eating something delicious on a stick and listening to some live musicians' notes lilting through the air- I thought I may abandon my American life and take up residence here. I will retire to this city, no doubt about it.