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Visiting the Anne Frank and Rijks Museums in Amsterdam

Travels to the Netherlands, UK, Spain, and Transatlantic Cruise series

By Armando F Sanchez, Contributing Writer
Published on LatinoLA: December 12, 2014

Visiting the Anne Frank and Rijks Museums in Amsterdam

We started the morning with the plan to visit the Anne Frank Museum. It was just a walk of a couple of blocks from our condo.

The morning air was cool and crisp. It had rained hard several times during the night and this morning you could enjoy the fresh air.

Jesus and I walked over to stand in line at 8:30 am. Although it opens at 9:00 am and tourist season is over, there is still a long line forming, waiting to enter. Apparently the normal waiting time to enter can be an hour or more. The wait to enter can be much longer during the summer vacationing months. Our wives joined us just as the doors opened and we were inside in just 15-minutes.

I came to understand why the outside of the museum has been reinforced due to a million visitors, per year, to the site.

The book "The Dairy of Anne Frank", was written as she wrote while living and hiding from the Nazis in the attic for two years. The book has been translated into 70 languages and, published in over 60 countries. More than 30 million copies of Anne's diary have been sold.

The living quarters have been maintained, as much as possible, in its original condition. One walks up to the stairs until one reaches the hidden entrance to the attic where Anne and 7 others hid for two years starting in 1942. She died at the age of 16. Her father, Otto, was the only survivor of the war and he published her diary.

When one completes the walk through the house, one then enters a modern building next door where the exhibits continue. It took us close to 2-hours to walk through the informative multi-floor museum.

I was emotionally very moved to have visited the museum. It stirred strong emotions that I experienced when we visiting the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in D.C. The museum exhibits touches the core of the open questions of our humanity and to remember the victims of the Holocaust. It also reminded me of the importance to confront hatred and prevent genocide. "The Diary of a Young Girl: Anne Frank" is a book that all children, and adults, should read and discuss.

Persons visiting Amsterdam should make it a priority to visit this living museum!

Our next stop was to visit the Rijks Museum. It's the nation's museum with a great deal of artwork. One of the most famous is, of course, Rembrandt. His home is nearby and preserved. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to visit.

We visited the Van Gogh Museum on our previous trip and unfortunately, we would not have time to visit it on this trip.

In front is the Rijks museum is the highly photographed monument "I AMsterdam".

The county's art museum is highlighted by experts to be one of the top ten art and history museums in the world. It displays 900,000 objects.

We left only because it was closing time. I estimate that we only viewed 10% of the displays. Thus, we are going to have to return someday and see the rest of the wonderful exhibits.

We returned to our condo. We spent the day visiting two wonderful museums and our feet were sore. We decided to take the metro back. We stopped along the way to buy wine and supplies in a supermarket. We planned to enjoy our last evening in Amsterdam. The plan for the next day is to travel to the port city of Rotterdam to board our cruise ship.

During the evening we got our second wind and we spontaneously decided to go for an evening stroll through the neighborhood. We walked through town and the red light district. The red light district is in the downtown area. Prostitution is legal and government controlled. In fact, many cities in a Europe have legally designated areas. I would estimate that there are 200-300 women working in this area.

Many persons have asked me if the "coffee shops" are exclusively in this red-light district. The response is that they are not. Coffee shops refer to sites where persons can buy marijuana and smoke it inside the location. Actually, these shops are found throughout the city. People select the type of hemp they want from a menu. These shops however do not sell beer, wine or liquor. There are locations that do serve alcoholic drinks and also allow you to bring your own smokes. There was one shop where it was thick with marijuana smoke and there were large signs saying the tobacco smoking in the establishment was strictly prohibited.

You see persons of all ages, except minors, in these locations. It's a casual environment that is similar to going to a cocktail lounge, site down and drinking a glass of wine. It's similar, except of course the thick smoke and the scent inside the facility. I kept wondering what it would be like to work in these unique businesses full of smoke for 8-hours a day.

As we were walking back to our condo we notice how colorful and serene the city was. No, we hadn't spent too much time in coffee shops! The street lights shining on their buildings as they are next to the canals is very picturesque. I remembered Venice in the evenings but I think I prefer the warmth and beauty of Amsterdam.

As we started back to our condo it started to rain. We had only one umbrella so some of us just got soaked. I have to admit that we enjoyed our stroll.

By the time we entered our living quarters, we were soaking wet. We took hot showers, got into our warm fuzzy clothing and then sat around enjoying each other's company accompanied with some local Dutch cheese and wine.

I think in general we agreed that it always felt safe and that it is a very different lifestyle from the one we have back home. The great difference is that we live in a suburb environment and here we lived in the downtown area. Trini and I have discussed selling our house and moving into the inner city. We once considered moving to Manhattan, but we agreed that it gets too cold there. We do know persons who moved to downtown Los Angeles and enjoy living there. Those that do live in the downtown area have more options for eating and entertainment and mainly use public transportation. It's incredible how expensive it is to maintain multiple cars yet needed just to buy groceries and everyday items. Well, who knows what the future holds. For now, it's been a very enjoyable experience being here.

Tomorrow we would be leaving Amsterdam and take the metro and then the train to Rotterdam around midday. We would board our cruise ship in Rotterdam by the afternoon to begin our journey toward Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

About Armando F Sanchez, Contributing Writer:
Armando F Sanchez is a speaker, author, retired educator, worldwide traveler and CEO of Armando F Sanchez Production. His organization produces global new media programming
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