"We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same." Anne Frank
I believe one of the key factors in being a successful traveler is being open-minded to trying new things! That’s what exploring and traveling is all about! I love learning about different cultures, meeting new people and exploring new places, so that’s why a gap year has fit perfectly in my life. I loved South America. Traveling around Chile and Peru and experiencing such completely different ways of life were amazing but because of high traveling costs exploring South America as a whole was a lot harder. Now coming to Europe I appreciate the fact that taking a trip to the Netherlands, for example, is completely doable and not overwhelmingly expensive. So last weekend, off we went.
After an uneventful plane ride we arrived in Eindhoven, where things began to get fun! From there the 8 of us had to take a bus from the airport to the train station, find a ticket booth to buy tickets since none of the manual ticket dispensaries took Visa cards, buy tickets for the train to Amsterdam, take the train from Eindhoven to Amsterdam, grab a tram in Amsterdam and take that to our hostel. It was quite the process of transportation! Luckily we are all pretty well traveled kids, and everything in the Netherlands is in English so we figured it out.
We checked into the hostel then walked around and found lunch. One of the best ways to explore is to just walk. I really enjoyed walking around the city of Amsterdam. The area is very flat, and it seems like there are more bikes than cars on the road so walking can become quite dangerous at times- dodging bikes, cars and trams all at once. It is a city built on canals along with townhouse after townhouse. Super cool and easy enough to see everything by walking.
After lunch we went back to the hostel and got ready to go see Ellie Goulding live in concert!! We took public transportation to the concert arena because at this point we are all public transportation pros. Even after being up for a solid 17 hours the concert was amazing and I’m so happy I got to see Ellie. Goulding. Live. In. Amsterdam. Unforgettable.
The next day we went over the Anne Frank house. It is obvious by the long line outside that this is the main attraction in Amsterdam. We had been told that there might be a long line so we were prepared to wait. Almost all of us had read the book in school so we were excited to see first hand what she described in her diary. We were lucky with the weather the whole weekend. It didn’t rain once and we did get glimpses of the sun but the wind made it feel so much colder than Sevilla. There was a lot of wind and especially after standing around in line for over an hour it got really cold. Luckily we passed the time with fun word games so before we knew it we were in.
The Anne Frank house was amazing. The tour took us through the house from room to room, each containing important historical information providing background about that disturbing time period. The rooms also contained artifacts such as the actual pictures she glued onto the walls of her room and notes about weekly meal plans. Personal video interviews of the people who lived in the house, along with quotes from her diary made it a really personal and all together extremely moving experience. Standing in the Secret Annex and imagining not being able to breath in fresh air and being confined to that small space for two whole years was hard to imagine, yet something I won’t forget.
“Where there's hope, there's life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.” Anne Frank
On our last full day in Amsterdam we got up and went to the Rijks Museum which houses Dutch art pieces ranging from the 1100’s to the 2000’s. The museum was overwhelming with 3 levels of art, but at the same time it was fascinating to look at all the famous Dutch art. Here are a few pictures I took of my favorite paintings.
Vincent van Gogh
After the museum we sat outside by the Amsterdam sign and soaked up some sun before heading to lunch. You may not know this but the Amsterdam sign is a vey popular landmark for tourist and especially on a sunny day, it was packed with people.
The next morning we woke up and took our 15 modes of transportation back to Sevilla. It was wonderful getting off the plane and breathing in the fresh, warmer, Sevilla air, happy to be back and returning to a place I feel comfortable in.
I love traveling, exploring, and learning about new countries and their own unique cultures. There is so much to learn and discover out there, and all you need is an open mind!