Amsterdam: Day one

Our first full day in Amsterdam was relaxing since I didn’t book a full day of sightseeing. We started off the day by touring Anne Frank’s house. My apologies, no photos are allowed inside the museum.

This is the queue to get into the house. If you make a reservation online you can avoid this wait.

This is the queue to get into the house. If you make a reservation online you can avoid this wait.

This was probably the most difficult part of the day. The tour is fantastic and I encourage everyone to see it. Seriously. However I will warn you that it isn’t easy to see. I didn’t break down in tears, but it was overwhelming at points. When Anne’s family, including her parents and sister, went into hiding in July 1942 they had no idea how long they would be cut off from the world. They hid in Otto Frank’s (Anne’s father) business located at 263 Prinsengracht. Hermann van Pels, his wife Auguste, and their son Peter joined them in hiding. Later on Fritz Pfeffer hid with them. Eight people in total. There were four helpers. During the day workers were in the offices and warehouse below. Anne and everyone had to be extremely diligent not to make any noise. Not only that, they could never be observed from the street. For two years they lived this way. No one went outside. On August 4, 1944 the German Security Service raided the house after receiving an anonymous tip. To this day, no one knows who supplied the tip. Only Otto Frank, Anne’s father, survived. Seeing the home and how they lived is emotional. To add to that, throughout the tour there are video clips featuring her father and her friends and acquaintances. When the Germans raided the home, one of the helpers hid Anne’s diary. After the war she gave it to Otto. He decided to publish the diary. In 1960 their hiding place was turned into a museum. You may wonder why I am recommending this tour to everyone considering it can be depressing. I’ll answer this with a quote from Otto Frank

We cannot change what happened anymore. The only thing we can do is to learn from the past and to realize what discrimination and persecution of innocent people means. I believe that it’s everyone’s responsibility to fight prejudice.

I love the simplistic beauty of this statue of Anne Frank.

I love the simplistic beauty of this statue of Anne Frank.

After touring the house we decided to walk around a little bit and clear our heads. We headed to the Noordermarkt.

I would like a juice.

I would like a juice.



Wherever I go I'm tempted to buy books. I still haven't in 2013.

Wherever I go I’m tempted to buy books. I still haven’t in 2013.



Then I spied a bar. I know, how unusual for me.


After I finished my beer I felt like having some dessert. This hot chocolate did the trick.

After I finished my beer I felt like having something sweet. This hot chocolate did the trick.

The rest of the day we meandered through the city. This place is filled with beauty: the canals, the history, all the crazy bike riders (they will run you over so watch out), and everything add to the charm of this city.


Get out of her way!


Even on a grey day, the canals are still beautiful.


Next week I’ll share more from our trip.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast ( with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (, a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
This entry was posted in Travel, Travel Photos, Travel Stories and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

65 Responses to Amsterdam: Day one

  1. Rosa says:

    What a wonderful city to visit. 😀

  2. I needed a “love” button for this one! It brought back so many memories for me and made me realize how much I would love to go back there, Mike with me this time. You did better than me at Anne Frank’s house – I couldn’t hold the tears back. When I saw the marks still on the wall where Mrs. Frank used to measure the kids’ height, that was it for me :(. It was an experience I will never forget as long as I live, and the most treasured souvenir that I brought back from that trip was a boxed, hardcover version of her diary which I read many times as a child. I must admit that the first time walking down the Damrak towards Dam Square was an unsettling experience for me in a way, with a man walking along beside me drinking out of a wine bottle, but once used to it I began to love that city!! Thanks for bringing back the memories :).

    • TBM says:

      Oh the marks on the walls does tug on the heart. The whole situation is so sad and they were so close to surviving the entire thing. It was quite unnerving to walk through the bookcase since I knew it would be a gut-wrenching experience. After I finished the tour I went to use the loo and many ladies were trying to put themselves back together. Everyone should see this place. We all need to learn. The videos got to me the most, especially the ones with the father.

      • I totally agree!! Do you remember the photo that was made into a life size poster of her father? I think they had it standing in the room where the pages of the dairy are on display, but I’m not sure. The photo was taken years later when he came back to visit the house, and it moved me beyond words. The sadness evident on his face and through his body language actually made my heart hurt :(.

      • TBM says:

        I do. I can’t imagine surviving all of that and then finding out you are all alone. I think they said he knew his wife was dead but when he came back to Amsterdam he was intent on finding his daughters. No one should have to feel that pain.

      • It sure makes our lives seem pretty easy doesn’t it?

      • TBM says:

        Yes. I can’t even imagine.

  3. Thank you for taking us along with you on this fabulous journey!!

  4. The Hook says:

    Cool pics and awesome prose, buddy!
    Well done!

  5. Beth Ann says:

    Wow–that was an amazing tour I am sure but emotional as you related. It is important for us to understand what others have gone through, I think, so that we can learn from it. The trip to the museum must have been one of those amazing experiences that forever stays with you. Thanks for sharing. I am sure I would have needed to “clear my head” afterwards also!

    • TBM says:

      These types of places do leave a mark on the visitors. it was an amazing experience in a completely depressing way. Like walking into a history book.

  6. winsomebella says:

    Wonderful tour and commentary. The statue of Anne is perfect and the hot chocolate is very enticing :-).

  7. bocafrau says:

    I have never been to Amsterdam or the Netherlands for that matter. My sister only lives about an hour away from the border and has been to visit. I remember having to read The Diary of Anne Frank in school in Germany. We also had to tour a concentration camp in 8th or 9th grade. It is unfortunately always a part of our lives growing up in Germany and each new generation is made aware of the terrible things that the Nazis did during WWII. It’s very telling that even after all this time, as someone who was born way after the fact I still have a guilty conscience about the Holocaust.

    • TBM says:

      I haven’t been to a concentration camp yet, but it is on my list. I am sorry to hear that you have a guilty conscience. Obviously you had nothing to do with it, but I can see if you are always surrounded and reminded of it it would be hard not to. My childhood best friend’s parents were kids in Germany during the war. They used to tell me stories of what life was like for them during the war. Basically, they didn’t have a home (it was bombed) and had to forage in the countryside for food and shelter. The entire event had disastrous effects on all involved.

      On a cheerier note, I do hope you visit the Netherlands. You would love it!

      • ilargia64 says:

        I can understand that,…I have been to Amsterdam, I have been living in Palestine and in Georgia…, I have visited Munich,Paris, London and Gernika… And I have been to Dachau…History is hard..And the only thing we can do is to learn from it…We can not be prisoners from our grand-parents faults…And nobody should take profit of it…Just let´s try to learn…

      • TBM says:

        I agree. Learning is the most important aspect of these sites. Learn from them so people don’t repeat them.

  8. Caroline says:

    This brings back memories. I love Amsterdam, even learned Dutch, just in case I might want to move there. BUT – shame on me, I haven’t seen the Anne Frank house. I have no idea why. I went to museums and other buildings but didn’t go. I should but can imagine it’s not easy.

    • TBM says:

      You speak Dutch? Wow. How many languages is that: English, French, German … That’s impressive. Next time you go, you have to see her house. I know you would appreciate it. Yes it isn’t easy, but you would enjoy it.

      • Caroline says:

        English, French, German, Swiss, Dutch, Italian, Spanish and a little bit of Russian. Boy, I’m smug. 🙂
        I really want to see her house. I don’t think I’d like to see Auschwitz or any other camp but I’d like to see her house.

      • TBM says:

        That’s impressive. You should travel with us, it would make some things so much easier to have a translator. I’m doing my best to learn some Spanish–but it’s slow going. I do want to see some of the camps. I’ve read so much about them I think it would be–I can’t think of the right word–I think the experience would have an impact. Very emotional. And make it so much more real.

  9. Geoff W says:

    I can’t even imagine how harrowing that type of museum visit would be. Have you ever read her diary? I remember reading little bits of it, but I know they released an unabridged version in the last few years.

    • TBM says:

      I read her diary years ago, but now I want to reread it. They had several nice copies in the store but I was too upset to really look. I think the better half was stunned when I said I was ready to leave the store. usually I wonder around for quite some time exploring gift shops.

  10. fgassette says:

    I can hear the emotions in your voice as you told of your tour of Anne Frank’s hiding place. I believe you needed the visit to the pub. Thanks for sharing you day.


    • TBM says:

      I don’t think the better half and I spoke much to each other for about the first hour after the tour. Both of us were digesting the experience and what it brought to the surface.

  11. This seemes like an awsome trip! i cant wait to see more..

    • TBM says:

      It was a wonderful break from the everyday routine. Amsterdam is such a gorgeous place. You can point your camera anywhere and the photo will turn out.

  12. hillarypat says:

    I love Amsterdam! Unfortunately, I didn’t go inside the Anne Frank House, just sailed by it on a canal cruise. I’m sure it must have been a very emotional experience, but a worthwhile one… maybe someday I’ll make it back there and go!

  13. When I went it was a quick visit and didn’t have time for the Anne Frank Museum so it’s a good reason to go again. I think I went around this time of year too (well, it was cold, I remember that) but it didn’t detract from the beauty of the place.

    • TBM says:

      The weather wasn’t the best while we were there, but it didn’t stop us from enjoying this lovely city. I hope you do make it back. It’s a wonderful place to visit!

  14. lynnsbooks says:

    It’s such a sad story. I read the book many years ago and also saw an exhibition that was held in our Art Gallery a couple of years ago. I will definitely visit the museum when we eventually get to Amsterdam.
    Lynn 😀

    • TBM says:

      It really makes her diary come alive. It’s been years since I read it and now I want to reread it since I can see their home in my head.

  15. poppytump says:

    Yes TBM I found it utterly moving going to Anne Franks House too . Such conditions . And to know that they were betrayed after all they had gone through . I don’t think anyone should go to Amsterdam without making the time to see this .
    The cyclists do take their priority to the limit sometimes I found ! eeek

    • TBM says:

      One cyclists almost mowed me down. it was actually kinda funny. And I saw several near misses and heard lots of shouting. They take their cycling seriously. I think it’s great so many ride their bikes and don’t drive.

  16. pattisj says:

    I just started reading Elie Wiesel’s “Night.” Was it you that recommended it recently?

    • TBM says:

      I may have, but I’m not sure. It’s a wonderful novel. Hard to read–extremely hard, but excellent. Oh there are so many scenes in that novel that spring to my mind when I think of it. Good luck.

  17. Fergiemoto says:

    Great photo tour!
    I did not take the Anne Frank tour, but the boat tour I took of the canals went past it and the tourguide pointed it out. It was emotional.

  18. What a great trip! You are very brave to visit the house where Anne Frank lived. I just couldn’t do it–too heartbreaking.
    I love the picture of the hot chocolate!

  19. aFrankAngle says:

    Anne Frank Museum was wonderful, yet eerie. We got really lucky, and we able to skip the growing line.We loved Amsterdam … and walking MANY miles.

  20. When I was in Amsterdam I went to the Anne Frank museum also. We got there as soon as it opened to avoid the long lines. I think the items that moved me most were the pictures she had pinned to the wall – movie stars and princesses. Seeing that really brought tears to my eyes.

    And I totally agree about the bikers. And the trams. And the cars. They will all just mow you down without a second thought. I live in NYC and I was afraid to cross the street in Amsterdam!

    • TBM says:

      That says something if a New Yorker is afraid to cross the street there.

      Seeing her room, like many other rooms of a teenage girl really does leave a lasting impression. She was like any other teen during the time and yet she had to go through such an ordeal. Yes, seeing the normal really brings to home how horrible the entire event was.

  21. The sad thing is that there are still groups of people intent on killing other groups of people. History makes it seem that that will always be the way of the world.

  22. I love Amsterdam – it was technically where I spent my third ‘date’ with my husband and it always felt so relaxed and at home with itself. I love it despite the fact that we were threatened and nearly attacked wandering the streets one day and on the way past a sex show when a guy asked us to come in and we politely declined he simply said ‘you brother and sister? Coz that’s ok too’!

    We never visted the Anne Frank house although we have been to some unusual museums there – the torture museum is one that stands out! Grizzly but from a more ancient past

    • TBM says:

      Not a bad third date. Um, the brother/sister comment is pretty disturbing. Maybe he meant step-siblings. And being threatened never leaves a good impression. I have some memorable memories on a NY subway train.

      didn’t see the torture museum, but that does sound interesting. Another reason to go back. And I want to see the tulips next time! The cold winter messed up a lot of travel plans for people.

      • Would LOVE to see the tulips 🙂 right up my street!

        Thankfully my husband wasn’t phased by our potential mugger/attacker (perhaps its because he’s Northern Irish?!) at all and told him where to go, so it was only a semi-threatening threat once G had stepped up to him – but it does sound more scary and each time I tell it 😉

        ….needless to say that comment didn’t encourage us to visit that guys sex show 🙂

      • TBM says:

        I don’t think I would have kept my cool if someone was mugging me. The Better Half is more level-headed. I’m the type that just freezes. Can’t scream. Can’t run. So does that mean I don’t have a flight or fight response? Have you written about it on your blog?

      • I’m eaxctly the same – goodness knows what Darwin would make of us 🙂 My husband only seems to have the fight button to trigger in his head!

        I haven’t written about Amsterdam yet – I have a list I made up at a really boring day at work weeks ago of blogs I want to plough through… I’ll be writing up two South Africa trips, Tanzania, Kenya and maybe a couple on Mauritius once I’ve got through the last Europe trip we took 🙂 we’re not away anywhere besides home this year so I might actually get round to half of it sometime!

        I’ve been putting off starting to write Italy – I was a little disappointed…

      • TBM says:

        Sounds like I have a lot of posts to look forward to! I have so many posts I want to write. I count it as a victory when I actually post one from the “list.” And what would Darwin say about us. Good luck!

      • I’ll need it 😉 you are much better at getting through your ‘list’ than I am at mine 🙂

      • TBM says:

        I think I’m more of a procrastinator, which is why I write more posts on the blog. I should be doing other things

      • lol I put off other things and blogging – much worse procrastinator 🙂 I’m quite lucky in that I don’t have a busy schedule… but unlucky that I fill most of it sleeping!

      • TBM says:

        Hey sleep is important. I’m considering a nap, even though it’s almost 5.

  23. it’s warm here today but i’d still love that hot chocolate

  24. Pingback: Amsterdam: Day 2 | 50 Year Project

  25. Daniel says:

    This is a bit late, but wow! Visiting Anne Frank’s house must’ve been such a moving experience, and Amsterdam as a whole, is a city with such charisma! You’ve definitely left me wanting to go there, more than I already did before 😉


    • TBM says:

      I hope you get the chance, Daniel. I wasn’t really sure what to expect but I would love to go back to Amsterdam and to have more time. It’s a great place.

Thanks for commenting, I would love to hear from you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s