Let's get back to this trip, shall we? Our last day in Amsterdam was busy. We didn't have any specific plans for the day, but there were still a ton of things we hadn't done that we could get into for free with our citypass. First we went to the Nemo Science museum. It was basically your typical science museum, but it was way cool! There were a few um...European sections that we didn't wander into, and that was pretty strange, but besides that, it was one of the better science museums I've been to!
After the science museum, we went to the Holocaust Museum. The Holocaust Museum was still in production (they just started building it last year) but it was still really powerful. The building we were in used to be a holding place for children that were taken from their parents and going to be sent to concentration camps. The museum had items from these children, along with their stories. We learned though, that the people who worked in that building started passing children over the wall in the courtyard to the people on the other side (I don't remember exactly what was on the other side) to give them a safe place to rest or play for a bit. Eventually, the people on the other side started taking the children and delivering them to safe places. I admire them so much for their bravery and willingness to risk their lives.
Side note: if you want to read two really great, recent books about The Holocaust, I highly recommend The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, and All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Both are about the Holocaust in France, but learning about the Holocaust in Amsterdam reminded me how much I loved both books.
We walked through the Jewish Quarter and made our way to the Botanical Garden. We looked at the plants and flowers, and went into the little butterfly house. The sun had come out while we were there, so we mostly spent a lot of time sitting on benches and being warm for a change haha. After the garden, we went to tour the Van Loon house, an old canal house that belonged to Willem van Loon, co-founder of the Dutch East India Company. I doubt that all canal houses were as grand as this one, but it was fun to see how the wealthy lived. But mostly there were a lot of secrets doors that we could see in the walls, but we weren't allowed through them, and I really want to know what secrets the house has!!
That evening, we quickly made our way through the Amsterdam city museum. Luckily, there were videos, and our audioguides played in English, because all the plaques and infographics were in Dutch. So because of that, and the fact that we had to cruise through the museum so quickly, I honestly don't remember much about the history of Amsterdam. The things I remember the most are the things I learned at the windmill! Sorry! After the museum, we wandered a little ways into Vondelpark, which is essentially the Central Park of Amsterdam. It was hard to walk in the park, and anywhere in Amsterdam really, because of all the bikes. I think it's awesome that so many people bike through the city, and it's nice that the town is small enough that anywhere you need to go is just a short bike ride away, but the bikes definitely have the right of way there. Rather than dodging bikes, we found a bench and sat down to people watch and enjoy the views of Vondelpark.
We left the park to find dinner, and ended up at an Italian Place (the Very Italian Place, to be exact) close to our hotel. I don't know if I have mentioned this before, but for pretty much every single meal in Amsterdam, we had to allow at least an hour to eat. This meal took probably close to two hours, because they didn't take our order for a really long time! I know that, in Europe, they like to really take their time and enjoy their meals, but as tourists, it was hard because we had places to go and things to see! Probably my least favorite part of the trip, which sounds petty, but who has time to relax on vacation??