I have had a plethora of experiences, particularly, for my age. The magnitude of my experiences has helped shaped my perception on the world around me and broaden my horizons. One of my most prominent memories was a delightful trip my family and I took to Amsterdam Holland. I had no idea what to expect, especially since it was my first trip to Europe. During, our first days, in Amsterdam we stayed in Leidseplein which is the city square in central Amsterdam. Leidseplein is a wonderful part of the city filled with historical remnants of colonial Europe. We explored the Holland Arts District and learned about the famous Dutch painter Hans Bollinger. I immediately became fascinated with the Dutch styled architecture influenced by the “Golden Age.” The streets of Leidseplein were paved with old patina cobblestone and the city was built around a network of canals that linked all the local waterways. I enjoyed visiting the coffee shops in Amsterdam and conversing with the local people. My mother and I made an effort to learn the Dutch language by conversing with the locals, but I was not able to comprehend the language as well as I’d hoped. Amsterdam was definitely a new experience in various ways. I had a wonderful gastronomic experience, trying new Dutch foods, much like the delightful fruit crepes that we ate every morning during breakfast. I, also, was fascinated with the native dessert “poffretjes,” which was similar to a pancake in the shape of a ball, that was drizzled with warmed caramel, chocolate or a rum sauce.
During the afternoon, street performers entertained passersby in Leidsquare with all sorts of amusing acts, from singers to acrobats. We visited the Van Gogh and Rembrandt museums, but the museum that had the greatest impact on my trip was our visit to the Anne Frank Museum. The museum featured the actual pages taken from Anne Frank’s diaries, which detailed her account of the Holocaust, a horrific genocide in the 1930’s. The museum was the actual house where the Frank family went into hiding during the holocaust. The terrible plight was a series of killings by the Nazi regime, primarily due to the prosecution of the Jews. The Nazi regime singled out various minority groups based solely on their race and religion. Each room of the house featured different aspects of the Frank family experience. As we passed through each room of the museum, readers could reflect and feel Anne Frank’s pain as if they were a part of the Frank family. The accounts in her diary were very graphic and filled with such emotion. Additionally, the museum contained artifacts that Anne encountered in her experience in Holland. After reading excerpts from Anne’s diary, it showed me how far our world has developed in terms of eradicating racism and prejudice as well as the strides we have made towards achieving unity and harmony.
Prior to my visit to Amsterdam, I was unaware of what to expect and honestly, I was not interested in experiencing any culture or history. I wanted to visit the notorious skateboard park for which Amsterdam is famous. I wanted to trek down the canals and experience all of the goings-on that make Amsterdam, one of the most popular destination cities in Europe. Yet, my family trip to Europe became more than a vacation. It served as an eye- opener of how fortunate I am to be born in such a time. I am thankful for the privilege of being able to look back and reflect on heroes like Anne Frank and to appreciate the art, culture, history and all the wonders of Amsterdam.
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