From the time I was a young girl, I was captured by the tragedy of the Holocaust. I devoured books on it, and especially loved "Diary of a Young Girl" by Anne Frank. Frank's optimism and humor entranced me, leaving me shattered when I learned her tragic fate. So, when my mother announced that we would be going to the United Kingdom in celebration of my eighth grade graduation, I begged and pleaded for us to take the Chunnel into Belgium and ride into Amsterdam to go see the Secret Annex, or the Anne Frank House. My mother said yes, and so we departed from Kings Cross Station in London and rode the Chunnel into Gare de Bruxelles-Central, where we boarded a Eurorail train to Amsterdam Centraal Station, the very train station that Anne Frank and her family were taken to to be transported to concentration camps after their discovery. We stayed in the Amrath Grand Hotel, which I cannot recommend highly enough. It was absolutely exquisite. Not only was it one of the cheaper hotels we stayed at during our visit, but it was absolutely the cleanest and most luxurious, even coming with free candy bars and sodas in the minibar (yes, free of charge). The day after our arrival, we set out for 267 Prinsengracht. It was relatively easy to find after stopping to ask directions from the clerk at a cheese shop. The house was wonderful and reverent. No one spoke, they just absorbed the experience. It was one of the most hollowed, harrowing experiences of my short young life, and it left my breathless. This was one of the most rewarding trips I have ever taken, and I recommend that everyone that is able visit this spot, as it will change you forever.
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