Postcards from Amsterdam MAG

October 30, 2009
By Grace Fenton BRONZE, Woonsocket, Rhode Island
Grace Fenton BRONZE, Woonsocket, Rhode Island
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

The Netherlands is a tiny country with a distinctive, vibrant culture. Last February I took a week-long trip there, spending most of my time in its capital, Amsterdam. I have been to many impressive cities, including Boston, New York, San Francisco, London, and Washington, D.C., but ­Amsterdam is unlike any I have seen.

For a city, it is surprisingly calm. There is no honking or yelling, and few traffic lights. My trip was exciting and wildly busy; I wish I had had time to write to my family and friends about my experiences. Here are some postcards I wish I had sent.

Dear Teddy,

Amsterdam is striking, as it is built along a series of canals. Water seems to run under every street, with houses and narrow ­cobblestone roads lining the sides.

The city is timeless. Besides the beauty, these canals are quite unique. Large rectangular boats are docked along the sides, and people live in them! Some of these “boat homes” have decks with chairs, while others have grass growing on their roofs. Each boat house is uniquely decorated by its owner.

Dear Jimmy, Rosie, Scotty and Ginny,

You know how in large cities people usually travel by foot, car, or subway? Well, in Amsterdam it is ­different. Sure, some drive and walk, and a train ­system exists, but bikes are clearly the main mode of transportation.

Walking down the sidewalk, one must constantly watch out for bikes. These are not fancy mountain bikes, but old, comfortable-looking ones. Some are black, some blue or red, but regardless, bikes are everywhere.

To get to school in America we usually drive in cars. Here, most children ride their bikes. If the child is too little to maneuver a bike on the busy roads, he rides on the back of his parent’s bike. If very small, he sits in a basket in the front. I have seen countless businessmen and women in suits, sometimes holding briefcases, riding to and from work.

Dear Tori,

Probably one of the most powerful experiences of my trip to Amsterdam happened today. We toured the house where Anne Frank and eight others hid for two years during World War II. I was able to walk through the rooms where Anne, who was about my age, composed her diary to pass the time while hiding from the Nazis – hiding so she would not be sent to a concentration camp, and her death. I got to climb behind the moveable bookcase that concealed their hiding spot. I also walked around the bedroom of three people that served as a kitchen. I saw the pencil

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on Nov. 4 2009 at 3:38 pm
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