Adjusting Expectations in Amsterdam and Berlin

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The week following my Edinburgh trip was none other than spring break. We had a little bit over a week off from school and almost everyone was jetting off to explore more of Europe. Amsterdam and Berlin were cities I had always dreamed visiting and I knew I wanted to spend more than just a weekend in them. A few of my friends and I started off the week in Amsterdam. I had spent most of my teenage life fantasizing about the city. I thought the culture would be rich and the sights would be incredible. But, our hostel wasn’t in the greatest area for the Amsterdam experience I had dreamed of. We were staying in the city centre which turned out to be a bit of a tourist trap. This particular part of the city wasn’t living up to my very high expectations. But as soon as we began to venture out of the area we were staying in, I found the Amsterdam I was looking for. From the beautiful canals to the outdoor markets and the flower markets, I was in awe of this place. It was like a bigger version of Copenhagen, but with more to do. I loved it. It was the best place to simply wander around and get lost within the canals. The two big things that I was really looking forward to were the Vincent Van Gogh museum and the Anne Frank house. The standout from the Van Gogh museum was the fact that they had his actual paints and palettes. Seeing this piece of history and seeing something from his life made me quite emotional as he was always one of those artists I felt connected to. The next day we went into the Anne Frank house and there is quite literally nothing like it. This very emotional place has been preserved in a way that my mind can’t even begin to comprehend. All of her decorations were still on the wall, the original book case that hid them, and her actual diary was on display. Everyone needs to go to the Anne Frank house within their lifetimes because it makes you see first hand how horrible war is. After a few days in Amsterdam, I went straight to Berlin. Berlin was once again unlike anywhere I had been. It seemed to have the classic German experiences like bier gardens, but because of its history it felt like a new city in a lot of ways. It was so interesting to see all of the historical and memorial sites like the Topography of Terror and the Brandenburg Gate. The East Side gallery of the Berlin Wall was breathtaking to see in person. All of the paintings were so interesting and representative of what had been happening. But the best things in Berlin was the feeling of inclusivity and the night life. It felt like everyone was free to be themselves in the best way. Berlin was another great place to get lost in. It felt like around every corner I was looking at an incredible piece of street art, stumbling into a vintage store or coming across some sort of historical monument. After Berlin, spring break was over and it was time to head back to London.