I left the Anne Frank House very moved, and I have been inspired to read her diary. All of us can find something in common with Anne Frank, and that’s why her story is so powerful. As well as the fact we both wanted to be journalists, I was also a teenage girl once, so I sympathised with her outlook on the world. Likelihood is, you’ll be able to find something you both share, and will be equally moved by the story of her family. I felt inspired to buy and read her diary, especially as it’s now on UNESCO’s Memory of the World register.
After looking around the house, we walked outside to take a look at the city at night. We saw people taking selfies by the door of the house. I couldn’t help but think this was a bit inappropriate, as the jolly mood and vanity of a selfie takes away the solemnity of the location. I also thought that 5 years ago, when I saw people taking a selfie at a concentration camp. It is saddening that we have become so obsessed with ourselves, we feel the need to be in every photo of every place we visit, even if it isn’t the right time or place.
I shook my head and continued upon my journey. After hours of waiting in the chilly queue, I was very hungry, and after quite some search I ended up eating some Chinese food. It was fine, though, because I had a very traditional Dutch snack at lunchtime – Belgian fries. Yes, Belgian. The two countries are so similar they’re often grouped together in the “Benelux” category, which means Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The only difference between Dutch and Belgian fries is that Dutch fries have mayonnaise on them. I don’t like mayo, so I had it the Belgian way. I would definitely recommend the shop we bought them from, which was called “Mannekin Pis”. Named after the famous statue in Belgium, chips are served in a big purple cone. I was tempted to order a large portion, until I saw the size of the small one. It was absolutely massive, and for just 4 euros (less than £3) you can get one for yourself. The chip shop is close to the railway station, and lies on the road between here and the old Royal Palace. Look it up on google, and get yourself some for lunch, because you won’t regret it.
The chip shop was just around the block from our hostel, the Flying Pig Downtown. The hostel experience was interesting for me. For the whole trip, we had a private room to ourselves, but in a hostel you’re often in a room with lots of other young people. Great if you like people, and meeting new ones from all around the world. Not so good if you like your own space and privacy! Still, hostelling is very traditional in Amsterdam, but I don’t think I’d do it again.
Our journey home took us on the Thalys train to Paris. Recently, a terrorist started shooting on the Amsterdam-Paris express train, but he was overpowered by some Americans – a couple of whom were on time off from the military. I was very lucky not to be on the train, but I expect there were many interrailers doing the same journey that fateful day, who must have been terrified.
After arriving in Paris, I sent my French-speaking companion out to buy some baguettes. The area around Gare du Nord is a bit dodgy, so I was a bit worried when he was gone for over half an hour! Still, we got our baguettes and munched them before we’d even left France. Then, we were back in London. After travelling around Europe, it’s somewhat funny (and very annoying) that the only problem we had with public transport was back in London, because there was a tube strike on. We had to take the bus from St. Pancras to Waterloo, which was very annoying.
Would I do interrail again, even though my suitcase broke (twice, actually) and I lugged it across Europe? Absolutely. We’ve even planned the route. It’s such an incredible experience, you’d be a fool not to. I a feel sad that my travelling has come to an end, but I will console myself by hoping that I will do it again one day. But perhaps with an actual backpack this time.