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Photo Diary: Top 5 Things to Do in Amsterdam, Budapest and Prague

Julia Mattis is a student at the The Ohio State University and an ISA Featured Photo Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Barcelona, Spain.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Zooming in every direction, bikers quietly took over the streets, leaving no space for unwanted car horns and traffic noise.  Tilted houses, charming canals and countless open-air flower shops create a quirky vibe unique to the city. Amsterdam surprised me in the best way possible.

HIGHLIGHTS//MUST DO’S:

1.) THE VAN GOGH MUSEUM

A natural high. Truly a therapeutic experience that transports one to a world of dreamy, pastel landscapes, sunflowers and genius artwork. The audio guide is a must- it narrated Van Gogh’s life with just enough detail and interesting details about his painting practice and motivation. The experience also felt personal-you could tell that the museum was founded by a family member.

Leaving the museum I felt a renewed sense of energy.

2.) THE ANNE FRANK MUSEUM

I could not imagine my trip to Amsterdam without paying respect to the Anne Frank Museum. The experience includes a self-guided audio tour of the attic where Anne Frank and her family took refuge during the Nazi regime.

The horrific history of the Nazi’s influence weighs heavily on my shoulders. It is hard to wrap my head around the idea that such inhumane actions affected the lives of millions. The museum intentionally makes you feel the sorrow but avoids feelings of hopelessness. Instead, the exhibit highlights moments of beautiful humanity. I found tears in the corners of my eyes because of the extreme sadness due to the Nazis’ lack of respect for human life, but also due to people’s bold selflessness. The exhibit explained how the family that helped out the Franks didn’t think think twice about it even though they were putting themselves at risk. The museum also found a good balance between celebrating Anne Frank and her hopeful thoughts and recognizing that Anne’s story was the story of thousands of other families.

What hit me hard was a video that pointed out that below Anne Frank’s name, on a list of those who perished in Bergen-Belsen, read the names of four Aaron Franks.

The lives of many will never be the same because of the Holocaust, but it is our responsibility as human beings to remember, so we never allow anything like this to happen again. Although remembering feels sad and heavy we gain perspective and are reminded of our blessings.

3.) HEINEKEN AND CANAL TOUR

4.) MOCO MUSEUM

5.) A’DAM LOOKOUT

Do one thing a day that scares you…so they say. This thrilling swing gives you a bird eyes perspective over the whole city. If you have a fear of heights the rooftop bar offers spectacular views as well.

THIS CITY KNOWS FOOD:

IF YOU WANT TO BRUNCH:

Bakers and Roaster’s. Good vibes, cozy decor, the sweetest workers.

The bakers come in the morning, and bake whatever they feel like, and that is what pastries are for the day.

Foodhallen

A newly renovated tram depot with over 20 different stalls, this place is an international foodie-hotspot like no other.

Budapest, Hungary

A bohemian beauty with unbeatable views.

TO SEE:

1.) FISHERMAN’S BASTION

2.) GELLERT HILL

A 20-30 minute uphill hike to Citadella. The top has beautiful views of Budapest, and you can hike down the south side and find yourself in the famous Gellert Baths.

3.) THERMAL BATHS

There are a few options, but we explored the Gellert Baths, which are claimed to be the most photogenic.

4.) NIGHT RIVER CRUISE

Parliament at night is a whole other experience.

Prague, Czech Republic

Charming, buildings straight out of a fairy tale

TO SEE:

1.) Prague Castle

2.) Old Town Square

3.) Lennon Wall

The world awaits…..discover it!

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