Western Europe Discovery #2: Our Final Days in Amsterdam

Friday, July 15
Friday was our last day in Belgium and it began with an early wake up and a rather long bus ride to a transit camp from World War II called Fort Breendok. Once at the camp we went on a guided tour of it. When we first walked in the temperature was distinctively colder, and there was an eerie and dark feeling the second we stepped through the doors. We viewed the forward sleeping quarters, the kitchen, where the prisoners worked, the torture chamber, and the spot where all of the executions took place.
After spending close to two hours at the camp we got back on our bus and headed towards Amsterdam. Once we arrived at the hotel we got situated at our hotel and got ready for a Friday night Shabbat service of the two remaining temples in Amsterdam from before the holocaust. After the service we ate dinner at the temple with members Chabad community we sang songs and ate there until 11 than went back to our hotel to get some rest for our exciting next day.
– Sam Erlich
Saturday, July 16
Today we celebrated our last Shabbat in Amsterdam. Wake up was at 10:00 am, we then continued to go to the park for our Shabbat morning programming. The program took a deeper look into the Amidah and Brian gave us his interpretation of the weekly parsha! Once that was concluded we had free time in the park until around 12:00 pm. Then we walked to the Chabad house where the group had a very festive Jewish meal. The meal went longer then expected so we had to rush towards the Amsterdam Jewish Museum!
After learning about the Jewish culture of Amsterdam, we were surprised with both a visit to a flee market and the floating flower market where there were authentic Holland tulips. After the surprises we had a pasta/pizza dinner at an Italian restaurant, we relaxed and enjoyed this meal until around 8pm. We then visited the famous I AMsterdam sign, and the beautiful park that surrounds it. After taking full advantage of this amazing photo opt, we had a beautiful Havdallah service in the surrounding park. After the service, we participated in a activity that a group of girls planned for our group! The point of their activity was to help everyone continue to bond and grow. The night concluded with a 30 minute walk home and a short free time at the hotel.
– Aaron Erlich
Sunday July 17
Today we started the day at a farm that made cheese and clogs. We got to sample and buy cheese as well as try on wooden clogs and buy them! Many of our friends bought clogs and lots of cheese! From there we went on a 10 mile bike ride in the countryside which was absolutely beautiful. We had a couple incidents with people falling in to the water, and some other minor challenges, however Peter our guide always made sure we were good to go! After the bike ride, we got some lunch and time to shop.
Following our shopping we went to a park and got superlative awards from the staff while having fun with everyone. After that, we went on a river cruise and had an all you can eat pancakes! They were yummy, and we had great views from the boat! Lastly, we finished the day with the Anne Frank house and museum! It was a special moment and very moving. I really enjoyed going through seeing and reading some about her and her diary entries. It was sad because of what she had to go through. She was such a brave soul and it’s amazing that we have her journal to read about her journey.
Unfortunately, some of us are parting ways on Monday and it’s very sad, this trip was amazing and I’ll never forget the friends and memories and the whole experience.
– Taylor Kahn
From the Staff: Thank You for following us on this journey! We hope you have enjoyed our updates and pictures! Thank you for this amazing experience!
– Brian, Laura, Lindsay, and Harley, and our 38 amazing participants!
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