The city of Tolerance. Apparently the thing to come to Amsterdam for is weed. I was not inclined to do that so what else? Ah yes… Sex, Amsterdam is also known for sex. Hmmm there has to be something else… Turns out there were more diverse things to see, Amsterdam as a rich History vivid culture, and wonderful Dutch cheese! (you were hoping for sex right?)
I got both of the things that the night before promised to deliver, a good sleep in and an unsavory hangover. Our bus turned up an hour late and while standing around waiting I thought about food, I was starving… So gave in to temptation and had a kebab.
All packed and ready to go the bus finally arrived and we were on our way to Amsterdam.
It turns out that the first stop could only be described as food heaven! They had all sorts of food, pizza, pasta, sausages of all kinds, breads, stir fry, salads, desserts, yoghurt ice cream, and much much more. My decision to at earlier had now bitten me in the arse!
We were advised to keep an open mind about things in Amsterdam since they’re known for the aforementioned vices and we were handed information on how to safely partake if we so chose. I thought that was a good idea since the majority of travelers were in their early twenties and could easily be taken advantage of.
While finding my way to the hostel, the smell of pot smoke occasionally wafted through the street. The coffee shops were quite easy to spot, and if you didn’t spot them you certainly could smell them.
I stayed at St Christopher’s in Amsterdam which is located in the heart of the red light district. Being the spot with the cheapest drinks in the area, it was also a stop on the pub crawl so never really got quiet.
I was able to fill my time by wandering through the red light district with a small group from the bus, anyone for a spot of window shopping?
I tried “Wok and Walk” stir fry, awesome, then sat with some of the group listening to their travel stories and had a few drinks. I later went into a hip hop night spot called Live on the Low. They had some local performers and best of all… An open mic! I got to do some free style rhyming and was well received by a crowd of underground hip hop heads… Nice!
I met a cool travel companion in Bruges and we planned to catch up in Amsterdam. Chloe, a fine arts major and all round nice girl she is Canadian, but I won’t hold that against her. Chloe too was not inclined to partake in the party scene so we did the free walking tour. Had the biggest pancakes I’ve ever had in my life! She gave me her secret to thick fluffy pancakes… No I’m not telling! Then I took her through what I had covered the night before of the red light district.
The next day kicked off with the Van Gough museum, very cool. I turned up a bit late but still managed to spend over four hours there. Next was the Anne Frank house museum. While waiting in line we got count in the rain and found sanctuary in a nearby pub. Once we returned, I was presented with a very emotional experience. If you’ve not read the Anne Frank Diary yet, it’s a must. Getting to walk through the office and the house was just surreal.
A canal tour was then on the cards to brighten the mood. This was followed by cheese and wine tasting. Well it was more like Dutch cheese school. We tried five different cheeses with white, red and fortified wines. There was a walk through Vondel park where we found a nice bar. Perfect for an afternoon drink. As the sun set, we decided to get some dinner then had to say bye 😦
I suppose that’s the biggest drawback of traveling like this. You get to meet so many amazing people, then just as swiftly as you’ve met them, you must say good bye.
I had a wonderful time in Amsterdam and it wont be like so many other people who have managed to forget big sections of their trip due to over indulgence. I heard some crazy stories the next morning when I was waiting for the bus with the other travelers. I certainly have no regrets, and I didn’t have to double check my pockets for any left over stash.