Joining the Bus About tour at Paris our next stop on the summer escapade was the notorious Amsterdam, and I couldn't have been more excited. Famous for its open views on prostitution and explicit drug usage of cannabis, makes it a city like no other. But behind all the red lights and hazy clouds of smoke lies a city of true historic beauty.
Once a land of swamp it was not until the thirteenth century that Amsterdam was carefully engineered and completely re landscaped to successfully sustain living. All I can say is thank goodness they did, because by doing so I personally believe they built one of the most amazing European cites. Everything about Amsterdam is so wrong that it just feels right. It doesn't make any sense and while your there you have no sense. It truly is a world of its own. The flat landscape with its many canals and rows of 17th century tall skinny houses is the perfect scenery, as you explore through the streets minding the hundreds of cyclist dominating the city roads and wander from markets to coffee shops to cafes.
Our days were spent out in the sunshine. If we weren't on the hunt for flea markets we were lost wandering in the cites pure delight. Heading into a more quieter part of town, Jordaan, a less touristy hot spot. It is perfect location for those vintage hide aways. The one on the top of my list as a must see is Episode, a second hand clothing store chain throughout Europe. Filled with so many great one off pieces, I could happily spend the rest of my life in that store.
Our afternoons would be best spent at the park, where it seemed that half of Amsterdam would congregate. Every man, women child and there bike would be picnicking, drinking beer, playing games and smoking anything and everything. My favourite was when it would get really hot. The people of the park would strip down to there bikinis and speedos and lie out basking in the sun getting a summer tan. The park oozed of a carefree nature and was always the best end to a day and start to an always eventful evening to come.
At night Amsterdam would come alive, every night was the same routine. We would all congregate in the hostel pub to have a few drinks, grab our Canadian roomies who were our partners in crime, head to the nearest coffee shop and prepare for the huge night ahead. The must see is of course the The Red Light District, I think to be honest we spent far to much of our time there. Before arrival I thought The Red Light District was going to be full of lights, music and a party spilling onto the streets. Obliviously I watched to many movies because it wasn't anything like that. In fact the streets were rather quite and the entire scene had such a serious feel to it. As we walked down the first street and were faced with the row of half naked girls behind there glass door, it hit me. This wasn't some joke nor was it just another tourist attraction. This was actually girls standing out in the open selling themselves for sexual favours. It was there life, there living. The rest of the night was history, we would walk for hours in circles up and down the little red lights. The game plan was follow any man who looks like a potential buyer and lurk around until he enters one of the doors. The best was when you would see people leave the rooms or what was even more amusing was the ones that would get rejected by the girls. When things would begin to slow down there would always be another peep show to go watch, for €2 you can't go wrong. To wrap it all up we would hop from food store to food store all the way back to the hostel. By far the best fast food store in the world is Febo. Febo is just a little store with a glass box wall full of burgers and other foods. The idea is to walk up to a box slot in your coins open up your door and grab your steaming hot burger, its the fastest fast food around. James and I would spend 85% of our time in and out of Febo's, best invention yet. The best thing about our food rampage was when we would get lost coming home we would always just retrace our steps and follow all the places we ate the night before. Got us home safe and sound every time.
If your up for some sight seeing and a bit of history Amsterdam is still the city for you. Being the city of bikes we couldn't go past a bike ride tour. Mikes bikes is a great choice and is well worth the €15. The crew are all super chilled and had a great love for the land. We were given only one rule before taking off "You can drink beer and smoke joints on this tour, I don't care what your on just as long as you stay on your bike". The tour took us through the busy city and into the lush flat country side. For three hours we rode past waterways and windmills up into a lovely little cheese farm. At the farm we learnt all about Dutch farm cheese and spent the afternoon sampling the shops different kinds. The farm also housed a Clog workshop where we were given a demonstration on how to make a traditional Dutch Clog. It was so great to escape the city and be free in the open air for a while.
Another great must do is to visit the Anne Frank House Museum. As James and I were heading into Germany in a few days time the Museum was a great way to start the ball rolling on the up rise of the Nazi Party and the events that occurred in that devastating time. The tour takes you through the house and annex where Anne and her family went into hiding. It is a great insight and despite everything about Amsterdam, it was deffinately one of my highlights.
All and all Amsterdam was a truly amazing place full of cultural differences. Although not everyone may agree upon what is written in this blog everyone has there own experiences. Do not judge others because they sin differently to you.
So what we get drunk?
So what we smoke weed?
We’re just having fun
We don’t care who sees
So what we go out?
That’s how it's supposed to be
Living young and wild and free
T-Pain and PackDaddy out,
~ Hang Loose, Fly High ~