On route to Italy my friend Neeshu and I decided to stop by in the sin city capital of the world – Amsterdam. It was only about an hour flight from London for which we had to wake up extra early because Stanstead doesn’t even deserve to be called a London airport. It’s actually located about an hour by train outside of the city center, making it the biggest hassle to get to. But the first lesson of cheap Europe travel was learned: cheap flights equal airports in the middle of nowhere.
Luckily our Easyjet flight was right to the Amsterdam airport, only about 15 mins by train to the city center. The city center is where ALL the tourists are. It includes heaps of hostels, hotels, coffee shops (that sell coffee AND pot but no alcohol), restaurants, the red light district and bars. The fascination of all this would have left me in an ideal world if it weren’t for the nasty cold of winter that the Dam was wrapped in the whole time we were there. It was only 2 days but after hitting the coffee shops the cold only made us want to go back to our hostel and sleep.
Yes, we were lame and as a result I have 2 days that I have no real recollection of. I did participate in an educational walking tour and get ripped off at the Hemp museum which is literally a hole in the wall with some posters about how America shouldn’t be harsh on their drug laws. Of course I agree with the America part but you don’t have to charge tourists 8 euros for them to find, especially when the majority of them are Americans.
The walking tour took us slightly out of the tourist zone – we saw Anne Frank’s house, former penitentiaries turned shopping malls, and beautiful alleys of Dutch houses. The river is in every part of the city, making it very beautiful. The entire city is built around the river itself. Even with the cold, the beauty of the city can be appreciated.
What I enjoyed the most in Amsterdam (besides the pot) was the coffee and what they call Chocomel – hot chocolate with caramel. The choice of international cuisine was also a great treat!
What I learned about in Amsterdam is that if you spend less money on drug regulation and more on real crimes, than the residents will care less to mess with the ‘legal’ drugs. This means that most of the marijuana consumed here is by tourists and it’s probably the only reason it’s still legal today. From my experience it seems that the locals despise the fact that tourists come to their city to simply be high, party and perhaps have sex with the dolls in the glass houses. Of course I’m guilty and I regret not being able to learn more of the culture itself. But when you are visiting the city of sin, it’s had not to overindulge! The second time around it will definitely be different.