When I told my friends that I would be spending three days in Amsterdam, they all giggled – understandably so. Amsterdam is a city of freedom; one where it doesn’t matter what you want because you can have it as long as you’re okay with it being regulated – you very rarely hear any complaints.
Amsterdam was a lot of fun. Between the coffee shops, the sites, and the bike ride we went on outside the city throughout the country side.
The city was clearly built by people my height (5’10”) and taller. The buildings are aggressively tall. The ceilings in each building seem to be at least 15-feet high. It made for a beautiful scene and for the first time, I felt short (minus the time I stood behind Amaury Stottlemeyer at the Golden Krust on 8th Avenue in Midtown West, Manhattan without realizing who he was until he left – typical Terah).
We even had a chance to take a boat ride on the canals, which allowed us to see the city in it’s entirety. It just added to the beauty that is Amsterdam.
Free Smoke, Free Smoke
When most people think about Amsterdam, they think about drugs and prostitution – two things that are viewed very differently in the USA. The city of Amsterdam heavily regulates both and honestly, I don’t see this issue with it.
Because of this, all throughout Amsterdam, you can find coffee shops and head shops that sell different strains and variations of marijuana. You can buy as much at one time as you wish, and the ‘baristas’ will happily roll for you (if you’re unable to do so yourself). You can even purchase pre-rolled spliffs (a mixture of tobacco and marijuana) and smoke in the establishment or in the comfort of your own home. You will not get arrested for carrying marijuana, however, it is known across the city that smoking outdoors can lead to the confiscation by local officials – but that very rarely occurs.
The Red Light District
We spent an evening walking around the Red Light District and it was unlike anything I had ever seen. Everything is designed around desire. As you walk down the streets, prostitutes stand in windows trying to lure men into their beds for a price, sex shows are available at every turn, multiple sex museums exist, and drugs are readily available. It was weird at times; you end up seeing a lot of interesting things, but it’s nothing that you do not expect. We did stop into a sex show for two minutes and it was honestly just a really sad sight to see. We went to the sex museum which was oddly entertaining. But the majority of the time, we walked around and took the city in at night.
The Country Side
In The Netherlands, there are more bikes than there are people. We had the pleasure of riding through the country side, and it was hands down (yes, more than the weed) my favorite part of the trip. The crazy part was that this was one of my top three favorite things I had done on this trip, and it rained the entire time.
But there is nothing more peaceful than riding a bike throughout flatland farms. There is nothing better than stopping on the trip randomly to pet cows and stare off into the misty unknown. It was amazing and something I want to do again the next time I visit Amsterdam — yes, I’m going back!
The Van Gogh Museum
Let me first say that a lot of people I went on this trip with were mildly disappointed by this museum. Why? Because Van Gogh’s The Starry Night doesn’t live there; it lives in the The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I have had the pleasure of seeing the painting on multiple occasions, but that didn’t help my friends while walking through the museum.
With that aside, I will say that this museum and all of his art is spectacular! I’ve always loved his work, but seeing it in person and seeing how talented he was made me love it more.
All-in-all, I loved Amsterdam. Everyone was laid back, understandably so, and the city was beautiful. I can’t wait to go back!