While you sit at your computer looking for places to travel in Europe, you’ll most definitely stumble across the Dutch city of Amsterdam. Every single person I talked to about travelling Europe said “go to Amsterdam” no questions. After being there for four days, I find myself saying the exact same thing. GO! If it’s not on route through your travels, make it. I guarantee even just a short time in “the dam” will change you.
The city itself is built over reclaimed land, which is what we kiwis know as (mangroves or swamp land). Almost everything about this city is completely different to our way of life in NZ, and I mean everything. From the tall blonde dutch people to the famous red light district, the way of life in the Dam is truly eye-opening. I’m going to run through our four days chillin in the dam and hopefully inspire you to visit this amazing city yourself. Ready?? lets be honest, your probably not but here we go…
Day 1 – Walking out of the train station was like being in another world. Now I knew what it was like to be different to everyone else. Tall, blonde and blue eyes was the norm. Our hostel was in a place called “Liedesplien”. Yup, I said it just like you did and the funny look from the tram driver assured me I had no clue how to pronounce the dutch language off the bat. Our hostel Stayok Vondel Park was situated next to… well.. Vondel Park & we found this on the epic Hostelworld.com. We dropped our bags and went for a look around. The three of us Leah, Antonio (my friend from straya mate) and I, wandered through the city and canals getting our bearings. I highly suggest this be your first activity in the dam as its easy to get lost, especially when Leah’s leading the way.
As we made our way through the city we stumbled across a famous “coffee shop”. Unless you make your own homemade hippie coffee then this isn’t the coffee shop you think it is. Yes you can get coffee and brownies, but the strong smell of weed assured us this was not a normal Starbucks. Holy dam, just setting foot into this place made me higher than a kite. From “special” brownies, to joints longer than a selfie stick, this is the perfect place for a stoner to get lost in their own imagination. Bongs at every table, it took me back to the old days. unfortunately for me, I’ve done my dash with the green stuff, so as my brain was starting to spin from the hotbox, Antonio bought a modest sized spliff and we gapped it… sloooowly.
7:30pm – and we were getting thirsty. Being there in summer (August) meant the sun didn’t set until close to 10pm. We found ourselves a pub, which looked like a seedy russian bar, in Liedesplien, called The Waterhole.
10pm – A few bavarians deep we set off to find our friend Laura who was at a place called “Supper Club” for her boyfriends birthday. Described to us as a fancy restaurant that turns into a bar after seemed legit. After about an hour of zero data and shitty dutch directions we found it. WOW this place is flash were our thoughts as we reached the entrance. This was just the beginning. Somehow wearing dirty chucks and ripped jeans, we got escorted up the stairs to the Supper club. Walking in was honestly like being in a world full of fairy’s, a subtle face slap and I knew it was real life… The white, wide open catwalk like area, ceilings as high as I was in the coffee shop and the transgender staff took me back, big time. A whole new world for us all. As we smashed a few beers, a burlesque dancer comes roaring out to give us a show we will never forget… Amazing. Get the chance?? Do it.
Day 2 – Anne Franks museum has been on the to-do list since booking Amsterdam and unfortunately for us it still is. Bookings are essential unless you want to line up for 2 hours in the hot European sun. Book months in advance to secure your place. So giving Anne frank a miss, our night was looking red… Now were talking. We had been for a glimpse of the red light district the previous night so by now our expectations were higher than Antonio after that spliff.
7pm – Still light, we headed for the red-light district. First of all we hit the sex museum. A must do in Amsterdam, it gives you a good overview of the sex industry and what it’s about. Honestly though, I couldn’t stop laughing at the girl riding the bike getting shafted by a dildo, the rest is still a blur.
745 pm – Friendship Canal Cruise, recommended by a friend from NZ, we pre-purchased tickets online for the hour-long cruise. Basically, an old school style boat with comfortable cushions all around and an open roof. The bar on board serves you as you travel the canals, get pissed or enjoy a couple. This is by far the best value cruise company that we could see in Amsterdam. We had Boris, our tour guide and turns out a good friend of our mate back home. His knowledge of the city was on point, filling us in as we went. Did you know there are 800,000 bicycles in the Dam and 40,000 are at the bottom of the canals?? Seems legit with all the other shit going on. People sparking up joints all around, it’s the way of life in the Dam, just sit back and enjoy. Highly recommend this tour to anyone travelling to Amsterdam, best way to see the inner city. Click the link above and check it out.
845 pm – Casa Rossa sex show. Imagine watching the ballet or a comedy show. Then imagine watching porn. Now mix the two together and you have Casa Rossa. Yes at first it seems crazy, as you sit down and watch for a bit, it’s still fucken crazy. You walk in with your two tokens of free drinks, take a seat in the theatre and just chill. Amongst all kinds of people, the curtains draw open and SHEBAM!! or in this case she bangs… there they go, fucking, right there on stage. The RnB background tunes set the mood as they do their thing. Keep in mind these women are beautiful, 10/10 for looks and I’m sure their personalities are up there too… The men, strong, ripped freaks. In between the couples, are the single lady shows where they use props to do… well I’m sure you can imagine what. We stayed for an hour, looking around just to check there’s no seedy old man sitting next to us doing god knows what. By the end, you’re immune to the sex side of the Dam, ladies in the windows with no emotion, or texting, it’s just the way of life here. Strictly no photos sorry people!
Day 3 – After an interesting last few days and the park being so close, Leah and I decided to see what Vondel Park had to offer. It was nice to take a break from the hustle and bustle. If your from Auckland, I would compare it to Western Springs, except it doesn’t quite smell as bad. Greenery everywhere, people smoking pot and cruising on their bikes. Peaceful. It’s a huge park and we managed to walk it in about an hour. One thing we noticed here was the rubbish. Lets just say if they put as much money into cleaning the parks as they did in the sex industry, they’d be much cleaner… in more ways than one. We then hit the supermarket, spent 10 euro on a cheese platter and smashed it in the park. Cheap lunch and chill as fuck.
8pm – A bottle of wine deep and music cranking from all directions, we followed the sound to this roof top bar in Liedesplien. Corner of Liedesplien and Marnixstraat, miles across the world and who do we meet? More kiwis. 2 degrees of separation and we all knew each other through someone else. We now had ourselves a crew for the night. A few sippers on the way to the club and the entourage and I arrived at the Sugar club. This is your typical club. Smokey/seedy and cheap drinks. Basically describing the red-light district although we were a solid walk away. If your into house music then this place is your go to.
Day 4 – The plan today, hire bikes and get lost like Doug from the hangover. unfortunately they weren’t the kind with a motor but 12 euro from our hostel, and we had a couple of sick, bright orange bicycles. Cant complain. We picked a direction and followed each canal depending if it looked cool or not. 2 hours and we had reached the sea. Far from home we started seeing what its like to live outside of the hype of the Dam. Once again this is a must do in Amsterdam. Anytime of the day or night it’s by far the best way to get around. Cheap too.
7pm – Thinking to ourselves, a few casual drinks and a 6am train in the morn we found ourselves back at the Waterhole to wash down our hard day of pedalling. We met up with Glenn, a Irishman and his Mrs from NZ… but… there’s always a but. When you mix a few binge drinking kiwis, a couple of keen Americans, two ozzies and a tiddly dee potatoes Irishman you can’t possibly have an early night. What were we thinking. Great people, great yarns, great night. Up at 430am. Great. Waking up still drunk we managed to make our train smelling like booze and an epic night. Thinking back, one thing we learnt, especially Leah, was the sneaky Irishmans way to shoot tequila. Squeeeeeeeze the lime as much as possible into the shot. This way it dilutes the taste of the tequila apparently according to the females. Me, im not a pussy, straight tequila is good for me.
I can now quite happily say that my choice to go to Amsterdam as the first leg of our European summer was a top call. But, whether you go at the beginning, middle, or end, Amsterdam never sleeps. You’ll have the sickest time. Theres plenty of ways to relieve that tension. This place will get you high, blow your mind, or blow you off… whatever your into. Enjoy.
Bryn | free & addicted
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