As I stepped off the plane and into a smoked filled haze, I could feel the city take hold of me and I knew it wasn't going to let go until I stepped back onto that plane three days later. Welcome to Amsterdam, a city run by maniacs on bikes who are probably to glass eyed to see where one path ends and a canal begins. A city where you can find a sex shop in one part and the remains of a tourist with bike marks across their body in another. A city like no other in the world.
My first day began at Amsterdam central station. My girlfriend and I stepped out the train station wide-eyed and eager to go, like two explorers ready to unearth buried treasure in this mysterious city. From the outside, Amsterdam looks a lot like Manchester or Liverpool but with canals and stoned Dutch people. Though as you go further and further into Amsterdam, that's when the true city experience reveals itself. We started our adventure in a small Italian restaurant called San Tomasso, it was like a ghost town inside but it did serve some great pizza and garlic bread. My girlfriend kept saying "I wonder if the herbs on this pizza, is actually weed" which got me wondering if everything that I would eat in Amsterdam would be made out of weed and what I was actually eating was some sort of Space Pizza and my brain was going to inflate inside the small Italian restaurant and smash the roof. So I as I took a bite, I could see both the chef and waitress staring at me and laughing, like we were the recipients of some welcoming joke to the city but we weren't and the pizza was not a space pizza and not everything in Amsterdam is made out of weed.
After our Space Pizza, we ventured into the city. The first few streets of Amsterdam is a washed with cheap tourist shops that are lifted straight out of Blackpool but with pot instead of Blackpool lights. We bought a cannabis pop but trust me they don't get you high, they just taste like your smoking a joint with no result, so like your smoking a crap joint. We then went into Madame Tussauds because my girlfriend has never been to one before. The Amsterdam Madame Tussauds is so cool and much better than the ones in London or Blackpool, it's worth the euro. A highlight of mine in there was The Beatles wax works, I know the wax works have got their cynics because the Macca waxwork has got sandals on and no cigarette whilst the Ringo wax work looks like him but melted and put back together but to get to stand to next to them and pose like the abbey road album cover, was fun.
Me & Johnny
After Madame Tussauds, we decide to venture onwards to Anne Frank's house but first we stumbled upon a Coffee Shop called Best Friends. The coffee shop was so chill and very welcoming, for a coffee, a tea and a joint for 8 euros you can't go wrong. We then walked on to Anne Frank's house and arrived in a cloud of smoke. The Anne Frank house however had quite a sobering effect on me because I was actually standing in a landmark of history, I said something quite profound at the time due to the pot but I can't remember now. After the house, the pot turned bad and through the constant laughter between us and haze filled confusion, we got lost and I mean seriously lost. I think we just kept walking and talking and walking and once the pot worn off, we had realised that something was very wrong. There was no longer tourist attractions or even tourist signs, we were somewhere on the outskirts of the city. Greeted by amused locals who kept sending us into different directions across the city, it seemed like there was no hope until one kind tourist told us our way back to the station and we made it back after a couple of hours of being lost.
The second day of Amsterdam was just as eventful due to getting lost, we didn't get a chance to visit the red light district so we decided to do that this day. We started the day however with a familiar friend, a burger king. Don't knock burger king though in Amsterdam, you can get two kids meals, drinks and two sides for 10 euros, so that's good times man. After our meal, we set a course for the heart of Amsterdam, the red light district. We went there in the day, so I guess what makes it special is lost in the day but there are still women bashing and gyrating themselves against windows even in the day. My girlfriend tried to take a photograph of a very unattractive lady in a window but for people who are known to have no shame, she closed her curtains and proceeded to another window and began to swear at my girlfriend. You can stare as much as you want but don't try to take a picture, the camera will only steal their soul. After walking up and down the district, we went into the sex museum, which was a treat thought I did feel a bit robbed at the end of it. There are some funny artifacts in it, especially John Lennon's unnerving naked drawings of Yoko Ono, and the x rated cartoons but the museum leaves you with the thought, is that it? after you leave the back door. We spent the evening near our hotel because our hotel was about thirty minutes away from Amsterdam, so it was quite an effort to travel back and forth every day, so we decided to try out the local town, Zandvoort near we were staying. Zandvoort is very much a dutch town and I don't think they expect tourists because all the restaurant menus were in dutch apart from one, which stopped cooking meat after 8 so we were stuck with a pizza made out of buffalo cheese, nice. We then went to a bar in the town that was quite cold to us, they had strongbow on the menu but the owner didn't know what strongbow was and said they didn't have it. We then went to another bar which was called the living room and literally was a living room, it was ran by a family who were all sitting on a sofa and watching TV, it felt like we had gate crashed their home and poured our selves a drink.
Our final day in Amsterdam was spent sniffing up the down the tourist shops for presents and gifts to remind us of this magical city. So later that day, as I stepped back on to the plane that brought me here and as I walked through the smoked filled haze that greeted me, I felt quite sad to be leaving because I felt that me and Amsterdam were only getting starting and I needed a few more days to explore and get more drunk in this city. So as we took off and waved goodbye, I felt kinda happy aswell because I knew I was only a few hours away from a pint of Strongbow, that I had missed since the day I got there.