0452 The Real Amsterdam (Netherlands 001â€”revisit)
Amsterdam Travel Blog› entry 77 of 201 › view all entries
Next day I wake up in
I still might might do that once my 30 day bus pass expiresâ€¦ so nowâ€™s my chance to get a feel for the country.
I head out of the bus station to the train station to see if they have luggage lockers.
But these arenâ€™t antique relicsâ€¦ I check out a bike shop in the train station basement and find see some of these â€ś19th century bikesâ€ť fresh off the assembly line and selling for hundreds of Euros!
I notice that the clothes people wear is equally simple and practical, and to my eyes, old fashionedâ€¦
I immediately feel a connection with my long lost Motherland, where people donâ€™t seem to feel the need to waste a lot of money trying to impress or look better than their neighborsâ€¦ where people are sophisticated and prosperous, and yet still go by the motto â€śthe simpler the betterâ€ťâ€¦
I head on north towards the heart of town, past the houseboats lined along the main canal, each with, of course, a bicycle parked outsideâ€¦
It starts drizzling a bit, but nobody seems to be bothered.
But I donâ€™t really feeling like walking around soggy all day, so I head into the main train station to escape the rain. Then I figure, why not just go check out a nearby town-- youâ€™ve got to get out of the capital if you want to really discover a countryâ€¦ Maybe when I come back the rain will have stoppedâ€¦
So I hop on a train to
Later that dayâ€¦
When I returned from
Yes, I did take a stroll through the famous-- or infamous Old
And of course there are the marijuana cafĂ©â€™s, with young first timers going gaga over the sight of legal potâ€¦
But once outside that district, everything quickly turns back to normalâ€¦ Despite the fact that drugs and prostitution are legal hereâ€¦ you donâ€™t see a hooker on every corner and you donâ€™t see guys sprawled out on the street stoned out of their minds with needles dangling out of their arms.
Instead, as you walk down the quiet streets of â€śnormalâ€ť
Unbelievable as this may sound, but I think Iâ€™ve seen fewer drug addicts lying in the street in
It makes you really want to rethink that whole â€śWar on Drugsâ€ť that has done little to stop the flow of illegal drugs to other Western countries â€¦ It seems pretty obvious that by making drugs illegal, you just make people want to abuse them even more.
I donâ€™t know that this model would work anywhere in the world thoughâ€¦ maybe people in other countries and cultures have more of a weakness for destructive addictions then the Dutch do. But it seems that this model works pretty well here, and Iâ€™ll have to say that Iâ€™m pretty impressed by how â€ścivilizedâ€ť this city really isâ€¦ despite its punch line statusâ€¦
I take one last big loop around the city, where I discover a whole nuther â€ścity centerâ€ť to the south-- this area is just about bustling open air restaurants and live music in the plazaâ€¦ A nice finish to a great day in
And finally, I head down the quiet main canal towards the bus station, pondering on all that Iâ€™ve experienced in this very busy day here in my Motherlandâ€¦