Holland: Amsterdam

Amsterdam Travel Blog

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8th May 2007

Amsterdam, Holland

Current mood: High

Category: Travel and Places


Ah Amsterdam. Probably the only place in the world where you can openly smoke dope, eat space cakes and buy drugs over a counter that make you hallucinate, but get fined by the law when you crack open a can of beer in the street. It's the sort of Irish logic that makes this city appeal to me so much. So when in the boozer a few weeks ago my mate Kyra suggested going, there was only going to be one answer, and it didn't involve asking the audience either. This wasn't the first time I'd booked a flight to The Dam. I missed one when I was 18, not to mention missing a flight back from Portugal when I was 20 and most recently last summer missed a flight back from Barcelona, so when I arrived at Luton airport to catch a 6am flight I was a little disappointed Easy jet hadn't arranged a welcoming committee for the fact that I actually arrived on time. The bastards...


And so after a gruelling long haul 45 minute flight and a cross country 20 minute train ride Kyra and I finally arrived at Amsterdam's Central Station – only to be greeted on the platform by a person who had collapsed and was most probably dead considering the amount of medical staff around him / her. Not a good omen to the start of a trip, don't you think? It sparked a little debate between Kyra and I as to whether the person was an old dude or an old chick, you can never quite tell when they get to that age, but we finally agreed that it was a shemale / geezer bird. After all, the person in question wasn't in a fit state to answer what exactly it was even if we did put the question to it. Cor imagine that, you're final last words on this planet before you die is not some words of wisdom, or 'tell little Timmy I love him', but instead telling a couple of tourists whether you're a male of female.


As if we hadn't done enough travelling already, we then set off on the 10 minute trek to find the hotel we'd be staying at. We got there pretty much trouble free and after enquiring to the owner about staying in room for an extra night, blimey, he's only gone and offered us a big apartment room with kitchen, shower, an open lounge all in the Red Light District for the same price we'd be paying for the (now) shitty hotel room. What a result eh? I mean screw the room; he could have given me a cardboard box for all I care, but being in the Red Light District? Pukka! Just give me the keys to the cardboard box and I'll see you in 3 days.


Off we set again on another gruelling 10 minute hike this time to our even newer place of residence and find it's an apartment 2 floors up down a street with big neon lights saying 'Sex World'. A much better omen than the dead body at the platform, must say. After dumping all our shit in the room we then went to the window to check out the view and whoa, what a view! We've only gone and parked ourselves outside the window booths of the prossie’s. Very soon there's to be a semi naked chick dancing outside my window, so to hell with Amsterdam – I can see all the sights I want to from the comfort of my temporary home. One light bulb moment I had was to enquire about any window vacancies available that I could maybe rent out and you know, get a closer look. But at 150 euros a night for a booth it was about 145 euros out of my budget. And did you know when you manage 'to pull' one of these window babes you're only allowed about 10 minutes with them, with only 3 of those being actual penetrative sex? So there went my plan to bomb a load of Viagra pills and have an 8 hour sex marathon with a local slag. Can you imagine the bill after that lot??


We headed to the Bloomenmarkt which was a right disappointment and a half. It's a floating flower market, that's what they said it was. What bollocks. They had put into my head this image of me getting into a canoe with some 4 foot Tai man who then uses a big stick to take us to this stall that bobs up and down in the water because it is floating. What did I get instead I hear you ask. Instead all I got was a few market stalls constructed on a platform that was solid enough to hold the weight of the Elephant Man and his elephant ancestors. Floating my arse, that had to be the most misleading text ever – after that drinks company Coke.


After a couple of days in The Dam Kyra suggested going to a beach town her ma' had recommended visiting. Why not I thought, and soon we were heading to a town called Zandvoort to see for myself the unbelievable rumour that this beach is better than the infamous cobble stoned beach we have over here in Brighton. It was. But not that much better I might add. After being there we determined the beach was like Las Vegas but without the buildings. In other words there was fuck all there except a lot of sand. We had visions of Kyra's ma' giggling to herself over that one. Amsterdam's best kept secret we heard it was. Hopefully they'll keep it that way for the sake of future tourists, why anyone will want to go there is beyond me. But it can't be all bad news here can it? We did manage to eventually find some civilisation before very quickly heading back to the train station to make use of our return ticket.


A couple of days before getting to The Dam I discover another mate, Jed, was heading there too. Hello mate! We've met up with him and another cool Aussie called Tom and done a bit of tourist bollocks before finding a smart shop to pick up some organic mushrooms cos I've heard they're, er, good for you. Back to the apartment we go to have a munch on them and fuck me, did they taste like shite. Not even whacking them in my beef and salad bagel made much difference. Yes they were a nasty piece of work. Even the following night we bought a tub of humus, cos everything tastes good with humus, and even then whilst it tasted better, it was still a bit iffy. Then we found out it was the actually humus that wasn't up to Tesco standards but anyroad, they did make the shrooms more edible, so don't be surprised if the combination turns up in Jamie Oliver's Summer Recipes 2007 edition.


Right, where was I after all that? Ah yeah, in the room we're having a chinwag, enjoying the view from the window, Tom taking the odd photo of the window women, yes YOU TOM, haha, and generally pissing about waiting for the shrooms to kick in. And then they did. It was a bit of a giggle… actually it was a lot of a giggle. In fact, all we did was giggle until we decided we'd go for a walk and get an overpriced coffee in one of those stupid cups served in the size of a shot glass. Downstairs going out of our front door I have 'Miss Window Woman I've Been Staring At All Day' suddenly up in my face shouting her head off in some funny accent. Not sure where she's from but the first thing I was to learn from the following experience is a foreign woman sounds sexy when she's angry. Anyroad, there she is banging on about in broken English 'Why you take photo? Why you take photo?' whilst I'm there staring at her head which is merging into all these weird and wonderful shapes. At first I didn't have a scooby’s what she was on about. I tell her I didn't take any photo and before I can imagine to myself that I've totally resolved the situation and everybody's going to be only their way as happy bunny's, she's gone and given me a right slap across the face. Now I could be wrong, but to add insult to injury I think it was one of those back handed bitch slaps that pimps do to their women in American films. Unfortunately the organic mushrooms had an effect to my usual cobra snake like reactions and I wasn't able to defend myself Shaolin Monk style before my right cheek became rosie red. My first typical male reaction was to think 'I'm not paying for that' and I turned around to walk off and claim my free spanking off a genuine Amsterdam brass. Result! But as I'm walking, very slowly I might add, she then goes and throws what I only hope was water over us, which probably was a good idea cos, whilst I can't say for the other guys, she'd made me all hot and horny an could do with the cooling off. So there you are guys, if you'd like to get a freebie in the Red Light then get your mate to take a photo of a window chick. You don't get this advice in the Europe On A Shoestring series and so remember folks, you heard it here first.


We headed back towards the Red Light on our way back to our apartment which now involved a military strategic operation that involved me getting through my front door without the bunny boiler window woman coming after me for round two. After all, she did have a thing for me didn't she? We walk the long way around the block, again very slowly, and the moment I saw our front door tunnel vision set in and all my focus and energy went into getting through it before the girl next door laid eyes and fists on me again. I would have run for it but probably would have fallen over. But I did make it, there wouldn't be this blog otherwise, and in the room we stayed getting absolutely wasted.


The food in The Dam was proper nice… and in some areas proper stomach churning. Take for instance the humble hot dog – a nice fat beefy sausage with fried onions in a white fluffy bread bun and a choice of tomato sauce and mustard for preference. Mmmm, makes me all hungry thinking about it. But then I think about Amsterdam's twisted version of the dog: raw onion instead of fried, okay not so bad I hear you think. Replace the white fluffy bun with a normal bun, okay I'm maybe I'm being a fussy bollocks. But then just listen to this, they go and replace that lovely beefy sausage with some fucking raw herring that tasted like it was swimming in that polluted canal only minutes earlier. What sort of twisted Dutch person thought that recipe up? Kyra had a good theory that a local got the serious munchies after a dope session and had only those 3 ingredients in their fridge and thus the herring dog, or whatever the fuck it's called, was born. Blimey, that was quite a whinge wasn't it? But fear not, there is the good side of the food out there. Take for example the Ethiopian restaurant we went to. I know what you're thinking here cos I was thinking he same thing. An Ethiopian restaurant? Last time I checked Ethiopians didn't have any food and were all starving, but here they are over in The Dam opening restaurants. So just what exactly is the Ethiopian delicacy I was wondering and I must admit I became a little suspicious when I discovered I couldn't read the menu as it was written in Ethiopian. Or Dutch. The languages are very alike you know. I was thinking do I take a risk and pick something off the menu only to be served boiled mud, deep fried flies and roasted rock with rice, or play it safe and actually ask what the menu says. I played safe, asked what the menu said and ordered a meat dish. And out it eventually came on a massive dish hidden underneath by what I can only describe as one of those pointy round hats the Vietnamese wear when out farming their fields. When lifting it off half of me was expecting to be greeted with a severed head with tongue hanging out complete with flies buzzing around. But I wasn't – thank fuck! Instead it was a fantastic array of meats with different dips, salad all placed on a base of pancakes that you used top scoop the food up. I guess cutlery hasn't made it to Ethiopia yet. So there we were, digging in like a Welsh coal miner making an absolute pig's ear of a mess of this great food.


Enough of foods already, let's get back to Amsterdam tourism. The Red Light District is buzzing at night time with sex shows etc, but at 25 euros to go see a live one Kyra and I thought it'd be better to find a peep show – which wasn't very difficult to find funnily enough. And at 2 euros for a couple of minutes watching a chick shake her hips, it was much more within our budget. The only difficult part of the experience was finding a booth that didn't have the entire floor covered in jizz. That would have explained the random mop and bucket in the corner then. I was wondering why that was there…


Other parts of the tourism was visiting the Torture Museum, walking about 3 miles to get to a brewery that wasn't in fact a brewery – bastards. Getting to the entrance of the Van Gogh Museum and deciding he was a shit artist anyway before turning around and heading for a pint. Well he's hardly up to Rolf Harris or Tony Hart standards now is he? We also went to the Anne Frank museum who was a young Jewish girl who evaded the Nazi police for years, and I picked up some great tips of how to avoid the tax man when he comes a knockin'. What else did I do? Ah yeah, went to the Sex Museum – needed a cold shower after that, and all other touristy bollocks that probably isn't worth trying to remember. But all in all Amsterdam is the cow's tittie’s and by the end of the trip I didn't want to leave, though I usually feel like that everywhere I go…


almond72 says:
Ethiopian food ? No pictures, what a pity. I really have a tough time imagining it.
Posted on: Dec 26, 2009
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