Craziest. Town. Ever.
Amsterdam Travel Blog› entry 36 of 40 › view all entries
Wow... Amsterdam. When I was planning this vacation, I figured that Amsterdam would be one of the cooler places, and, above that, one of the places that I had to go to because it is one of the places that everyone goes to and says how wild and awesome it is. So I made sure it would be one of the longest stays we'd have in Europe. In the beginning we were to spend two weeks in Amsterdam... or, maybe a week here and then a week around it in other cities in The Netherlands. Ends up we will spend a week here and only two days on the outside...Rotterdam. Fairly close. This place is crazy.
The strange part is that even though it is the CRAZIEST place I've been to in my life (Vegas is second...Ev says it's a close second...I say it's not even close), it still feels pretty safe. Apparantly there are cameras covering every square inch of the Red Light district and two police stations on either side. I found the police more visible near Central Station than in the heart of the insanity, but I guess the District is policed more with cameras. If anything were to happen, it would be responded to so quickly.
Wow... I guess I should start from the beginning.
We arrived in Amsterdam after spending the afternoon enjoying a bit of Rotterdam...saw some insane houses that looked like cubes...on the point. Strange. We finally took off and hopped on the hour train to Amsterdam. Our hostel, Hotel Anna, is what we were booked for and it was just outside the inner canals (Red Light District is one of like...four neighborhoods in the inner canals) and the lowest rated hostel I'd seen in all of Europe. Fun. So we talked to super nice and helpful transit people to get tickets and a tram to the Hotel. On the ride out there, we heard loud cliched music pounding from the canals. It's Raining Men. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. YMCA. Anything sung by Cher. It was the parade/party day of the Gay Pride Festival in Amsterdam. I was hoping we'd catch it. It was supposed to be in the beginning of August. It was loud and people were taking pictures and..yeah...we were still on the tram.
When we got to the hostel, the lady at the desk says some of their beds "fell out" and they booked us instead at The Globe...in the heart of the RLD. Yeah. We were actually pretty pumped because Hotel Linda was supposed to be so gross and...beds "falling out" doesn't inspire confidence and staying where everything in happening would be pretty fun. They ended up not telling us where the hostel was located, but rather a point that ended up being about 6 blocks in a rather diagnal direction from the hostel. Yay. The Globe ended up being a huge dive too. The first night we had to stay in separate dorms (Ev in a 20 bed room and me in a 12 bed dorm) and the second night, due to THEIR mistake, we ended up both in the 20 bed dorm. While paying for a 12 bed dorm...while in a shitty SHITTY hostel. I cannot imagine what Hostel Linda looked like. *shudder*
We paid though (after countless bankmachines declined both my interac card and my visa, of course, sending us on another 30 minute journey to get money...all solved now...quite frightning at the time) and decided it was a sign that we were not to stay in the hostel. We were to see the town! And what a night it was. We sampled the nightlife (no hookers though, sadly, although I've seen enough of them for a lifetime, I think) and then took to the streets...it was the biggest party I'd ever seen. There were four middle aged men wearing pastel shirts, singing along to recordings of gay anthems and dancing... And people were dancing in the streets.. and four drag queens brushed by me and I cannot believe how much makeup they wear on their arms...there were baby boys and bois and a bit of leather and a lot of drinking and fun...we didn't actually party on the streets. We were pretty overwhemled. We thought the best way to live it was to drag outselves into the middle. The streets were crowded from one building to another with dancing, laughing people. This lasted for blocks and blocks. Two blocks in of inching claustrophobically thorugh the crowd and Ev and I looked panickedly at each other and decided we needed to bail to the side... There were just too many people here. And it was just in the streets. And it was just slightly less packed on the side streets. You had to walk about 8 blocks to be able to really walk on a sidewalk. Insanity. We got off the main party area and back to the Red Light District (hillarious, really, that we went to the RLD to ESCAPE the insanity...geeze..).
The rest of the time here has been lass overwhelming. Apparantly, that Satuday night of the Gay Pride Parade is the second largest holiday/party of the year after their Country Celeration Day (Queensland). Insane. Never seen that before. The rest was more normal, but still lots of people....I'd say it is less busy from about 4AM (never out that late...just judging by the noice I heard outside the window) until about 9:30AM...but otherwise there are constant people... Not bad for a city with only 800K or so...
I'll try to write more later. Chantal is coming in today, we moved to a hostel outside of the heart of the city in a very VERY clean HI Hostel, and we're in a laundramat right now finally, FINALLY washing our nasty clothes. I've worn the same pair of socks for five days...sometimes I think I should just smell my feet and pass out from the stench when I'm having troubles falling asleep. :)
We're here for 2 more nights and then we're off to Brussels or Bruges or something fancy like that in Belgium. :)