Amsterdam – Day 1 (1) – Welcome to Amsterdam

posted in: Amsterdam 2013, holiday | 0

So after a painful 3:15am wakeup, and drive to gatwick airport, we eventually arrived in Amsterdam. The weather was nice, with clear blue skies and a tasty 25 degrees to start us off.

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After some confusion over how to get to central amsterdam via train, and a painful drink which cost 3.50 euro, we departed from Schipol (Amsterdam airport) and headed for central. A massive blue doubledecker train came to greet us, we decided to sit upstairs for better views.
The 20 minute train ride was an odd one, a european woman towards the back of the train singing (or chanting?) throughout the whole thing made us all pretty uncomfortable.

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Arrival at Amsterdam Central, we could see the famous ‘I Amsterdam’ sign in the distance across the lake, along with a shittier looking version of the sydney opera house (going by my research, im going to assume this is either the science museum or the public library? we’ll hopefully find out later.)
The first views after getting out of the train station were impressive, and probably pretty indicative of Amsterdam as a whole:
on the left – a collection of classical looking buildings and trams
in the middle – a canal filled with riverboats and bicycles
and then on the right – a shit ton of bicycles.

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We found our way to the hotel with some help from mr Google maps, it seems classy and secure in a fairly central part of Amsterdam city (About 10-15 minutes walk from the train station). Lucky for us, the hotel guy said our room was available already and let us in after I filled out some forms and such.
Upon completion of checkin, he gave us some maps and was basically like “you guys wanna know where the good ‘coffee’ shops are?” and proceeded to tell us, along with the location of the red light district, nice guy – he obviously knows why people come to Amsterdam.
We are given a quaint room, 3 single beds, air con, a window which provides lovely scenic views of the hostel opposite and some shitty looking walls, it’ll do the job fine though for the few nights we are here.

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We rest up a little, and get ready to take on the city of Amsterdam.

After leaving the hotel, we basically wandered around randomly hoping we’d run in to something cool and Amsterdammy, the shops around here are a mix of touristy shops and bars/pubs and of course some coffeeshops too – the aroma floods into the street as you walk by on occasion, its quite an experience.
After walking around for a little while we come to the gigantic ‘Dam Square’, a huge square between giant fancy looking buildings and a huge pillar/statue as its focal point. The wide space is impressive and certainly fitting for a famous location in Amsterdam.

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We detour down another side road randomly, our senses leading the way, im not entirely sure what we were searching for, but we ended up passing a bunch of tasty looking cake and pastry shops as well as an icecream shop we would come back to later. I spotted a female labourer, not a particularly big deal but still something I (oddly) don’t think I’ve ever really seen in England, theres something kind of surprising about seeing a thin blonde hurling giant slabs of concrete about.

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We stumble into the red light district by accident. Yes, accidently, I swear.
I pass by a bar which said ‘red light district’ something but kind of didn’t pay much attention to it and shrugged it off, it was only when we passed by an open doorway and we saw a gigantic overweight black woman in black lingerie and red lipstick that we started to realise where we were. A few more obese lingerie models and sex shops later, we start trying to find our way out of the red light district. We are pretty hungry at this point and are desperately looking for anywhere that looks decent to eat.

Unrelated: This sort of thing is everywhere
Unrelated: This sort of thing is everywhere

Amsterdam is surprisingly expensive, I’m not quite sure what sort of price range I was expecting, but It definitely wasn’t 10-15 euro per meal and 2-4 euro per drink. Especially since the GBP to EUR exchange rate is horrific right now (I think I exchanged some of mine at 1.05? so they are practically 1:1).
We end up at a burger joint called ‘BurgerBar’, we chose it as it was one of the few places to eat which didn’t seem filthy and filled with drinkers. I ordered a large Irish Beef burger with extra onion, but opted to skip the fries (partially as they were 3 EUR) in order to save the money to buy cake later.

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We started wandering randomly again, intending to go West to get to a supposedly famous shopping district called ‘9 Streets’, I somehow fuck up massively and lead the group straight South (though I don’t know it yet). The sights are scenic, I love the canals here, it almost feels like Venice, but filled with stoners and drunks instead of lovers.

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We continue walking randomly through the town, we think we spot Chinatown in the distance (does Amsterdam even have a Chinatown?). As we head to investigate, it turns out to just be one gigantic 3 floor Chinese restaurant and not Chinatown at all, oh well.

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We head into a Vans shop (surf/skate shop) to have a look around, it somehow leads straight into a stoner shop, which lead straight into a knife and weapons shop – it was all pretty awesome (no pictures for obvious reasons), just goes to show there is all sorts of cool stuff around Amsterdam off the beaten path, which leads me to…

Whilst exploring we found a small alleyway leading into some form of grotto area, we went to investigate and ran into this quirky little book market ran by old men with old style music playing, whole walls filled with books – almost like they were about to collapse and murder their shopkeepers.
A small doorway inside the market lead to an opening behind the roads, a small children playground behind Amsterdam University, we stopped and relaxed under on the grass for a while.

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To be continued…
Time: 3pm?

Amsterdam – Day 1 (2) – Flower Market and 9 Streets

posted in: Amsterdam 2013, holiday | 1

Whilst journeying (supposedly West), We spy a street sign saying where the Flower Market is (Bloemenmarkt), we head over to check it out.
The flower Market itself takes up the side of a road beside one of the canals and was a very impressive display of flowers. There was a nice mix of grown plants as well as bulbs and grow it yourself packs.

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The heat intensified through the day as the sun hit its peak, it hit around 32*C at a point according to Google, though it felt even hotter than that. We adopted a strategy I learnt in Japan, jumping between shops with the strongest air-con to cool off whilst avoiding the direct sun as much as possible. Thanks to this though we explored all sorts of quirky shops we probably would have otherwise skipped.IMG_1028

There were quite a shocking amount of weed seed shops, I mean I know Amsterdam is essentially 420getb4ked zone but there are a ton of shops which seem to mostly specialize in selling seeds of different strains for people to grow. We also went into a shop which was quite opening selling shrooms and some other party drugs (probably speed or LSD if I was to guess), the difference here though is that the shopkeeper was giving advice and education to those he was selling his wares to, “it’ll take X hours for effects”, “dont X before doing it” and so on, its an odd scene to watch and yet I guess it kind of makes sense, these are legitimate businesses, and these may be legit future repeat customers, why wouldn’t they take care of them.

Our exploration eventually lead us to the ‘9 Streets’, a cluster of small roads famous for fashionable shops and quirky hipster goods and stuff like that, almost like the Harajuku of the Netherlands.
The streets are called such as the 3 streets are divided by canals and junctions, it really was a nice place to walk around, and after the bustle central it was nice to go somewhere a tad calmer and more civilized (no weed shops here)

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The fatigue is really starting to kick in by now (around 6pm), we wind down in a small cafe with a frosty drink, abuse the wifi a little and then headed off again…
Only to make it about 5 minutes down the road and onto a bench by the canal where we would spend the next half hour.

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Turns out, all manner of crazy happens on the canals while we’re busy walking around sightseeing and getting lost:
– We spotted a full massive tourboat of asian people and giggling girls
– We spiritually bonded with a random woman sitting across the canal
– Met Dil’s doppelganger (beardy who didn’t stop smoking in the half hour or so we were there)
– Watched an old guy shout at a boat of 4 girls and order them out of his mooring spot
– Then watched aforementioned 4 girls fail at securing their boat for about 10 minutes because their cord was too short to tie to the docking area.

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We had enough for now, and headed back to the hotel, we finished up the rest of the 9 streets and navigated our way back to the hotel, where many showers were had. Sweet, refreshing showers.

My feet hurt.

We spent about an hour resting up in the hotel, I spent it typing this up while it was still fresh in my mind.

We head down to the lobby eventually, Hass asks the receptionist about supermarkets and where we can get some good food (we ask for ‘authentic dutch food’).
From here, we head out to the local big supermarket, the name of which I forget, it’s fairly standard european supermarket affair, a few interesting standout bits, namely the ridiculous selection of cheeses. We stock up on some drinks, grab some snack foods (dessert?) and then head back to the restaurant area marked out by the hotel concierge.

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It’s starting to get seriously late now, around 9:40pm, we start to get concerned that we’ll miss dinner due to last orders at some restaraunts at 10pm. Our choices are Dutch, Steak, or Italian, We end up going dutch – even if it is fairly expensive.

Go big or go home? The meal is around 20 euros each, I went for a beautiful Rack of Lamb cooked medium rare, it arrives with the juices running off it still, it was probably the best Lamb i’ve ever had, you get what you pay for I guess (but in this case, £22 is a steal).

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After dinner we have a final little walk around and head back to Dam Square, just to see if anything has changed since we’ve been gone (maybe there would be a night rave going on now we thought, it is a friday night after all). Nada. We did shoot some nice photos of the church stained glass windows though, with the light from inside the church beaming out.

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Hotel, Blog, Chocolate, Bed.
Goodnight Amsterdam. See you in the morning.

Amsterdam – Day 2 – High as hell

posted in: Amsterdam 2013, holiday | 1

The pillows here are too damn big, that is all.

We woke up at 10:30, by my lead of course, if it were up to Nash we might not have ever left. Some showering and stuff later, we left around 11:30,  refreshed and ready to take on some more of Amsterdam.

The game plan for today was to try do as much typically Amsterdam stuff as possible, that meant Red Light District, Getting high and with some luck finding some poffenthingies and herring.

We set off for Harlemmer Street, which had been recommended by our hotel concierge as the best place for good coffee shops, the walk over was fairly standard, the oddities in the streets and canals of Amsterdam were starting to become less odd, though we eventually ran into what looked like a strpper and her gimp in the middle of the road, that was odd.

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We popped into a hams/salami specialist shop for a bite to eat (Ibericus, Haarlemmerstraat 93), and ended up with a nice little platter of assorted hams and some tomato salsa bread.
It was pretty awesome.

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turns out today was also ‘Canal Pride’, the highlight of Amsterdam’s ongoing Gay Pride week (yes, apparently we picked the middle of gay pride week to visit). The canal we were at was filled with spectators waiting for something to come down the middle of the canal, we passed by later to see some cowboy jetskiiers and a guy with a water jetpack thing.

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And then… things started to get crazy.

We went into a coffee shop, and spoke to a very happy entheusiastic lady who was happy to help us find what we wanted.
Apparently we had walked into the ‘farm’ which only sells seeds, though she redirected us to the sister shop down the road.

IMG_1086This place was much more hardcore, a bouncer checking for ID at the door, dark lighting inside, and then a massive counter with weighing scales and craptons of fluffy looking weed.
I browsed the ‘menu’, about 10 different types of marijuana to choose from, and then some more exotic stuff on the back. I ended up buying 2 pure blunts of something called ‘blue cheese’, (why blue cheese? I dont even like blue cheese.), they were 7.50 Each so it came to 15 EUR.
Nash and Hass didn’t want to do it, so it was just lonely ol’ me taking my haul back to the ‘farm’ to smoke.
I felt almost a little greedy for wanting to try it so bad, like everyone else wanted to go out and do stuff in Amsterdam, and that I was forcing them to stay with me in this coffeeshop for a while just so that I could experience it.
But then at the same time, when else am I ever going to try it? I don’t think I’d ever want to get involved with it back in the UK, but walking around here you almost become desensitized to it, we saw more people smoking pot than we saw smoking cigarettes.

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I had never actually smoked anything before, not even tobacco, so this was quite an experience – I cranked the lighter and started toasting the end of the first blunt. The first few drags were heavy, too heavy, the smoke scorched the back of my throat and made me choke a little though I got the hang of it quickly enough.

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First blunt down. No effect. No Nothing.
I’m starting to feel annoyed, did I just blow 15 EUR on nothing? Am i not smoking it correctly? Do i need more than a gram to see what the big deal is?

I start up the second blunt immediately, I figure maybe its like alcohol, and that if I don’t keep going, I won’t get any effect.
I also figured I should try changing my smoking method, So I kept an eye on a group of guys opposite us, seeing how they smoke.
I don’t know what changed, but it started having an effect.

"Guys guys get that guy to take a picture of me so that I'll have something to remember that time I got high"
“Guys guys get that guy to take a picture of me so that I’ll have something to remember that time I got high”

The following 6 hours or so could easily be summed up with ‘Steve got high as hell’, but I will try my best to say what I can recall.
Everything from this point until the point where we get served dinner is under the effects of it.

I begin experiencing what I can only describe as ‘Input lag’ on my body, it became hard and strange to control my own body parts, almost like I would think about moving my arm, but then nothing would happen until a second or so later. At the same time, I felt lucid enough to understand what was happening. It also felt like I was floating in some capacity, and that I was swaying around (though apparently I was sitting still the whole time.)

Time passes, and apparently time passes very very slowly in that ‘world’, the lag I was experiencing kept increasing, until eventually, it became bad enough that I felt that I was essentially having an out of body experience, where I could almost see and overview myself, predict what was going to happen next, and then see my own body take that action, it was bizarre. Almost like watching a well rehearsed scene.

The actual experience in itself was so bizarre, like having enough control over your body to actually get stuff done, but not having enough control to be able to control how or when you do it. Almost as if your body knows the end point of the story, but your brain kind of makes up the middle part so you’re just doing whatever in the interim.
Also, stuff makes significantly less sense, looking at some video footage I / nash took, I was talking very fast, yet I remember talking at a normal speed, and that time would take forever to pass (5 minutes felt like an hour)

We eventually leave the shop, at this point I am kind of still freaking out because it’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my life.
I take the lead, and as I get outside the shop, I see that i am on my own (bare in mind, everything is going super slow fo rme right now, my turning around to see the shop again felt like it took place over 5 seconds in itself.), Nobody was coming out of the shop, my friends have abandoned me I thought, I freaked the fuck out. Then hass popped his stupid head out and I yelled at him for abandoning me.

The next few hours are insane, the world is a film in my head right now, it was starring me who was just trying to survive the day while being blazed, and featuring Hass and Nash, who were conspiring against me and trying to abandon me. I seemed convinced that they were out to get me on multiple occasions, and that they didn’t care about my situation, where I was and so on. In my head I almost managed to sneak away from them which shows just how little attention they were paying to me, im not entirely sure how that ended though and I was brought back by Hass in the end.

Other random stuff I can remember:
– Canal sparkling like crazy and looking awesome
– Tripping balls and saying how awesome the pavement looked
– Filming about 40 minutes of footage whilst stoned, in an attemtpt of hoping to work out what is actually happening, as even when stoned I know that stuff isn’t right. For example nobody around was reacting to stuff I was doing, so it almost felt like I wasn’t there at all
– Being convinced that I was actually having a complete dream and was still in the coffee shop
– – Taking drags of air, and then thinking “yep, im defo still in that coffeeshop, none of this is real”
– We went to a sweetshop at some point and hass got me pic’n’mix, eating the gummy sweets was bizarre, almost like I could place my consciousness in my tongue and ‘become’ the sweet getting thrown around my mouth. Weird stuff man.
– We went to an ice cream shop at some point, i had 2 scoops, watermelon and Banana
– Being concerned about not being able to have anything to blog as I wouldn’t be able to remember anything.
– Hass and Nash going back to get weed because they wanted to try it after seeing my reaction to it
– – Hass having a conversation with the bouncer outside the weed shop, and the bouncer being like ‘oh yeah, he high. he look like he gonna marry that wall’ (I was leaning against a nearby wall at the time)
– – Me thinking that nash and hass were awful ffriends for wanting to get high after seeing what insanity i had gotten in to.
– having the dryest mouth in the world
– returning to the hotel at some point and having some cold 7up (which was incredible)
– wanting to go to the ‘I AMstardam; sign and queuing up for a tram
– Somehow ending up in another coffeeshop, where Nash had a joint
– – Having this pain in my knee and thinking that my knee was somehow becoming glued to the table.
– Having a burger from FEDO (which sell vending machine style hot food) – It was incredible.
– Somehow ending up back on weed street, and back in the same coffeeshop from earlier.
– – Hass trying a little, then changing his mind and stopping…
– – – Resulting in me having another 1/3 of a joint.
– Nash wanted to do shrooms, I told him to cut that shit out (even high steve knew that shit was messed up)

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10/10 Vending machine burger
10/10 Vending machine burger

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<memories hazy>
At some point we head to a tourist information centre and Nash starts to become high.
A balloon rolls by while we are talking, I decide to pop it. Nash jumps a foot into the air in shock and then hits me.
<memories hazy>

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Ending up in the Amsterdam Sex Museum, nash thoroughly enjoys it, seems to think we are disliking it, It was kind of neat.
We ran into a group of girls, 2 of which are clearly looking after their high friend as well, that was kind of interesting.

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More stuff happened (can’t remember)
End up in Dam Square, then H&M (nash wanted to go)

We found a cheapish looking Chinese Restaurant which everyone seemed okay with, It was around 8pm by now so we thought we should just decide and go with something instead of wandering around at 9:40 looking for food like Day 1.
I had rice with Chicken, Duck and Char Siu for 11 EUR, it was alright, a little dry, and needed more sauce, but it was okay.
It was also during this dinner that I finally ‘came down’.

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The finale for today was a trip to the Red Light District, which was… awesome. I didn’t actually have any knowledge prior of Amsterdam’s red light district so I didn’t know what to expect.
The jist of it is a lot of sex shops, and a ton of single rooms with red lights above them, and then beautiful scantily clad girls inside staring out trying to catch people’s attention.

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After this, we went to one of the cake shops from the other day, there were cute girls inside. I had a slice of cheesecake, then we all headed back to the hotel.

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Amsterdam – Day 3 – Sun, Bikes and Food

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A super late start for us today, we woke up at 11:30am, so that was a little bit of a waste.

A short trip down the road from our hotel was a bike rental shop, so we headed in to check out their prices. 12 EUR for 24 hours rental, not bad?

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The first half hour was terrifying, My bike riding skills are far from superb so i ended up practically doing slalom down the bike lanes of Amsterdam, almost hit a woman once (hit a post instead).
We took a quick break at a crossroads and tried the local specialty Herring, it is traditionally served with chopped onion and gherkin, and thats what we had.
The taste was…peculiar. I thought I liked it during the first bite, but shortly realised I didn’t.

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We continued travelling south (lack of pictures as I can’t ride and take pictures at the same time :< ) until we hit the Ruks museum and the famous ‘I AMsterdam’ sign (or one of two at least). We stopped to snap a few pictures, though none of them are much good as there we SO many people around (sunny day and a massive tourist spot in the middle of a park? go figure)

Way too many goddamn tourists
Way too many goddamn tourists

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From here we went to Vondelpark, which I can only assume is Amsterdam’s main park, it certainly had the size and facilities for it, with a kids splash pool, multiple play areas, sports courts, and an outdoor stage area for live music (and live act to go with it).

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Just a little snack for lunch as we had already left the hotel so late, we figured we’d just snack on stuff then have a (hopefully) nice dinner.
I had a hotdog and ice tea. It was alright.

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We spent a few hours just riding around the park enjoying the weather, Hass eventually managed to fall after trying to overtake us on a dirt path “later nerds.” was the last thing from his mouth before he skidded out and slid along the dirt.
First official casualty of Amsterdam: Hassan
Fair few grazes and a bruise on his leg, he’ll live, though we suspect the phrase ‘Later Nerds’ is going to unleash some unsavoury memories in the future.

We had a little explore around and then ended up back towards the ‘I Amsterdam’ sign, and had a little look around the areas we skipped over earlier, there were some nearby gardens which were pretty nice, along with the Ruks museum gift shop.

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Yes. It's exactly what it looks like.
Yes. It’s exactly what it looks like.

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By this time it’s 6pm already, we decide to head back to the hotel to freshen up before dinner.
A brief nap before we go out again, nash and hass recap some of the footage I took while I was tripping balls the prior day.

Hass for whatever reason really wants to try the burger at FEDO because apparently I sell it that well (It was incredible when I was high) so we ended up going there and having a quick burger as a starter for our dinner, it was still pretty awesome, so im kind of glad to know that not everything that day was a lie.

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Dinner itself was at an Italian Restaurant nearby, It was kind of expensive so we were expecting something as amazing as the meals we had on the first day. We sat around and waited for around half an hour before the waiter came over, offered us a free round of drinks and said they had lost the order slip. Great. The mental image we had of them grinding the flour to make fresh pasta was shot down before our eyes.
Our meal eventually arrived, I ordered a mixed seafood spaghetti, which came with clams, mussels and prawns cooked in a white wine and garlic sauce. It was pretty underwhelming if i’m honest, and from here on I think i’m going to take a vow to never order pasta from a restaurant again (unless im in Italy perhaps?) because I have literally never been impressed by restaurant pasta in my life.

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After dinner we decided to go for another bike ride, a journey to anywhere, to explore. Hass asked the hotel concierge for some nice places to visit at night, we put Nash in front to direct us, and then we were off to Rembrandtplein via dark canal sidetrips and dangerous roads.

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We arrived at what appeared to be the end of a really crazy party, the nearby pubs and clubs were in full swing, and an empty stage had been erected for what was now a beer-can graveyard.
We did find a poffertjes shop though (traditional dutch dessert apparently?) – They were small round and doughey, Hass likened them to a cross between pancakes and doughnuts, which is probably about right, they taste like french toast, but served with copious amounts of icing sugar, butter and chocolate sauce – 8/10 Dessert, would recommend.

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We wandered around some more, taking in the lights and sounds. until we came across a frozen yogurt shop, and just had to go in.
The shop was ÜServe, you go in, get a cup, fill it with yogurt, put toppings on it, then pay for it based on weight. There were so many flavours to choose from, I think I ended up going for chocolate truffle, White chocolate truffle, and strawberry and banana yogurt.
This is where stuff gets crazy, Nash calls me over and says something to the effect of “I found someone more racist than you”, and points to this white guy next to him, who, apparently – when Nash asked what the watermelon was, replied with “You should know, its the food of your people”. We bantered with him a little bit, “no fucking way did you just say that”, then he drops “theres rice krispies over there too, I know you guys like your rice” and we just fucking lose it.
How can I even be mad at someone that openly racist in public to people he’s only just met. We find out he’s jewish and try dropping some jewish jokes on him to even the score, “you gonna pay for all that?” – to which he snaps back “naw, i’ll pay for it, then i’m gonna complain”. We end up talking to this guy for around 30 minutes, even after the shop closes, turns out he’s is Mike, a gay jewish californian guy touring Europe.

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The journey home was short and mostly peril free, the backstreets of Amsterdam were calm and the night air was crisp. Nash managed to start a race with a random dutchman, who promptly destroyed Nash and his rental bike before screaming “PEACE OUT” and laughing into the distance.

Amsterdam – Day 4 – Backstreet guys

posted in: Amsterdam 2013, holiday | 0

Our final day, we woke up early and packed our stuff before checking out of the hotel, for those visiting Amsterdam, I recommend ‘The Convent Hotel’ – The staff there were very helpful and accommodating and really helped us plan out our trip better, it’s also in a great location really close to the central station, Dam square, Red Light District and 9 Streets, and I mean they showed us where to get ‘the good shit’ so …

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After checking out and leaving our bags in the hotel, we went to return the bikes from yesterday and then proceeded off on a wander as we do, the backstreets were particularly relaxing today, though the sun was beating down on us full force.
We found the Amsterdam Museum and had a little peak inside, we took some pictures with the miniature ‘I AMsterdam’ sign they had in their courtyard and then had a look around some more, there was a small church and fancy little living area with old style houses, very pretty.

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From here we wandered around a little more, Nash wanted to visit the Magnum shop (the ice cream) but it was closed for some reason. We went to some gift shops to find some souvenirs, browsed some cool looking shops, I bought a makeshift lunch of a Fedo Grillburger and a McDonalds McChilli Chicken sandwich and a White Magnum McFlurry.

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We found a small shop selling only Solero Mojito ice lollies for a Euro each with seating, so we thought we’d avoid the sun a little and chill out. The Ice lolly was really nice, a refreshing lemonade exterior and then a lime and mint jelly with rum in the middle.

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From here , wandered around a little more, saw a guy in a batman costume out in Dam Square along with some French guy being arrested (?)
We popped back into the supermarket before we had to leave for the airport, bought some more souvenirs  and a drink (Mint, Mango and Pear – which was nice but kind of weird).

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And then it was off to the airport, nothing too much to report here about the journey, we got the hi-speed rail to Schipol. At the airport there was a Magnum shop, which Nash and Hass went for (I was broke by this time with literally <5 EUR in my wallet), it was a kind of make it yourself magnum experience, choose the initial chocolate dip, then the toppings and decorations

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The rest is pretty boring, check in, getting my balls touched by the security officer, queuing to get onto the plane, take off, turbulence, thinking we were going to die, then landing, bus to the car park and the long journey home.

I had a fantastic time in Amsterdam, our 3.5 days were paced perfectly, We got to take in the sights, smells and tastes of Amsterdam, get in deep with the ‘culture’, explored the city and made a few new friends along the way, and strengthened other friendships in a way that I didn’t think was possible.

Bye Amsterdam! :'<
Bye Amsterdam! :'<

10/10 holiday.

Amsterdam 2013 – Overview

posted in: Amsterdam 2013, holiday | 0

day1-1

Travel, Initial reactions, Dam Square, BurgerBar, Amsterdam University

 

day1-2

Flower Market, 9 Streets, Canal Chillout session, Supermarket, Van Speyk

 

day2

Harlemmer Street, Ibericus Hamshop, 420, Sexmuseum, Red Light District

 

day3

Yellow Bike Rental, Herring, Rijksmuseum, I AMsterdam sign, Vondelpark, Savini, Rembrandtplein, Poffertjes, Frogurt, Racist Californian

 

day4

Amsterdam Museum, Gardens, Shops, Magnum icecream, Travel Home

View all in chronological order

5 Things you should do if you visit Amsterdam

posted in: 5Things, Amsterdam 2013 | 0

1) Hire a bike and go on an adventure

Bike hire in Amsterdam is relatively cheap, you can grab a bike for 12 EUR for 24 hours, and the prices get cheaper if you hire for longer periods so if your stay is a lengthy one, you might want to consider renting one sooner than later. The roads are pretty well adapted for bike riding and even if you are not a confident rider (like myself) there are enough backstreets around the canals that you’ll be able to still travel around without having to dodge cars. The bikes themselves come with wheel lock and a bike lock, we didn’t bother taking out insurance as there are a ridiculous amount of bikes in Amsterdam just sitting around. I also recommend taking your bike to Vondelpark and Ryks museum as we did, the trails there are lovely and wide and the place as a whole is very scenic.

2) Go to a coffeeshop and then buy a grillburger from FEDO

Take in some ‘dutch culture’ and then try the vending machine burger from FEDO. I got slightly obsessed with these burgers during my short visit, their burger sauce is something else, and you can get a burger for 2.20 EUR (which is about as cheap as hot food gets in Amsterdam).
If you are looking for good coffeeshops, our hotel concierge told us the best ones are on ‘Harlemmerstraat’.

3) Check the canals out

Pretty easily done as the canals in Amsterdam are bloody everywhere, you’d be hard pressed to explore Amsterdam and not see these things. At the same time though, if you have a spare half hour or so, sitting by the canal side and just watching the boats float pass can be very relaxing.
Better yet, if you can find a place to rent a boat you can experience them firsthand.

4) Check out the Red Light District

It’s what Amsterdam is probably most famous for after all, make sure you go to the right place, there are a few smaller Red Light areas around Amsterdam but all the ‘best views’ are on the central Red light District strip (you’ll know you are there when you get there). The smaller red light areas are filled with what can only be described as budget attractions, and can be sort of scary.

5) Try all their famous foods

That includes traditional dutch ‘Haring’, ‘Stroopwafels’, and ‘Poffertjes’.
Haring (Herring with onion) can be easily found around the streets or in small stalls, the stalls in particular look like small fishmongers and are usually decorated in the Dutch flag.
The Herring itself is probably an acquired taste, but it’s certainly something unique.
Stroopwafels can be found at supermarkets or other food market shops and are pretty cheap (2 EUR for 8) so you can stock up and eat them in your hotel at your own leisure, it’s particularly good slightly warm – try using it as a lid for your tea or coffee.
Poffertjes are slightly harder to find, though with some hunting you can find them in some dessert shops or as a standalone stand, we had ours with sugar and chocolate sauce.

Other notes:

Recommend:
– Dam Square
– Flower Market
– Our Hotel ‘The convent hotel’
– ‘Van Speyk’ Restaurant
– 9 Streets
– Try some of the fruit juices at Albert Hejin
– Try a platter of meats at Ibiscus on Harlemmerstraat
– Frozen Yogurt at uServe

Do Not Recommend:
– SexMuseum (I didn’t think much of it personally)
– ‘Ristorante Savini’ Restaurant