Amsterdam. City of sin. Weed, alcohol, mushrooms, sex. All available. All the time. Some kind of supposed heaven one might say. But another might have a different opinion.
I pretty much expected to love Amsterdam. After all, everyone else I knew who had been there did. What’s not to love? With nice architecture, on a cool canal system, and the ability to smoke marijuana freely in the streets, it seemed like a great place to start vacation. I did not, however, love Amsterdam as expected.
Being a person who doesn’t go out to bars and clubs often at home, as I would rather spend less money drinking with friends at my own house, maybe party central was not the right choice from the get go. But, off we went, and party we did, starting the very first night.
Going back and forth between Club Smokey and Prime, I had wayyy too many Jagermeister shots (combined with whatever free promo shots the bars were giving out) and got WASTED. Not something I do on average at home.
We were so wasted that my friend Chi Chi and I spent an hour trying to get cigarettes out of the machine at Smokey. I probably acted a fool, really have no memory of getting back to the apartment (please see crawling back in video below), and spent the entire next day in bed, puking, sick as a dog, missing out on the fun vacationey things I love to do normally.
We spent most of the time here in bars or coffee shops (specifically Baba’s). While I quite enjoyed the atmosphere at Baba’s, I still felt like, okay we smoked, so now what? Just keep sitting here, huh? That’s all? I guess I felt the same way about coffee shops that I do about bars…I’d rather be doing this at home.
Our trip to the Ann Frank house was cut short because of scheduling issues, leaving us to see only half of the house. By the time we got to the canal cruise, I was already in somewhat of a funk from too much partying, and not enough cultural activities, so that too could have been better, though it was nice to absorb some kind of history while I was there.
The food here was not the best I’ve had, with traditional Dutch food being extremely hard to find (However, if you make your way to Rotterdam, you can have a traditional Dutch meal at Het Eethuisje van Delfshaven). I found most of the Argentinian steakhouses (which there were a lot of) to be sub-par in quality, with one of the menu items we ordered (at each place) being pretty good. The best meal I had in Amsterdam was at the Grasshopper, which is a bar, coffee shop, and restaurant in one. The food was good, and they even had American breakfast on the menu (which I would have eaten had I not entered the Grasshopper on my last night there. Personally, I can speak highly only of the sweets in Amsterdam, like stroopwafels.
The best part of Amsterdam, in my opinion, was the Van Gogh Museum. Thankfully, I was warned to go as early as possible to avoid the crowds in this museum which get pretty large later in the day. Seeing some of the works that I had only before seen in photo was definitely an experience in itself. A walk through this museum will bring you through the evolution of Van Gogh’s works over time, and you will be able to compare his work with the paintings of other artists who were popular at this time (such as Monet). Many of the pieces are truly breathtaking in person, the colors and textures really capturing your eyes and your soul, in a way that a photograph of the same work cannot.
Amsterdam is full of people who have come specifically to party. Men from Britain who come for the weekend to be pleasured by the ladies in the windows of the red light district, Americans who come to get so high they are drunk, and large numbers of Israelis just looking to have an all around good time in whatever way available. While I expected this to be a place with a vibe I would really enjoy, my feelings towards Amsterdam remind me of a camping trip I took with my father when I was ten. I was all excited to go fishing. We bought all this gear, took forever blowing up our raft, got out into the water, put our lines in and sat for about a minute before I said, “okay, so now what?”