From London’s Heathrow Airport, we depart on a flight to Amsterdam for a 5 night stay in the city. The Rembrandt hotel is located in the heart of the city centre making it easy to travel everywhere. After we settle and unpack, first on the list is to chill out and relax at the first coffeshop we encounter. It was perfect. A young woman welcomed us with the rules for behaving in such establishments, no alcohol, no tobacco (branded cigarette packages), no pictures, and to use the venue one must buy a minimum 2 grams, anything less than that only for take away, I favored the already rolled up joint, one always favors commodity.
The first night was a blur, every road looks the same, all the gibberish street names only confuse us even more, we finally got our bearings and managed to return to the hotel, early morning shopping trip for us tomorrow so we decide to make it an early night. While it starts to rain and cool outside, inside is boiling. The heating was constantly on making my restless night a sweaty fiesta.
We are surrounded by canals, bridges and bicycles, and yes I have never seen so many bicycles all around me, although everyone else seems to be accustomed to them, we are a bit on edge especially when the tram buzz scares the life out of you.
Finding the shopping avenue was easy after our close encounter with the tram, mostly window shopping and price comparison were the goals, we found that everything was way too overpriced and the choices were scarce.
To find a place to dine was the easy bit since we already knew what we wanted, grilled steaks. We ended up in a Argentinian steakhouse also very overpriced but at least it was quality service and the juiciest piece of steak.
Another visit to a coffeshop, this time a modern neon walls bong equipped and picture worthy little shop. Just across us stands Church, a local gay club with a very uninviting bouncer, but this is not that type of holiday.
The good thing about the coffeeshop routine is that being lost is the norm so what better mood to be on if not stoned. Also realised how laid back and chilled these people are, I believe that they set an example for a democratic society which includes the whole spectrum of beliefs, their light law enforcement seems to perfectly understand the needs of this community.
From the sex museum and red light district, to the numerous art galleries and museums, mixed with traditional trade like the tulip fields and cheese production, not to mention the Mary Jane reference all across the city with thousands of coffeshops at every corner, this canal city sure does leave a statement and is sure to maintain its place on our top 10 European destinations.