Amsterdam has never been on my travel bucket list. However, once the opportunity to visit Amsterdam availed its self – I became excited & wanted to know more about the place. So, after doing a few touristy things in the 2 days that I was there, here are my 5 reasons to love Amsterdam.
- Easy Commuting
If memory serves me well, there are 2.5 bikes per head in the Netherlands. This means there are more bikes than there are people. WHOA! Obviously, the preferred mode of transport is cycling. So to blend in, our tour group did as the locals did, we cycled our way around Amsterdam.
There we were, all smiles & impressed with our biking skills until we had to cross the road. Between the trams & the cars moving in opposite directions, we were doomed & wiped those smug smiles off our faces! The locals commuting in bikes were not as patient with us as expected. They rang their bells aggressively to get us out of the way, we obliged. It was still fun.
Like any South African tourist in Europe when you hear the word ‘free’ you use & abuse that free resource. That was us with the short ferries that ran every 10 minutes from Centraal Station (the biggest railway station in Amster) to where our hotel was. This meant we could get in & out of town without spending a cent, which we did, dur!
- The ‘Coffee Shops’
Selling cannabis (marijuana, weed) in coffee shops is not entirely legal or illegal in Amsterdam, but it’s not frowned upon. Like most places, you have to be 18 years older to purchase the goods.
You may enjoy your joint at the coffee shop, hubsta & I did exactly that. We found a quaint corner ‘coffee shop’ – ordered drinks and the ‘goods’, and smoked till we were ‘good.’ Navigating our way back to Centraal Station for our ferry was quite an adventure! #TheHighLife
NOTE: ‘Coffee shops’ & ‘cafes’ are not to be confused. Coffee shops sell the ‘you-know-what,’ cafes sell coffee (real coffee).
- The Red Light District
I’d heard so much about this place that I had to satisfy my curiosity & go. One thing for sure it’s not for everyone. It’s filled with loud bars and tiny streets with pleasantly looking ladies-of-the-night in brothel windows. The girls were literally standing on rotating platforms showing off their perky boobs & firm butts – hate them much? Our tour guide mentioned that €50 got you 15 minutes of action! So, best you get there ready to ‘go’ #ForeplayForWho? The girls may reject you if they don’t like you, yes they have freedom of choice. We were cautioned not to take pictures and to obviously not disrespect the girls – respect their hustle.
FYI: Prostitutes in Amsterdam have more rights than in any other country. That’s a blog post for another day.
- The Canals & Houseboats
The picturesque houseboats and canals, there are more than 100kms of canals in Amsterdam. It’s no surprise it is also known as the ‘Venice of the North.’ Be sure to treat yourself to a canal cruise. However, do not go if you’re still high & if your partner is not feeling hundreds – yes that was us Mrs High & Mr Sick. Given the condition we both in, we still managed to appreciate the beautiful houseboats we cruised past. Others were hotels and some residential. I’ve watched a few episodes “extreme houseboats” and I must say there were a few we spotted that were extreme. I’m still not sold on the ‘boat side of life’ – being able to literally move house does not entice me for even a second!
- The Parks
Well, Vondelpark to be specific. It was the optimal spot for hippies back in the seventies. One interesting thing about Vondelpark? Public sex is allowed, however, sunbathing in the nude is prohibited. I know, SMH. Explicit PDA was not on our bucket list & to be honest, we did not want to be THAT couple. We kept our clothes on…
Huge thanks to Topdeck Travel for making sure we experienced the best of Amsterdam 🙂