This might get a little dirty...

Trip Start Dec 30, 2006
Trip End Jul 27, 2007

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Amsterdam was OK but I think I was expecting something different.  I shouldn't have been too surprised, I guess, but I did find it to be very touristy.  If prostitution and pot where legal in the USA I wonder what would happen to the economy of Amsterdam?  A large number of American tourists far the most I have seen so far on my trip with the exception, I guess, of when I was actually in the United States.

Unfortuantly, the hostel I stayed at in Amsterdam wasn't the greatest.  It was expensive and rather institutional.  Not a great vibe and during my stay I didn't meet up with anyone special, despite sleeping in a room designed for twenty people.  

Twenty people at 24euro a night per person brings in an impressive 480euro a night...or about $740 cdn...for ONE room.  I think I was in the wrong line of work.  That said, as a guest, twenty people in one room does not a good night sleep make.

I've been known, in my time, to drink a Heineken or two...or three.  It is a tasty lager.  So I, of course, had to go to the "Heineken Experience" which was only a 20 minute walk from the hostel.  Set in the original Heineken Brewery, built in the late 1800s, the tour is impressive - especially compared to the one I had just done in Brussels.  You could see a (slight) difference between the Cantillon Brewery which employs twelve people and Heineken, which employs over 65,000 in over 170 countries.  Again...slight difference.

I was especially fond of the two bars strategically placed along the tour with free Heineken.  Brilliant move my friends!  It almost tasted better than the stuff at home although the beer we drank at the brewery wasn't actually brewed at the brewery since it no longer produces beer...just brand allegiance from the many tourists, like me, that visit every day.

As much as possible on the trip I have tried to eat local food.  Avoiding "American" fast food joints was a goal before I left and, although I was expecting to see them on my trip, I have been surprised at the vast number of them and also the amount of business they appear to do.  In Portugal I found a good use for them...I quickly found that American fast food places have great washrooms.  I feel no guilt using them for just this purpose, whereas if I go to a local cafe or restaurant I would feel obligated to purchase something.  Not so with McDonald's and KFC and other places like that.  If anything, they probably owe me for all the years of business I've given them in Canada.

Somebody at McDonald's must have wised up to my scam though because when I walked into an Amsterdam McDonald's I encountered my first fast-food pay toilet.  Really just a lady outside the entrance whome you had to pay 0,25euro to before you could enter.  It looked like her job was then to keep the washroom clean and stocked up.  It had been a long day and I had been looking for a toilet for awhile by this time.  That may explain why I felt bad at only having paid 0,25euro after I left that McDonald's.  The poor woman...I only wish I had had more money on me.

Amsterdam was a good city to wander around and party but I did think it got old fast.  A little too touristy, too expensive and, really too many college students...I wasn't really looking for a frat party and I ended up leaving a day earlier than planned.  I grabbing a late night train out that put me in Wolfsburg the next day.
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