Easter in Amsterdam
Trip Start Jan 01, 2012
15Trip End Aug 15, 2014
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I have been dreaming of going to Amsterdam for as long as I can remember. I don't know why but I always had this city as well as Paris held up on a pedestal. I remember being a teenager and dreaming of a crazy adventure in Amsterdam where I would meet some Dutch, blonde haired handsome stranger. In reality I actually knew very little about the city but that didn’t stop me from dreaming.
I’ve been adamant that when I went I had to be there in time for the tulips blooming, along with my blonde stranger I had visions of tip-toeing through the tulip fields. For one reason or another I just hadn’t made it since coming to the UK so this year I was determined to make it happen.
I joined a bus tour departing from London so very early morning, I found myself on a bus heading out to Dover and with a long bus ride to Holland ahead of me. We stayed at a hostel called the Hans Brinkler, and whilst I don’t normally talk about accommodation I just have to in this case. The Hans Brinkler prides itself on being the worst hotel in the world, it actually markets itself on it and some of the advertising at the hotel did have me laughing. In reality it was very basic but clean, very much in the style of school camp dormitories and it had the added bonus of being very central.
We headed out on a walking tour of the red light district that night. It was honestly unlike anything I had ever seen before but at the same time was also unlike what I expected. I had imagined it would be rows of windows with women in provocative outfits. This most certainly was the case but I expected them to be trying to seduce punters but in reality most of them looked bored, one woman was doing her ironing, another looked and sounded like she was on a call with her mother. What was such a novelty for tourists was day to day to life for these woman.
I was fascinated by the number of men doing the walk of shame exiting the booths and the share number of people like myself who were there just marvelling at the unique way of life
We finished the night with a bar crawl which was a lot of fun but knowing I had an early start the next morning getting to the Anne Frank House before opening hours I didn’t last the whole night. Back at the hostel I got woken by my very drunk/stoned roommate giggling about having lost her knickers. I guess the age old adage of when in Rome is true and she like numerous other tourists had taken things to the extreme and met a guy, gone back to his and stumbled back knickerless with not many memories intact. Before I knew it I found myself out of bed and at good old MacDonalds at 4 in the morning trying to get some food in her to sober her up and calm her munchies. She was so hilarious in her state that her argument over the merits of McDonalds Ketchup with the other customers was very entertaining.
Slightly sleep deprived the next morning I headed to the Anne Frank House to meet some friends Jenny and Mervin who were also in Amsterdam. I thought I was early but already the queue was down the street. The three of us queued and caught up on gossip while we waited. Once we made it in it was a very different atmosphere from the light hearted antics of the night before. While the house itself was bigger than I expected the thought of being trapped in there for years was very depressing and definitely made you appreciate the hardships the Franks and many others like them faced during the war.
Despite the queue we had to get in I was so thankful we went early as by the time we left the queue had already doubled
I was a bit nervous about what to expect….sex is such an intimate thing so to be watching some strange couple live having sex in a theatre seemed bizarre. We had drinks and then the show began. I know that no matter how I write it I won’t be able to do justice to the show, there was a woman with a banana in her vagina, another with a candle in hers, and a third with what seemed like 10 meters of elastic up hers which she used to tie an audience member to a chair.
The finale was the final act between a woman and a guy who I am fairly certain was not even half her age. I can only describe it as mechanical and not erotic at all, it was a duty and when I found out they perform that show 5 times a day I understood why. There was no way you would come out of that show going wow that was great but more wow that was interesting.
After a few drinks out I turned in for the night
The following day was a free day. I visited the local markets, a sex museum complete with a 6 foot penis and went to the Heineken Brewery. The brewery was a good attraction but I think my interest in beer only extends as far as drinking it.
That afternoon I met back up with Jenny and Merv, we explored a different part of the city and then had dinner at a small Spanish tapas restaurant. The food was delicious, only I would go to a Spanish restaurant in Holland.
With the phrase when in Rome in mind we went to a Coffeeshop and had a joint. My first. I remember my Dad having a conversation with me at 22 and not believing me when I told him I had never had weed before yet the truth is that at that age I had never even tried a cigarette. When I went home last time my brother offered me some in a paddock down the road from my parents and I was too chicken to tell my much cooler older brother that his little sister was inexperienced. How is it that my parents and my brother are so much more worldy than me. So with this in mind I was determined to give it a go, at least here I wasn’t doing anything wrong.
Mervin and I shared two joints, Jenny opted out. I felt absolutely nothing, maybe I had built it up to be something so much bigger than it was but I didn’t feel a damn thing. Mervin on the other hand was a goner, after a few puffs he was slipping down in his chair and his eyes were almost shut. Jenny and I ended up having to balance Mervin between us to leave the shop. I couldn’t believe that after all my years of being a goodytwoshoes it wasn’t a big deal after all.
The next day was my highlight and was spent out at Keukenhof Gardens, home of the world famous Tulip fields. I think next time I need to be more specific when I dream as I did end up tip-toeing in the tulips with an attractive blonde but no offence to Janet she was the wrong sex. The fields were absolutely amazing, fields full of rows of different coloured flowers as well as indoor gardens, a windmill, and also carefully landscaped gardens. We only had a half day at Keukenhof but to be honest I could have done with a full day, there was just so much ground to cover that some parts we just didn’t do justice and I still think there were areas that we didn’t get to.
That afternoon Janet and I headed to a coffeeshop. We had a few spacecakes, special tea and 'herbal’ shakes. I still felt like nothing happened but at least I had the true Amsterdam Experience. We spent our last evening just milling about the city soaking up the atmosphere and making the most of our last night.
The next morning we packed up and prepared for our long drive home, en route we stopped to see a windmill and then went to a clog and cheese making factory
I had a great weekend but am not certain I had the true Dutch experience, Amsterdam is very much a tourist town full of hundreds of drunken foreigners on hen and stag do’s and tourists like myself. Amsterdam was as crazy as I expected it to be but I would love to have the opportunity to spend more time in Holland and experience the rest of the country. It feels great to now say I have been to somewhere I have been dreaming of for years. It may sound odd but it feels like a real achievement.
Until next time dear readers,