Having spent a few days celebrating, crying in a hotel lobby and visiting the doctors, I enjoyed being in Amsterdam.
For over a year I’ve said that I’d like to go and I finally went! Being Dutch plays a part into how fast I decided on going when an opportunity came about.
Before going I had a look at free stuff: I used this site as a little info guide, there are also websites with free apps and price guides online. In no particular order, I’ll list some things my friends and I enjoyed doing, saw and even wished we had done.
1. The sex museum, €4 (near Dam central station). I’d call it a snippet of sex history and a splash of porn (there are live sex shows in the city but I’m not into that so I won’t go into it). I felt like I had a decent sexual history knowledge prior to visiting and the museum just added weird facts (pictures) that I never knew about and animated dolls plus real life-sized BDSM figurines. I think it’s cool but not for the squeamish or happy vanilla goers.
2. A walking tour. We went on a free tour for just under 3 hours with a company at Dam Square, they have a few in the morning and they’re pretty fun. Our guide was Rocco and he was full of life and excited about his job. He had travelled extensively performing and living in theatre and dance but returned and fell in love with his home. I agreed that Amsterdam is beautiful and worth revisiting. I’ll be back next summer just to see it in the warmth and find more hidden gems.
3. Red light district. We walked through a small portion of it and I heard some heartwarming information about it which settled my concern for the industry. We couldn’t go to the walking tour due to illness but I’ll definitely be going back to really delve into it and ask questions. Some of the safety measures present are: CCTV cameras every few windows, a red button inside by the bed for the employee to press in case of danger and a little choice for the employees. Again, the same company does that evening tour for €14, lasting approximately 2 and a half hours.
4. Boat canal. We paid a packaged price but these range from 12-15€. I was bored, however, it’s worth it to say you’ve been on the canal and saw the sunset (which is just after 4pm in December). Apart from passing by rich areas, the mayors house, the view of the most bridges on one canal Street and seeing boat houses I wouldn’t blame you for skipping it but my friends would.
5. The ‘I Amsterdam’ sign. If you don’t do it, you haven’t been to Amsterdam. It’s located just behind the Van Gogh Museum at the museumplijn tram stop (lines 2 and 5 I believe).
6. Food and shopping. I don’t have many specific things here as we kind of ate whatever but I’d say to find a cool spot and revisit it the following day, create a short rapport and have simple witty conversations. These people end up being very helpful or adding extra positivity to your day. My friend who lives there does suggest finding colony food, Suriname dishes, as an example. Us islanders use spices so we can turn a pot, Dutch food isn’t tasty for everyone.
Right by the metro line 5 and 2 stop of dam square there’s a little place before the Argentinian restaurant, that I think is called Warm Bakker Dam. The staff are mid to late 20’s and have a Russian accent but they’re fab people that fed us well 😍
7. I walked into a mushroom shop. If you’re into trying new things, there’s a mushroom spot on the right side of the dam square roads near the top end towards Dam central. They check on you and ensure your trip is quite looked after and are there to help you come down from it if needed. I’d never heard of such a service so I guess it’s a niche. You can buy other legal narcotics there and they’re friendly people willing to share information and demystify myths you may hold in your mind.
8. Each to their own but I’m telling you based on what I saw from weed, and space/moon cake. Entirely up to your own discretion. I hung around a few different people and I’d say that hash is strong and you should be around seasoned consumers; cake hits you and seizes you for a while so if you’re completely new or light to any changes in your vision and hallucinations you’ll hate it; smoke, there are so many cool bars that I have info on that I could share if needed as I got the list from someone who tested quite a few. I’d say I noticed the good coffee bars just attracted chilled, cheerful people that you could easily make friends with the table next door and even join them. I didn’t see many effects on this but remember to finish your joints before you get to the airport, it’s illegal in many other countries and I don’t want you to get caught then say ‘Hmmkiki said you do it if you want but didn’t warn me!’ No hunny.
It is possible to go and completely stay away from the substances but you’re likely to smell it constantly. Complaining wouldn’t be appropriate as a lot of residents do it as a part of their down time and it doesn’t seem fair to judge when there’s a culture difference. I mean hello, they have a regulated and protected red light district with undercover cops roaming through frequently.
Have you been to Dam before? What are your thoughts? Is it somewhere you’d like to visit or not?