Amsterdam is the capital of Holland and the city of freedom. As an American, I always imagined cities like Amsterdam, Prague, and Venice to be surreal and magical because of their beauty and history. So, I was very excited when Fabian and I decided that Amsterdam had to be on our list of destinations for a vacation, which is how we ended up there for a weekend.
Once we arrived in Amsterdam, we quickly learned that Amsterdam coffee shops are nothing like American coffee shops. The coffee shops over in Amsterdam actually sell marijuana and there are so many that we were able to find one everywhere that we went. We found out that the official coffee shops have green and white stickers in the windows and these are the ones that are the best to go to, because they are following the laws, which means that their products are legit. There are not many details posted inside the shop, because they are not allowed to advertise, but we found that they are very helpful and will hand over a menu if asked. You can even order a pre-rolled joint “to go,” which we found very funny yet convenient as it is legal to smoke outdoors.
Everywhere we turned in Amsterdam, we found canals. There are one hundred kilometers of canals through Amsterdam and the three main ones are Herengracht, Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht. All of those were dug during the 17th century and they are all on the UNESCO World Heritage List. We were excited to learn that at least a quarter of Amsterdam is covered with water from the canals and harbors. We of course took a canal tour and we would recommend taking one if you visit Amsterdam as they are very informative and romantic.
The Amsterdam Red Light District is a place that we had heard about, but we weren’t sure if we should believe all of the rumors. However, they were all true, as this place had everything from brothels and sex shops to museums and restaurants. During the day, this area is a little boring, however, we did step into a live peep show that cost us all of 2 euros, and let me tell you, they was all nude and very interesting. We discovered that the Red Light District got more interesting at night once the sun went down. This is when all of the lively people came out along with the red neon lights.
We found many other calmer attractions to visit while we were in Amsterdam. We had always wanted to see the Anne Frank House, to see where the Frank family hid during the Holocaust. There was also the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh museum, Stedelijk museum and the Amsterdam museum. We saw many amazing pieces of art at these museums and there is nothing better than seeing an original Van Gogh.
Our time in Amsterdam seemed so surreal and we enjoyed every minute of it. While it was a fantastic place to visit, there were some quirks that made the trip even more memorable than we expected.
Fabian and Unique