Three nights in Amsterdam in early December 2015. I travelled there by boat from London and three days later got on the train to head back to Berlin.
The trip didn’t start well as I barely slept a wink on the boat. Then I gorged myself on the free breakfast buffet and felt like shit all morning, more so when I broke the clip on my bag at Amsterdam Centraal station, then running up and down stairs to platforms trying to find the right train to take me 3km down the road.
Thankfully my AirBNB host, Ben, was a great guy with a super positive and welcoming attitude. He gave me an idea of how to fix my bag, had bought me some beers and stroopwafel. I did some washing, connected up my iPod to the hifi and listened to some comfort music (John Williams’ soundtrack for the original Star Wars movie. After that I was ready to go in a much better frame of mind!
- Buying a climbing hook for €1.50 at the hardware store in Dopplemarkt (the oldest market in Amsterdam) and fixing my bag. The guy said it couldn’t be done and was quite impressed when I made it happen.
- The streets: cyclists everywhere, zebra crossings at most intersections, cars driving relatively slow and highly conscious of pedestrians, exactly how it should be!
- Wandering/riding around: Amsterdam is a bit like Venice – canals, beautiful streets. Setting out on a walk or ride with only a vague idea of where you’re going to end up is a guaranteed way to enjoy an afternoon.
- Lots of cute couples wandering around mildly stoned – either they were all loved up and soaking up the romantic surrounds or looking quite uncomfortable with each other. Perhaps Amsterdam is a good relationship barometer.
- The prostitute in the glass doorway I passed who flipped the bird to a man who was passing and lingering coming from the other direction. I don’t think she much liked the way he looked at her.
- The Australian owned and operated Drovers Dog Cafe/Restaurant. Quality coffee and amazing food: exactly what I needed. Also a fantastic Bloody Mary.
- The local dutch bistro called Walters and Bar Bukowski, where all the hip young kids in Amsterdam hang out, drink expensive beer and listen to English-language 80’s classics.
- The beer: top notch. Especially at the windmill brewery, where I had the Zatte, the Yuit and a classy IPA.
- Foam photography museum, with fantastic collections from modern Chinese and Dutch artists.
Things I didn’t much like (in the red light / tourist district):
- The waft of dope from all over the place from the ‘coffee shops.’ It gave me a headache. I don’t like getting stoned by myself in public so perhaps that part of town wasn’t for me anyway.
- The young tourists stoned out of their brains, stumbling in a daze down the middle of the street and almost getting run over by locals on bikes.
- The packs of men standing around drinking and smoking, waiting for night to fall, and working up their intoxication levels.
Photo gallery below, or check out the whole album on Flickr here.