This past weekend, I was in Amsterdam and Bruges, Belgium, if you couldn’t already tell from my constant social media update. Anyway, it was amazing. I loved Amsterdam. I loved Amsterdam way more than I expected to actually. I expected it to be stoner central, and overall just pretty casual. I was so wrong, Amsterdam was probably one of my favorite places in Europe!
The journey started when we left London we drove to Dover, which is a port city that’s home to the beautiful White Cliffs of Dover, to catch the ferry:
We rode the ferry for about an hour and a half and once we got on land we drove through France, Belgium and finally arrived in The Netherlands to Amsterdam. It was a long commute, but it was awesome. It was basically like driving through the different states in America, no passport checking or anything!
The first thing I spotted while on the ride was a refugee camp. I’ve never seen one, and it was unbelievable. It was right along the bored of France near the Port of Calais. I felt very sorrowful and almost a little bad that I was freely moving through these countries simply to visit. I realized that there are so many people who desperately need to get into the countries I galivant through because they need a home. It made me feel lucky and it made me wonder what exactly could be done to help them.
It was truly a heartbreaking sight. All these people who are trying to get away from the hell they’re in would rather their life be in shambles than stay in the place they come from. I couldn’t imagine that type of feeling, but I felt so much empathy toward those refugees.
Finally after traveling for what seemed like forever we arrived at a really great hostel in Amsterdam. We stayed in the StayOkay Hostel. There was free breakfast, discounted tour tickets, a restaurant, a bar and computers you could even use. The prices per night also weren’t too bad. Immediately on Friday night I wanted to go to the Vincent Van Gogh museum. It’s cool because on Fridays it stays open until 10 pm and there’s a dj, music, and even a bar, so it turns into a social event. The only thing I truly wanted to see was the sunflower painting, alas it wasn’t there due to “evaluations” of how to best preserve the painting. I sound so dramatic, but I was pretty disappointed about not seeing, but here’s another great portrait that I sneakily took a photo of!
On Saturday it was game time. We woke up, took photos at the I Amsterdam sign, and went to Anne Frank’s house and queued for 2 and a half hours to get into the house. It was truly a sight worth seeing, it was unbelievable. We got to stand and see exactly how cramped it was for the 8 people that lived in the annex with Anne. We also got to see the exact window she looked out of each morning at the sun as she longed to go outside.
I also took a super sneaky picture in the Anne Frank house bathroom. I had to be sneaky because there’s a strict no photo policy, but I tend to think of it as a strict don’t get caught policy. I snapped a quick photograph in the bathroom mirror that Anne’s family used.
After the Anne Frank house we went to the ice bar, which was way cool. Pun intended! For only €24 we got entry, and 3 drinks at the bar. We got special thermal jackets and gloves and walked into an ice box, where everything was just that, made of ice! It was -9.4 Celsius in the ice box, which translates to 15Fahrenheit.
After the ice bar I began to get a pounding headache, but we had one last stop at the Heineken brewery, so I powered through. I wasn’t going to let a little migraine stop me from exploring an amazing city. The Heineken brewery was great, but midway through we ended up at the horse stable section. I began to get extremely nauseas and sick, so I had to be escorted out. I ended up heading out early because I got pretty sick. Although, after I took a nap and had a good meal I was as good as new.
That night we ended up going out to a great coffee shop that was underwater themed and we headed off to the red light district.
The legalization of marijuana and prostitution are definitely the most interesting parts about Amsterdam. I mean, everyone knows that and thinks about it, but it’s truly like no other. The amount of coffeeshops, and marijuana you smell is overwhelming. It’s like smoking cigarettes, it’s very regular and apart of the culture. When I walked into the hostel I got hit in the face with the smell of very dank marijuana. The normalization of it is almost like, what’s the big deal in America (and everywhere else in the world) I don’t see the harm or the issue. If other first world countries have it legalized with stable economies and low to average crime rates, then what’s the hold you? Nonetheless it was very cool seeing something that almost everybody you know does in private done freely.
As for the redlight district, I think the normalization of sexual activity as a job is good. Because it is illegal in America it’s seen as such a taboo thing and looked down upon. Here it’s very free, it’s for the prostitutes’ protection and they even have a workers Union and rights and things like that. I think that some people forget that it’s a job, it’s their occupation. There is a difference between business and pleasure, which some people don’t understand. Just like some people want to be a heart surgeon, some people want to be a prostitute. I personally say do what you’re good at. Some of us do science, some of us do sex, and it is what it is. I don’t knock anybody’s hustles. Get it by all means. The most important thing is that the people involved in that business are protected and safe, and in Amsterdam they are.
On Sunday (today) we woke up and we headed off to Bruges, Belgium (pictured above). It was a stunning little medieval gothic town and it was so cute. It was small, with beautiful architecture and the best food, so I ate my way through it! Bruges, and Belgium in general are known for mussels, chocolate and waffles. I had a bit of everything and bought enough chocolate to last me for months! And yes, that is penis and vagina molded chocolate! LOL