Mark and I spent this past weekend in Amsterdam. I’d like to say I was surprised at how lovely it was, but I would be lying. You see, I had some pre-conceived notions about the ‘Dam long before this particular visit. Many of which pertained to their liberal approach to things like sex and drugs, something our stodgy Canadian and UK governments abhor. (Maybe I’m being a little harsh, but you catch my drift.)
Growing up in small-town Ontario, Canada, you’d often hear stories of far-out, liberal, European places. Amsterdam was always the pinnacle of this, at least in our minds. I vividly remember it being the one place that we always wanted to visit when we were teenagers. The idea of freely smoking pot and hiring prostitutes was just too cool.
Our trip consisted of a whirlwind 48 hours in the city. The funny thing about flying to Amsterdam from London is you land before you take off. The flight is 45 minutes in total, and Amsterdam is one hour ahead. Trippy, I know.
The ease of travelling around the city definitely contributes to its relaxed vibe. We walked everywhere, having only to dodge cyclists and trams for our safety.
We didn’t get a chance to cycle around the city’s streets; we ate our way through them instead.
After a four-hour food tour, I lived to say that Dutch cuisine is quite rich. My highlight was a slice of apple pie from this ancient café founded in 1642 called Papeneiland. The recipe itself is more than 100 years old. Look at those stacked pieces of apple…to die for.
But of course a trip to Amsterdam wouldn’t be so without a visit to the infamous coffee shops. They reminded me of local pubs with musty odours and token drunks. Or in this case, stoners.
Buying pot in Amsterdam is pretty straight forward. You select your strand and quantity, and then proceed to smoke it amongst all the pinball machines and pool tables. All-in-all, it’s about as eventful as watching a couple of stoners sit around your living room, playing video games.
But I can’t sell my experience of this city short. Amsterdam is so so beautiful. The architecture, the canals, the people. I just can’t get over how calm and serene it was (minus the cyclists). At one point I did think, “gee, I could live here.” Maybe not indefinitely, but at least for a short little while…