Before I begin this blog I would like to say that anyone who is easily offended should stop reading right now. Now calm down. I am not saying I am writing an XXX blog, I now Amsterdam has quite the reputation. However, this blog just has some over 13-18 years of age stories to it and that is it, nothing too off-the-wall. If you are ok with that then this blog will not only be very entertaining but enlightening. So, in Amsterdam I stayed at a Hostel on the popular bar street called “Leidseplein,” and partook in the Gay Pride festivities and visited the red light district. The story commences with my train ride from Paris, Gare du Nord to Amsterdam, Centraal Station (those two a’s are not a typo).
Currently it is difficult for me to access a printer, so I opted for the “paperless” tickets for the train. This made me a little nervous because when I got on the train everybody had paper tickets. However, I felt pretty cool and high-tech when the ticket conductor came and scanned my ticket all while we were exchanging formal greetings in French. Yea, that happened, I am awesome. Anyways, the train ride was quite a surprise. I literally closed my eyes and fell asleep for what felt like a second, but when I woke up I was in Amsterdam.
The Amsterdam train station was gorgeous. Beautiful red bricks and unique stone work. Actually, when I think back on that city every building was built similar to that. It was like I was stepping into a city who knew how to make their past work as part of their present. It was amazing. When I exited the station I realized I did not plan ahead on how I was going to get to my hostel. I had arrived at 9a.m. so I had time to get lost. I strolled around the area where the station was until I realized I was not going to figure this out. Haha! So I found a Macdonald’s and got some free Wi-Fi. (The only time I was grateful for a Macdonald’s). I googled how to get to my hostel and it was easy as pie: one, 10-minute, Tram ride from the station dropped me off right on my street.
I walked around the area my hostel was in before I met up with my friend to check-in. There were so many cool things happening around me. I first stumbled upon a flower market where they, of course, were selling tulip bulbs and “grow-your-own cannabis” kits. To be perfectly blunt, that was one aspect of Amsterdam that kept surprising me. People would walk down the streets smoking cannabis like it was a cigarette. I may or may not have entered a coffee shop out of curiosity and I may or may not have found out that these places provide cannabis exactly like a restaurant, with menus, waiters and everything! They are highly respected as vendors. If I had experienced such a thing like that my mind would have been blown and I would have definitely not partaken in any of it’s content, but I definitely would have thought it was super chill… Anyways, when my friend and I checked into the hostel we met everyone staying in our room with us and they were all really cool! There were a group of girls from Finland and a group of boys from Australia.
We all ended up going out together that night. We went to several clubs and danced together as if we had been friends forever. It was great. The next day my friend and I went to the red light district. There we saw things that made me feel for the first time a cringe of culture shock. The sex shops I was not surprised by. I mean come on everyone, south street in Philadelphia has “Condom Kingdom.” Seeing the girls with their red lights on was just inexplicable. There were half naked girls, tapping on the windows trying to entice you to come in and do whatever. Somehow my friend and I walked into a strip club, I do not know how we ended up in there, I swear it was just a bar. Anyways, we only stayed long enough to make a friend with one of the strippers. Though she was topless we had a great conversation that started from us complimenting her ring. She was a gorgeous Dutch girl that was into fashion. Walking about in the red light distract was both intriguing and heartbreaking. Some guys would taunt the girls and you can see the girls roll their eyes when the guys would pass laughing. Other girls were talking on their phones or to their girlfriend across from them and laughing, looking like they were having a great time, probably laughing about all the tourist that pass. Photos were forbidden, but the street itself, by the canal, was actually quite beautiful and I snapped a picture of that, with a few others from the sex shop…
In the morning I would go get some alsdkfjasdj to eat and then for lunch I would have jdasfkaj. Actually, those are not real words of food, but that is how it looked to me when I would read the menus. Overall, it was a great trip and I would suggest everyone to visit that beautiful city. So, that was my Amsterdam trip in a nutshell. Make sure to check out my next blog, this is my last full week here, so who know what’s going to happen! I am sure it will be inexplicably awesome.