Organizing 10 people to go on a weekend trip to Amsterdam is not an easy feat, but I’m so glad my friends and I were able to navigate through the logistical nightmare (albeit with a couple more bodies in a hotel bed than is comfortable) and go!
So, what do college students do in Amsterdam other than pot and sex shows? Well, since I’m not really into either, I had fun….
- Vintage shopping in the 9 streets region of Amsterdam
- Strolling around the gorgeous canals
- Having tea and beer in the omnipresent cafes
- Breakfast at Bagels and Beans (Such a good breakfast place! And it had amazing teas, too. The site’s in Dutch, but have a look anyway: http://www.bagelsbeans.nl/home.asp)
- Wishing I rented a bike so I could zip around the city like a local – it’s a main form of transportation, which partly explains why everyone is so fit!
And what I thought was the highlight of my trip —
- Stumbling into what my friends and I call a ‘Cajh R’ (slang for casual racism) holiday – Sint in Amsterdam!
Brief description of the Sint in Amsterdam parade as told to a foreigner (me) by a local (Mom of dressed up kids who kindly gave us some flags and biscuits) :
On the 13th of November, Sinterklaas, who we know as Santa Claus, visits Amsterdam with his workers (these elves) and gives people ginger biscuits (pepernoten). His helpers, these dudes in suits, toss them into the crowd and the spectators have upside down umbrellas to capture the biscuits. The kids and some of the more enthusiastic parents dress up like the elves or Sinterklaas, and similar to the Christmas I know, good children get candy and sweets, whereas naughty kids get coal.
Reason #486 why I love to travel: The awkward, absurd and random moments that keep life interesting and stretch your mind open a bit more.
What really shocked me about Amsterdam is the easy access to marijuana! I didn’t think it would shock me since I’m from Vancouver, one of the pot capitals of the world, but Amsterdam really takes it to a new level: marijuana lollipops, teas, ice cream, soda pops, etc. The abundance of coffee shops of the smoky variety was also fascinating! They all looked pretty cool, had full menus of what types of pot they had that included menus with flavours and the types of high you get from it. They sold shisha, drinks and decent coffee too! Needless to say, I was very impressed.
**Tip: If you are afraid of getting a ‘Coffee Shop’ and an actual coffee shop mixed up, real coffee shops that specialize in coffee are called something like koffiehaus. A cannabis cafe is called a coffeehouse.
As for the consumption of pot, I don’t think there’s a better substance to give the typical rowdy tourists looking to go wild in Amsterdam. Pot shuts them up, calms them down and makes them hungry and sleepy. I can’t really say I disapprove of making the tourist experience more enjoyable for us all 😀
I am-sterdammingly yours,