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April 20th 2014
Published: January 15th 2016
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I grabbed a train towards Monchengladback. From there I said goodbye to Germany and took another train to Venlo as I entered the Netherlands again. I continued on to Eindhoven and then yet another train all the way to Amsterdam. I had a one night stay slightly outside the city at another hostel. I was so stoked to have arrived and wanted to explore this city as soon as possible. The central station was beautiful as it was massive, and was directly in front of De Wallen, the oldest neighborhood in the entire city and contained most of the famed Red Light district. I strolled through the streets with a smile plastered on my face. I'd never quite experienced a vibe such as this. Restaurants and coffee shops were strewn throughout the narrow and windy roads, interspersed with canals at every block. I had to look thoroughly before crossing the bigger intersections as there were separate lanes for pedestrians, cyclists, trams AND cars! And the cyclists were fucking aggressive at times! I kept walking through the streets in wonder as I passed the iconic red prostitute windows where the women attempted to usher me in. I settled on the coffeeshop Cafe 420, one of over a hundred such places in the city, and it being 04/20 it seemed like a very fitting choice! 420 is the international day of the year to celebrate marijuana and simply get stoned. I guess fate was on my side when I reached Amsterdam exactly on that day. I bought a strain called 420 Haze and, as the place was packed, grabbed the only available seat next to an American couple in their sixties rolling a joint. I smoked and chatted with them as they were only beginning a journey through Europe. Once they left a couple from London took their place and then suggested must see spots in the city as we smoked some more. The night wore on and then, exceptionally stoned, I found a good place to grab a bite and then headed back to the train station to my hostel.

The next day I moved into a much cheaper hostel, just off the red light district. That afternoon I joined a free coffeeshop walking tour where the guide talked to us about marijuana and showed us some of the finest shops within the city. That night I went to a smart shop called Kokopelli and tried about ten grams of truffles, related to magic mushrooms. I sat on some comfy pillows and stared out over one of the canals near the train station. I tripped out pretty hard for several hours and smoked during that time as well. I reflected quite a bit and felt some spiritual growth as I always do during these trips.

The following day I went on the free walking tour in the late morning, although I wasn't as impressed with it as some others I had already done on this trip so far. Later in the afternoon I decided that I was tired of my long curly hair. I strolled out to the eastern side of town and found a Turkish barber and within minutes a year's worth of growth was erased. On my way back I tried to see the Anne Frank house but there was at least a two and a half hour wait and I really wasn't in the mood for that. Becoming accustomed to my new look and lighter head, I walked through the red light district for hours, and had a hilarious experience in a live sex show venue!

The next morning consisted of yet another attempt to see the famed Anne Frank museum but to my dismay was told the line up was now over 3 hours of waiting time, minimum! So much for getting up early! I headed south and checked out the Van Gogh Museum, which was still an hour and a half of waiting to get in, but I just wrote in my journal while I was in the queue. There was beautiful artwork within and then I just sat in the park for a bit in the sun. Following this, I took a canal cruise throughout the many canals of the city and got a much different perspective of the city. In the evening I went to the Hunter coffeeshop and bought another gram of King White Willem and smoked.

On my final day in the Netherlands I decided I was becoming too consumed by this city and wanted a little bit of countryside. I found a bike repair shop with the cheapest rental prices in town and then took a bike north, crossing the river by ferry. I never truly understood why biking is so popular in this country until I did it myself and found it's so easy since everything is completely flat, everywhere! I rode out of northern Amsterdam and headed towards some smaller towns , showcasing beautiful Dutch architecture and peaceful serenity. I rode through Bren in Water, then Monnickendam, passing many farms and windmills. The sun shown but the temperature was pleasantly mild. Crossing a small ferry crossing, I continued on and after about 20km total I arrived at a town called Volendam. Thinking I had found a gem, it was the perfect representation of a Dutch village with perfect cobblestone roads and orange roofed tops. I rode to the marina and once I got there I realized there were loads of tourists walking along the pier! I had randomly discovered a tourist spot but I could see why! I sat down at a restaurant for lunch and beer, and then explored the area. My bike lock seemed to have exploded so I recovered the pieces and took them with me. It was about 22 clicks back but pretty awesome.

I arrived back in Amsterdam with a new tan. That night I walked the town in deep thought and then went back to Hunter's for more ganj on my last night in this wild town.

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