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Published: October 13th 2006
Man, Amsterdam is the shiznit!
All started off with me and andrew getting up at 6am (after 4 hours sleep and hungover) to head to Edinburgh airport. Nothing too eventful... although there was a vending machine in the airport where you put in a pound and out pops some toothpaste and a little plastic brush about the size of a thumbnail. You chuck the toothpaste in then chuck the brush in your mouth and chew it around until everything is clean. Genius!
The flight over was reasonably uneventful, although the landing was a bit sketch (nightmares of bangkok), but we made it. First impression of amsterdam was that the airport was fing HUGE for a reasonably small town. God knows how many runways, but we taxied for ages to our park. Then lots of walking and travelators later, and no sign of MAF equivelent people, we were in amsterdam.
Struggled to figure out where the train into town was, which we subsequently missed because we were on the wrong platform (oops), so had to wait a further 30 minutes or so for the next one.
Jumped on the train (first class.. we didnt get our tickets checked but we were going to play the whole ignorant tourist card if we did) and arrived at Amsterdam's Centraal station about 30 minutes later.
First thing that hits you when you walk out of the station? Bikes. Lots, and lots, and lots, and lots and... you get the message... of bikes. Imagine a carpark say the size of the carpark next to the theatre in takapuna.. but it's not a carpark, it's a bikepark. Thousands of the bloody things, and they are all the same design! Single speed, big handlebars, black. I'll try get some photos up soon (nets broken at home so dont know when that will be).
Anyway, me and andy dodged all of the cyclists and trams and cars and scooters and made our way to the hostel we had booked. After getting lost once or twice we finally made it, to one of two CHRISTIAN hostels in town. Awsome! Sorted out our shit and headed out. Andy wanted to have a smoke, so we went to find our first coffee shop. Came across a cute little place called The Black Star. Walked in and quickly realised why its called the *Black* star. Eyes on the two palangi's in the shop! We played the ignorant tourist card (gotta love that) and andrew got some Northern Lights grass to smoke. So we had a couple of joints and got rather...stoned. Very very stoned. Oh so very stoned. Once we exited the place we quickly realised how stressful it is dodging amsterdam traffic while off your left nut.
We meandered about for a while, then started heading back towards Centraal station to catch up with Trav who was arriving a few hours after us. Waited outside and got entertained by a taxi driver and some traffic warden having a very heated argument.. they were pretty close to beating the shit out of each other but something distracted them and they buggered off. Damn, havnt seen a good fight in a while! Few seconds later Trav and Counrtney, a chick from our IEP group, appeared. After explaining the dangers of crossing roads to them we headed back to the hostel to drop all the stuff off. We went down to the courtyard of the hostel so trav and the other (tobacco) smokers could do their thing, and while we were there we were kindly invited to join the nightly bible recitals. We declined and decided at that point to not stay another night and run for the hills. But we were in The Netherlands. They don't have hills. So we had a problem. So instead we ran to another coffeeshop because trav and courtney wanted to do the touristy thing. I was still happy from the last time so proceeded to watch them get stoned silly and giggle like little girls. Not long after we went to a pub (most coffeeshops dont serve alcohol) and sat there for a few hours drinking beers and laughing the night away.
Now one thing I havn't mentioned yet is just how damn amazingly beutiful this place is. EVERYTHING is good looking. All the guys are dressed up to the hilt, all the girls are in their nightwear 24/7. Everyone just looks trendy and on to it. The girls are gobsmackingly beautiful (I think us boys got whiplash from turning our heads so often), and the fact that they all ride bikes means there are bugger all fatties. Oh, and bike seats accentuate female butts rather nicely! 😊
We all retired reasonanbly early that night, tired from our travels.
Courteney had to go back home the next day (one nighter for her) so trav and her made a brief visit to the Anne Frank haus, while me and andrew went to suss out accomadation for the rest of our stay. Not 200m from Anne Frank's we came across the Rainbow Budget Hotel. Went up the stupidly steep stairs (ladder more like it) and found out that our own room with toilet (oh my god the toilets!!!! THEY ARE BACKWARDS!!!! This is one thing none of us had ever heard from previous travellers, but the toilets are messed up man. The hole where all your shit gets washed away is at the front of the bowl, not the back. There is no pool of water to um.. lay your belongings, instead just a shelf of porcelin. So when you do your number rua's, they get laid out on this little shelf thing, for all to see and study. Because there is no water to surround the poos, you quickly realise how much your shit can stink out a little room to an unbelievable degree. Trav got a photo on the toilet (sans poos) so Ill grab it off him when I can, but god thats one of the few things the dutch got wrong)... anyway, we had our own shower and tv as well, and it only cost 5 euro per night more than the bible bashing hostel, so we took it.
Trav and Court's came back from the AF haus and we moved all our gear into the hotel, saw Courtney off and then decided to head to the Heineken brewey.
Heineken in Amsterdam is an ass load better tasting than the stuff back home, it's actually drinkable here!
Anyway, for 10 euros, we got entry to the brewery (I dont think they actually brew there anymore, more of a museum), 3 free beers and a free gift at the end. There was a few pretty cool things there, like a moving simulation ride of the route a heineken bottle takes on its journey through the bottling process. The free gift at the end was none other than a heineken bottle opener, but it was encased in the new heineken bottles, which are going to be made out of aluminium instead of glass! They look pretty cool, but dunno how the beer will taste.
Jovial from our 3 beers, we went to the local supermarket and selected our poison for the night. We decided to buy 2 mini kegs (I think they were 5l each) of amstel beer. We took these kegs back to the hotel, and then came across a slight problem. We had no idea how to tap these kegs and there were no pictorial instructions. Imagine 3 guys standing around this keg trying to figure out how to get the beer out of it.. it's like 3 raccoons trying to crack a nut or something. We sort of figured out after a while that you can press a tap thing and the beer might, or might not, come out. Pot luck decided that. We further figured out that if you shook it before pressing the tap your chances increased, but also made the beer flatter as we went along. As murphy would have it, we actually found out the best way to get the beer out was by sucking directly off the tap, however by this stage the beer was flat and warm... but we had all gotten enough to be happy for the time being. We spent most of that night playing pranks on each other and sharing war stories.
The next morning we went down to one of the many canals weeving through the city and hired a paddle boat for an hour to cruise along the canals. This was a really good way to see the city and if we had more money would have hired it for longer. Turns out these things take a bit of getting use to to steer, so we hit the wall on the side of the canal many times haha. We then got chased down by one of the massive tourist boats that also frequent the canals. Must have been a stupidly funny sight, seeing 3 guys in a tiny paddle boat, peddling their little legs out while almost getting mowed down by a much larger tourist boat. We made it though!
We decided to have a stroll through the red light distrcit during the daytime to see what its about. Lots of little booths that have doors opening onto the footpath that have hookers in them. The hookers rent out each booth for like 250 euro for 8 hours, but they easily make that back and a lot more. Didnt take any photos because even if you stop and look at them for more than 4 or 5 seconds, they open their doors and start heckling you for business. Didn't fancy getting beaten to a messy pulp by taking photos because some of them would be better suited in a WWF ring rather than a hookers booth.
We went back to the hostel and proceeded to have a few more normal beers, then went back to the red light distrcit for a night time view of things. We were all poor so couldnt afford their services (suck n fuck is 40 euro), so decided to opt for the 2 euro peep shows. I was in a rather happy state and once I put my 2 euro in, the window became clear and there was 1 hooker in the middle of a ring of peep windows. I could see the other peepers across the circle from me, and the 'dancer' was so useless I couldnt help but laugh my ass off for the entire 2 minutes i was in my booth. She saw me laughing and spent most of my remaining time trying to convince me to put more money in, through a sound proof window. Nice one. I used the tissues they made handy to open the door and talk about how crap it was with trav and andy who also watched the same 'show' from a different booth. Good laugh though.
Spent the rest of the night looking at hookers looking at us and just being larekens in a foreign town, as you do.
Trav was off the next day so we went our ways. Me and andrew didnt get up to a lot. Had a bit of weed left over which we obviously couldn't take with us, so we had to destroy it via incendiary means.
We were pretty much out of money by this stage, so the remainder of the time we spent just meandering around town looking at all the pretty things. Had to get up early the next day for our flight home. Got to the airport with no souvinairs (how do you spell that?) thinking that there would be a soovaneer shop at the airport... but ahhhh no. Best we could manage was some cheesy post cards, which annoyed me a bit because there was some stuff in town that would have been really cool to bring home to the waiting crowd. Ahh well, next time aye.
So that was pretty much my week been. back at work and the grindstone. Next trip is cardiff to watch the AB's play wales in Cardiff on the 25th November. Nothing really worth mentioning is happening till then so dont be surprised if there are few updates till then (might try and get some photos up sometime though), but I'll try 😊. Love n miss ya all heaps and Ill see yas next year sometime!
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