Amsterdam, Holland

Amsterdam, the Netherlands' capital, is one of the world's best hangouts, a place where you can immerse yourself in history, in art, in the head of a beer or a self-rolled smokestack. The city is a canny blend of old and new: radical squatter art installations hang off 17th century eaves, BMWs give way to bicycles and triple strength monk-made beer is served in steel and glass 'grand cafés'. Amsterdam combines a huge case of big city exuberance with small-town manageability.

Amsterdam is a cosmopolitan cauldron that has been enticing migrants and nonconformists for decades. It's a thriving city, and one of the hardest for travellers to leave, going on the number of expats trying to bike around like locals.

Amsterdam seems to thrive on its funky mix, and there's very little of the tourist-fatigue which can take the happy edge off other LOB (lots of backpacks) cities. Perhaps this is because Amsterdam's quintessential Dutchness such as the special coffee shops, the 17th and 18th century architecture and the tree-lined canals all contribute to the mood of the city.


27 Aug 2001 - Amsterdam, Holland

On my return from Kos, it was straight off to Amsterdam with the lads. Pat, Blunden, Jint, Chamberlain, Macrae, Hywel, Williams (with his missus!!!) and Geoff. We arrived at about 3pm at Schipol, got a taxi into the Dam and immediately hit the Grasshopper, a nice coffee house bordering the Damrak and the red light area. After staying here for a few hours it was off to find some food, go on a canal tour (for which I slept most of the way) and then back to one of the many establishments (not to be confused with etablissments).

Later on, some great pastries, got a few beers, bit more food and the like and then off for a tour of the red light area. What a selection, small, tall, beautiful models, fat, ugly, sub/dom, black, white, left hand thread, chick boys, the old and also the young. Commercial, rubber insulated love for 100 guilders or less. Its amusing to see the number of blokes hanging around outside various chambers of cold, rubber insulated, commercial love waiting for their mates. In most cases it was the Brits.

Anyway, the next day was pretty much the same, and the next. Later that day we left. Not a bad weekend to end a hectic trip to Kos.
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