„Ok, another standard european destination…” – I told myself, until I arrived in Amsterdam. I know, I shouldn’t say that, but the truth is, this job spoilt me so much! Having seen so many cities in Europe, they all look more or less, the same to me. Same old architecture, same nice cafes in the streets, same air at night…But, definitely not Amsterdam. Amsterdam is not the same. Amsterdam is not standard for Europe. I realised that from the moment I stepped out from the Central station in the city.
Two things, in my opinion, make Amsterdam a special european city: its crazy evening atmosphere and the architecture and infrastructure.
I have been in Bangkok and Phuket, known as bustling cities where you can have everything you want: alcohol, sex shows, massage with happy endings, strip bars, clubs… Europeans love it (especially the old daddies :). Well, Amsterdam has it all and even more. Amsterdam it’s an european version of Thailand. Crazy people wandering around the streets at night, laid back people in the bars smoking weed (actually, the smell of the weed is everywhere in the air), museum of Prostitution, cannabis coffee shops, Hemp Ice cream, Hangover Information Center (yes, very important institution), Red Light District…you name it! And to think all that is…Legal! What a heaven! 🙂 Despite all the crazy temptations, I noticed that people were very relaxed and in control. Maybe, it’s a good idea to legalise „the tabu stuff”.
During the day, I discovered the other side of Amsterdam, that I mentioned above – an absolutely lovely city with its canals and pretty historical houses. Amsterdam has lots of canals, but it’s not like Venice (Venice is too touristy, that’s why perhaps, I didn’t find it so attractive). Amsterdam has beautiful architecture, but it’s not like Vienna or Paris. Those colourful narrow houses along the canals with decorative gable roofs and different patterns, dating to the 17th century, are simply stunning. One thing that I noticed looking at the houses was the strange shape, mostly tilted on the side („Dancing houses”) or leaning slightly forward. The explanation is, some of the houses were warehouses before, so they were built with a slight tilt to prevent the goods from damaging the building’s facade on the way up or down. Smart, huh?!
I totally loved the houseboats as well – the speciality of Amsterdam. I would have done an overstay in one of them to experience the canal life for a night or two. I loved the bicycles around the streets. I have never seen so many bicycles in one city. I loved the waffles and the fatty chips, the black vintage hat that I found in a local market and that sunny november day that I discovered this crazy city! Now Amsterdam it’s in my top favourite european cities along with Prague, Vienna and Paris!