There are sex shops, peep shows, live sex shows, clubs with prostitutes and more in the Red Light District. I think we expected this, but not to such a scale. In the daytime, it’s not so bad, but at night…oh my god. The streets were so jampacked, the people were drooling over the girls, people were lining up to see sex shows – it was crazy. I was dumbfounded that people travelled across the world to see naked people, sex, and even partake themselves.
On the other hand, Amsterdam isn’t just sex and weed. It is also a marvel for it’s wonderful and abundant canals. Bridges line the streets, making for beautiful scenic autumn walks during our stay.
We did end up on a canal tour, where we were able to learn about the canals and ride along the gentle waters. It was a beautiful, though cold, experience.
While on the canal tour, we were told about the “sinking houses” of Amsterdam, making for some misshapen buildings. Some of the houses were built so long ago that the water from the canals had made them start to sink! They have since had their foundations fixed, but the tops of the houses are all very different in some areas, which looks so quirky and cool. There are some houses that are in the water like in Venice, too.
The city was never dull. It was always alive. With the bikes, the scenes, and the parks where people were always playing or dancing or doing Tai Chi. There was nearly always street performers around, too, showing off their talents to a crowd of tourists. They were so enthusiastic, and their showmanship was commendable.
And interesting one was when we were watching a double-jointed man fit his whole body through a tennis racket (yeah, that happened), when a random parade of sorts came through the streets. The police blocked it off, and buses and trucks that were like parade floats came through the streets blasting music following by dancing youngsters. We couldn’t figure out what was going on, with pink flares in the air, dreadlocked people in mass, and music that you couldn’t help bopping to – but hey, it was random and fun, signature Amsterdam!
The last notable thing about their city life was the fashion and confidence. In my opinion, the majority of people (locals and tourists) were dressed so stylishly. They definitely dressed better than the people in my area, that’s for sure! When we were sat on the benches in the park, I would people-watch and admire their long coats, military boots, multi-coloured tees and jumpers, and just embellishments that take confidence. I hope I can be brave next year and dare to dress like the Dutch!
Adrenaline and Thrills
In the hope of saving money, myself and Patrick decided we wouldn’t pay for another night in our hotel because we had an early flight the next morning. And so, we stayed overnight in the airport. Luckily, Amsterdam has the best and biggest airport that I have ever been to.
Beforehand, though, we concluded our trip with something very…scary! No, not Halloween scary, but sick-to-your-stomach scary! Amsterdam is home to Europe’s Highest Swing. It is on the A’dam Lookout and is 100m high. We rode in a super cool elevator that had strobe lights flashing – not at all helping my anxiety at the time. We reached the sky bar, which provided a 360 view of Amsterdam at night.
Patrick had a drink and was calm (or so he appeared) but I was very anxious. It had been my idea from the beginning to go on the swing, but I was having second thoughts! In fact, I was hoping Patrick would forget about it…but no, the canal tour reminded us both about it (which I saw as a sign from the universe that I had to do it, and it would be fun).
Thank you, universe, because it was awesome. Terrifying, sickly, way too high, and so not safe – but totally awesome!
We were on there for like a minute, yet all day I was so nervous. *slaps forehead* Queuing up, you could hear the springs that pushed the swing, and it terrified me. I was looking at the structure, thinking about the tall building, and cursing myself for doing this to myself!
But as I say, I’m so glad that we did it because seeing the city lights, feeling the wind, having the canal beneath us…god, it was wonderful. Is there anything better to remind you that the world is truly limitless?
Thank you, Amsterdam, for helping me lose my “get high” virginity, showing me some beautiful scenes, teaching me that taboo subjects needn’t be taboo, and giving me the opportunity to look at things from a new perspective. I feel revitalised, creative, and ready to smash the end of this year!