Amsterdam, The City of All Things Il(legal)

I actually really love Amsterdam and can’t wait to return. It’s such a liberating city with so much to do even if you’re short on time. This trip was very spontaneous and wasn’t exactly planned. I basically received a call the day before asking if I wanted to spend the weekend in Amsterdam. Before you know it, I’m on a 3.5 hours bus ride from Lille to the city of all things il(legal). Just to be clear, as most of you know, cannabis and prostitution are very much legal in Amsterdam. That being said, with over 100 km of canals and possibly more bikes than people, this trip was definitely one for the books.

WHERE I STAYED

EASYHOTEL AMSTERDAM AIRPORT SCHIPHOL

We stayed at this hotel, which was fairly cheap for 5 people, but it was a bit far from the centre. I guess this is expected as most airports in Europe are located far from the city centre.  Initially, we planned on driving to Amsterdam but due to certain circumstances we ended up taking the bus. I don’t recommend this hotel if you plan on using public transport as you’ll spend a good amount of cash travelling to the centre. I do recommend this hotel however, if you plan on flying to Schiphol Airport and driving in Amsterdam.

where i went

RED LIGHT DISTRICT

RLD is a well-known destination for sex tourism (yes it’s a thing) and it’s legal in many European countries. There is plenty to see here at night. I don’t have much to discuss because I didn’t ‘experience’ anything, but it was interesting to see how ‘normal’ everything seemed. Just to give a quick description, the district is filled with small businesses on tiny streets with sex workers appearing behind each window. No, they aren’t fully clothed. The rooms are lit in red (hence the name) which means ‘available.’ Once the light is off and the curtains are shut, let’s just say someone is getting their dreams come true. I’m unsure of the prices but I assume it’s based on the ‘requests’. Though I do remember a guy saying €100 is too much for 20 mins. I walked around RLD feeling curious but also a bit embarrassed because it was a bit of culture shock for me. I wish I could have taken more pictures because there was so much to see here apart from this, but no cameras are allowed in the area.

JORDAAN

We stumbled upon this neighbourhood and it was so worth it. It’s so picturesque. I mean just look at this picture. It literally looks like a painting. There are so many cafes, restaurants and museums and the neighbourhood itself amplifies the Dutch lifestyle. With its flower-lined canals and stoned streets, it’s easy to wander and just get lost in it all.

Prinsengracht Canal

what i ate

MCDONALD’S

You were probably expecting Dutch cuisine as I’ve set the precedent of always trying local eats while I travel. Unfortunately, I didn’t eat anything spectacular on this trip except a good ole’ Big Mac because it was just a 3 mins walk from the hotel. Yes, I had Mcdonald’s the entire trip and absolutely nothing is wrong with that. Let’s also not forget that I’m a student on a budget!

my plans next visit

ANNE FRANK HOUSE

The museum is located in Jordaan, but due to limited time I was unable to visit. I read the book, or should I say the diary years ago and I’ve always wanted to visit. Anne Frank was a Jewish girl who went into hiding in this house in the 1940s after the Nazis invaded the Netherlands. She kept a diary with short stories she wrote that spoke about her life in hiding and the moments leading up to her capture.

CANAL CRUISE

Singel Canal

What’s one thing you can’t wait to do in Amsterdam? Comment below!

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