Day 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99 & 100
Amsterdam, the city of "tolerance" was an experience none of could of predicted. From the late night escapades through the red light district to our daring adventures within Vondel Park, it will not be soon forgotten. The mantra there of being able to do what you want as long as you were subtle, considerate and profitable put us into a very easy going and laid back mood. The only buzzkill of it all was the terrible weather unseen since Sydney but more on that later.
The first thing we noticed about the town was the very different means of getting around. Bikes were everywhere the eye could see, locked to every street pole and being ridden down every road. Trams were very much the same and despite our efforts to sneak onto them we were caught every time but one. Games were invented by us to prevent accidents with transport including the aptly named "don't get hit by a bike" as well as "don't get hit by a tram". I'm happy to say we all won the games but that's not to say there weren't a few close calls. Another game we were taught was used when drinking and involved throwing bikes into the river. The person who could throw the first unlocked bike they found, the furthest distance into the water won free drinks for that night. However we were only taught the game on the last day and didn't get a chance to test it out.
Amsterdam was the first place where the weather really affected our plans. With rain, wind, cold and even a bit of hail we were often forced indoors to get away from it all. One minute it would be sunny, the next rain. The only time it ever went from rain to sun was when we went to the park where we had the most amazing weather.
When we could we went to the classic sights in Amsterdam including the giant I AMsterdam sign and Anne Franks house. Whilst the sign was very touristy it was quite fun climbing all over the letters and making funny words with them. Anne Franks house was very cool, actually being able to walk inside the building we had heard so much about. Initially I was shocked at the size of the hideout, having two levels and several rooms. Yet after seeing that there were 9 people living there and the conditions in which they lived, you could see it was not comfortable at all.
The free walking tour as always was great despite us being initially told they had too many people and we couldn't go. Yet after we used our sneaky skills we managed to tag along and had a fantastic time. The guide, doing his last tour was awesome showing us all we wanted to see and more. We learnt all about the history of things like coffeeshops and prostitution, explored the red light district, saw the Jewish quarter, found the secret gardens and even got to see the smallest building in the Netherlands.
The red light district was unlike anything we had seen before. Picturing dark alleys filled with crime, weirdos and girls you wouldnt want to touch with a ten foot pole we couldn't have been more wrong. These brightly light main streets were crawling with cops and were filled with some of the most attractive girls I have seen in a while. Whilst Red lights lit up the whole area it was good fun searching for the infamous blue light, suggesting that it was not a women in the window, not a man in the window, but something in between. Whilst we only found one, it still made the night and we were happy we spent the time looking for it.
Vondel Park, a gigantic park with lakes and animals was definitely a highlight there. So much so we ended up spending a full day there just chilling out and lying in the sun. We explored all the ponds, went through the massive flower gardens (even though half of them were dead) and even climbed on the massive jungle gym which ran for ages.
Unfortunately, food in Amsterdam was not particularly fantastic with us returning to Maccas on several occasions as it was easy and cheap. There were two exceptions to this one of which was called Chipsy king where all they sold was hot chips with a range of awesome sauces. The other, Burger Bar which we found just before catching our train to leave. If only we had found it sooner we would have spent every day there. Ooo, one other food we found in Amsterdam was something called Stoopwaffle and it was incredible. It's basically two layers of batter cooked with caramel in the middle, we ate soooo many.
On our final day with time to kill we all split off and did our own thing. Gav an Zac headed to the Van Gogh museum, Aid to the gym and Az and I to the Amsterdam Dungeons. Not real dungeons as the name might suggest but rather a horror tour through Amsterdam's dark past. With live actors leading us through rooms and giving is a fright whenever they could we saw how people were tortured, life aboard a pirate ship, the black plague, crime sentencing and more. It being interactive made it fantastic and actually gave us the creeps every now and then. The best part was when we were chased into a mirror room and had to find our way out. More than a few times we ran into mirrors and grabbed real people thinking they were mirrors. It was a great way to end of the city.
To Oktoberfest we go!