#48 – Amsterdam 101 – Coffee, Canals and Van Gogh

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The first time I visited Amsterdam was in the month of August in the year of 2017. Accompanied by my two Amigos and roommates at the time Dan & Dom. I felt at home as soon as I set foot on the ground… There was something special in the air and I had to be a part of it. I felt a connection with the city, the vibe and the atmosphere made me feel relaxed instantly. I felt free. I knew this is the city I wanted to die in….

𝕊𝕠… 𝕐𝕠𝕦’𝕧𝕖 𝕝𝕒𝕟𝕕𝕖𝕕,
𝕨𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕟𝕠𝕨

Get off the plane, baggage claim and coffee a strong one too not that the flight was long but Schipol had a good selection so why not indulge. Ticket, train and check into the hotel. Each time its different, new hotel, new people, sounds but the food, Beer,weed and sites never change.

Last time I visited my girlfriend booked us into a hotel reminiscent of a hotel room on an ocean liner and it’s my favourite hotel room I’ve ever stayed in. There was an endless flight of stairs so narrow I thought we’d never reach the top. We get to reception, shit 4 hours to wait to check in okay let’s walk and get a drunk after. We have our beers and get our hotel keys. Sweet jesus the front door hits the bed when you walk in, the bathroom door hits the bed too…. Oh fuck there’s a fridge and balcony in the room. What!?! It’s across the road from Anne Frank’s House… My god the history came crashing down upon me, the room looked like a cabin on a ship. How surreal… Wow the balcony perfect to take it all in at 2am when the city is dying down and only the insomniacs are up. I’ll love you forever for gettin us this room Eva.

“The times they are a changin” as Dylan said but hopefully it doesn’t get to Amsterdam just yet.

Amsterdam isn’t just for a boys weekend, a place for a sesh to go tie one on and get fucked up. Amsterdam is not for these people at all truth be told but hey you can’t have something so close to eutopia on Earth and exclude people now can we. Grab a beer and don’t mind these existential ramblings…

I wander the city and I play the music of Warren Zevon, Bob Dylan and the song the weight by the band in my head as I have a nose around my new haven.

One of the first things you’ll notice aside from a variety of smells and scents is the buildings, street art, trams and bicycles. So many goddamn bicycles, you must accept that it’s entirely possible if not plausible that this is how you may exit this world. You’ll hear the ringing of death behind you from a bicycle or a rickshaw eerily looming in the shadows and around each corner could it be,is this it oh please ring that bell so I can stagger myself out of you’re way. They’ve got right of way what can I do as a loley pedestrian.

Bicycles & Canals… They’re everywhere and I love it

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ⱽᵃⁿ ᴳᵒᵍʰ

My most recent was trip #4 in the lovely Netherlands. I’ve got my routine and plans all ready to go now each time I go I’ve got a game plan. It’s mostly to see what happens and wander til something or someplace catches my eye. Any art lover or lover of the eccentric for that matter has to go to the Van Gogh museum. There’s a few simple steps for maximum enjoyment of his fine art.

  1. Find a bar
  2. Purchase yourself a Stein of Heineken (you’re in the heart of the home of the stuff)
  3. Enjoy your beer and talk over why that ear was cut off by good ol Vincent.
  4. Next you’re going to want to get yourself a joint to engage you’re brain and properly observe The Starry Night
  5. Grey Area or Kashmir Lounge should do the trick
  6. Ready for lift off, 7…6….5….4…3….2….1… Major Tom to ground control… Water is your ally here, stay hydrated or have a coffee maybe even a Fanta get some electrolytes in your system( this will keep you mobile ).
  7. Take in the sights on your way, there’s plenty to make up 3 or 4 cities
  8. Now you’re ready to take in Vincent

Modern day Van Gogh

A'DAM Lookout

Your surely longing now for something with a little more adrenaline. The A’DAM lookout should do the trick. Make sure there’s good weather, that being said we went on it only once and it was during a fucking storm. Goddamn hailstones beating onto our faces as we got projected and propelled over the edge of a building 20 story’s up. Yano that’s probably a contributing factor to my girlfriend getting pneumonia over there in January 2019, who can be certain with these things?

Miniature of A’DAM lookout

There’s a good gift shop, a place to get a photo taken and put you on a background on the roof of the building, christ they’ve even got an Iron Throne last time and a big red horse on the top, it’s very climbable if you’ve got the tenasity to hop up.

The roof of A’DAM lookout

I was tenacious enough don’t you worry about that.That’s my lone ranger moment…. Never thought I’d ride a horse on the roof of a building but hey, that’s Amsterdam for ya kids

Clearly proud of myself and my good horse up here 20 story’s in the sky… Amsterdam you beautiful paradise, what did we do to deserve you….

To get to this place you’ve got to take a ferry out to the building. Plenty of time to feel anxiety and excitement in your stomach as you approach. Get on the ferry behind the central station and your there. Take a visit into the Eye Film Institute while your at the A’DAM Lookout its next door.

Ferry to the A’DAM lookout

They’ve got enough to keep an avid film lover like myself entertained for a few hours. There’s a bar too if that encourages you. There’s plenty of film history on display some more mainstream than others. There’s some weird shit in here that would make Ripley’s believe it or not look mundane. Go watch Raging Bull on one of their booths downstairs if you’ve got the time.

Get your ass to the AMSTERDAM sign too. Climb it, jump across the top and enjoy fighting for a space, because it’s always crawling with tourists like yourself

The Amsterdam sign in front of the Rijksmuseum. There’s some great museums, bars and scenery

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꧁༒•Nighttime in Amsterdam•༒꧂

Amsterdam is a beautiful place to walk around day and night. The Canals are so beautifully lit, the atmosphere is energetic and relaxed depending on which area you want to find yourself in. One of the most picturesque and beautiful cities I’ve been able to spend hours and hours walking around.

There’s plenty of great bars in Amsterdam and nightclubs too I’m told, I’ve not gone to any nightclubs over there… Never found the time for it. Here’s the places you need to go for the best experiences. I’ll admit the Bulldog cafés are fun but a little crowded and extremely touristy in their nature. You want to go to these coffee shops, in no particular order.

  • Feels good
  • Café the Palace
  • Coffeeshop Reefer
  • Bluebird Coffeeshop
  • 420 Cafe ( small, but brilliant ).
  • Grey Area
  • Coffee shop Mediterrane

You’ve got the option of pre rolled or some DIY inside, so dealers choice you guys. All have a great selection of whatever you want and need. Enough for all your survival needs, the bare necessities and the atmosphere isn’t too bad either. Great music, company and lots happening around you all the time.

It’s stickerbombed but still worth a visit

Time for some beers, you’ve got to get Heineken if your sticking with beer and not spirits. Best pint of Heineken easily is in Amsterdam. The drink is good to straighten you out and a bar can be a haven when you’re wandering the streets of Amsterdam and need some shelter from the outside. These are usually a good place to gather your thoughts and plan what’s next for you. Maybe a walk along the Canals.

Nothing beats it

Overheard on a park bench in Amsterdam

“How about No!, Let’s talk about my sperm donor”

I have no context for this conversation we overheard, it’s one of the regrets of my life not to be more involved in this conversation. What could have been. But there’s no time now to ponder what may have been.

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▌│█║▌║▌║ Amsterdam Square
Street performances ║▌║▌║█│▌

Amsterdam Square

When your in Amsterdam Square Check out Madame Tussauds and Ripley’s believe it or not. The Square is full of great people and food as well as sights to see. Keep an eye out for those damn trams

Seriously head to Madame Tussauds guys

As you peruse the streets of Amsterdam take in some of the street performers. You’ll always find something worth your time and some money in the Dam square. Costumes, colours, jugglers, dancers, singers, hotdogs, trams and plenty of room to see it all. Don’t be scared to Involve yourself in these activities shall the moment present itself to you.

Clearly I was happy holding the flame, things got kicked into 12th gear when I had to throw it back to him – why did I have to put a backspin on it, no time to question these things in the moment.
Circus Fergus – One of the greatest street performances I’ve had the pleasure to witness
Striking a pose!
Something you don’t see everyday

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M͎u͎s͎t͎ ͎d͎o͎ ͎a͎c͎t͎i͎v͎i͎t͎i͎e͎s͎ ͎i͎n͎ ͎A͎m͎s͎t͎e͎r͎d͎a͎m͎

  1. Van Gogh Museum
  2. Anne Frank house
  3. The Ice Bar
  4. Stroll through the red light district (be weary.. Be ready to be asked if you want cocaine in certain spots… Who the hell wants cocaine in Amsterdam).
  5. The Amsterdam Dungeon
  6. Madame Tussauds
  7. Eye Film Museum
  8. A’DAM Lookout
  9. Visit the bookshops – New and secondhand… Be prepared to leave clothes behind to fit them in your suitcase on the journey home.
  10. Rijksmuseum
  11. Waterleuplein Market – great stalls, food, clothes and hidden gems to be found here
  12. Heineken Experience
  13. Zoo Artis – A fantastic zoo with an aquarium and planetarium in the centre of the city.. Must do activity
  14. Take a boat tour of the city
  15. Rent a pedal boat and manoeuvre your way around the Canals with your friends… It won’t disappoint
  16. Wok to walk – get some food here!!!

Get some coffee while you’re here, you won’t regret it and it’ll give you the energy you want to to as much as possible

I can’t recommend Amsterdam highly enough people. There’s something for everyone here in this weird and wonderful city. Most of the time I walk around always finding a new street, a new place to go and explore I can’t believe it’s a real place that exists on this earth.

Except in dreams”

“You’re never really free

– Warren Zevon

I felt free in Amsterdam. If I never returned, the city and people I went with are with me til the end.

Time for another adventure to somewhere new for me… Maybe Italy, America, Germany.. I’d honestly settle for a night in Galway at this stage, why was January so seemingly endless and daunting a month… God help me, take me home

SO GO!! relax, unwind, take it easy and enjoy people. That’s all I have to say… All I can do is hope you enjoyed the read.