(From our trip in November 2019)
Well folks…. the blog updates are back by popular demand (well if 3 drunk ladies from my book club a few weeks ago count as “demand”). Sorry I’ve abandoned you like a toddler in a casino carpark but….2020 is a complete dumpster fire and I haven’t been in the mood to make you laugh. What a bloody decade this year has been and honestly the thought of not taking another trip until my unborn grandbabies become parents has made me have to close off my heart to all things TRAVEL.
But….it’s time to suck it up and get on with the travel show. Hopefully I can still remember all the funny stories about people and things I hated on this trip. Bahahaha who am I kidding, of course I do!!! Buckle up bitches…..
Day 2 – Amsterdam
So after the usual restless first sleep after a big flight we were up early and ready to EAT!!! Abs are nice but not as nice as a free breakfast buffet. Am I right? It was a really decent spread and the hot food was a pleasant surprise!
Then we set off for a wander around our surroundings. So great to see everything in the daylight. The houses, the canals, everything is just how you imagine it will be – but even better. I already love it here and the neighbourhood around our quaint hotel is awesome.
First up this morning we were doing a walking tour but due to jetlag, we were out and about early so did a little wander around the Red Light District. Now friends, probs don’t go to these places during the day. At night, although they are a little bit seedy they are also kind of exciting and bustling with the flashing neon signs, the crowds, the naked women in windows. But during the day it’s just a street with some dirty water running down the middle, rubbish everywhere and the distinct aroma of urine (ahhhh reminds me of Paris)!!!
Speaking of pee, check out this bloke. What in the “take a piss in public” is going on here. And old mate thought, hey why just let willie peek through my zip to have a whizz in the street, I’ll down trou all the way so my hems get a little dip into the pools of tinkle on the ground. Hey, it saves on wearing cologne. And I’m assuming only blokes get to pee in the red light district? Cause otherwise a lady’s gotta have some mad skills in the aiming game, be as tall as a giant or cock her leg like a dog if she wants to make pee pee. The possibilities are really endless hey. I command myself to unsee this.
There were a few ladies in windows trying their luck on this cold morning at 9am. Husband thought they were clearly bonkers because there was hardly anyone around but I have to say I applaud these women and their ambitious business model. You see these ladies weren’t quite as young as the other girls I would imagine. They had seen good and bad days (more bad than good I would say), clearly looked like they had been around the block a few thousand times and honestly there is only so much make up and cheap lingerie can do. I’m assuming these ladies had a good solid plan. They were longer in the tooth than the usual gal and were sporting some more pounds and wrinkles than most so what’s a girl to do? Apparently it costs a set amount per hour for the working ladies to “hire a window”. From memory I want to say maybe 50euro???? I’m not sure whether maybe you get a discount for mornings though. Seems like you should. Anyway obviously there would be less potential clients, but there is also wayyyyy less competition from the young hotties so although the numbers are down, the chances of snagging one of those ‘classy’ fellas is higher. And there is also the simple fact that if there was anyone still stumbling about from the night before potentially they were no longer as selective as they might have been at the start of the night so again, your stock goes up. I support and applaud their entrepreneurship. #youdoyouboo
(obviously I’m looking at this through rose coloured glasses, the flip side is a little more depressing perhaps).
Amsterdam Walking Tour
Finally it was time for our Walking Tour with FreeDam Tours. This was a 3hr free walking tour where you tip at the end. Sam was our guide and I have to say he was good. I felt he was a good storyteller and I love a good story.
I didn’t realise how much the Catholic’s had to do with the Red Light District. They plonked their big arse church, Oude Kerk (although beautiful) right in the middle of all the sordidness back in the day so that the sailors would party all night and then come to mass the following morning to ask for their sins to be forgiven and to top up the collection plate. Unfortunately more and more the sailors were getting up too late and missing mass so the good old Catholic priests didn’t like that. The priests got together and said “what shall we do with the drunken sailors” (did you just sing ‘early in the morning’? you know you did ha). Anyway they decided they would let the sailors come to church first, in the afternoon and they would charge them for “pre-confession” which would essentially then give them a leave pass to go and shag their brains out all night in the Red Light District. Ahhhhh the church has been working out ways to extort their loyal parishioners for hundreds and hundreds of years (she says as her eye twitches, having just finished paying for 2 kids and 22 years of Catholic school fees)
It’s always hard to remember all of the amazing things you see and hear on these walking tours but here are some random dot points:-
- The Netherlands lost the most jews in WWII – honestly I had no idea about this. You always assume it was Germany.
- The canals were built for moving merchandise from the big ships throughout the city easily
- The Dutch are very liberal thinkers eg. Euthanasia is legal – which I 100% support unless it’s Craig trying to kill me off to move in the new and improved Mrs. Kelly (who am I kidding, you can’t improve on this)
- Rains for 250 days a year – hmmmm that’s a whole lot of rain
- Each year they dredge out over 10,000 bikes from the canals. Apparently it costs money to dispose of large items like that so I guess the motto is – break your bike, toss it in the canal. Doneski.
- Rembrandt is their most famous artist and he began his career painting for the Academy of Physicians, his amazing eye for detail in his paintings of dissections and operations helped make him famous which allowed him to then paint whatever he wished
- The Sticky Out things at the top of all the homes were originally for using pulleys to lifting up merchants goods into the lofts, now they are for lifting furniture into upper floors. It’s funny, you don’t think about it but these homes are rather narrow and you can’t go through the back door either. Imagine trying to get that corner couch up the stairs hahaha. And let’s not even entertain the Baby Grand Piano. It takes moving house to a whole other extreme level. You would really really want to think through a move with those sorts of challenges.
- Now for the random fact to end all facts. They fish lots of dead bodies out of the canals. And guess what – they are all men. And guess why – the men get drunk and think, hey I might just free willy and syphon the python right into the canal. And guess what happens next – they fall in and drown because they are drunk fools and the water is cold. And guess how they know this is what happens – because when they drag the bodies out the men’s flies are always down and the penis is hanging out. If you ever needed more proof that men are dumb……ladies, I give you Exhibit A. As we are listening to this story, an idea pops into my head and I am literally frothing over it. This my friends is how I will become a life insurance widow millionaire. Just gotta knock off Old Man Kelly, pull his fly down and dump him into the canal and the police will never suspect a damn thing!!!! I mean, is this a great idea or what, are these normal thoughts or do I need to, ummm see a Dr please Lisa??? Anyway…..moving on. Here is more Amsterdam goodness…
We were introduced to the most magical little sweet treat called a Stroopwafel. It’s kind of like wafers with caramel in the middle and they are delish. They are the size of the top of a cup so you can rest it on top to warm up a little and melt the caramel before eating. Ever since we got home we buy them whenever we see them. They are yummy and every time we eat them they remind us of Amsterdam.
Now as great as the tour was, the one thing I hate about tours is annoying people who ask stupid questions. This tour was no exception. Actually this one woman was so GahtDamnAnnoying – just wouldn’t stop asking question after question after question. And they were the dumbest questions ever asked in the history of the world. I’m not kidding. I wanted her to join the STFU Club immediately and I was getting sooooo annoyed by her that my husband pulled me aside and gave me a strong talking to. Apparently – I find it hard to believe tbh – I DO NOT HAVE A POKER FACE!!! I was not using my resting nice face and I apparently need to teach my facial expressions to use an inside voice. I pointed out she couldn’t see me when I was rolling my eyes so hard my hard was snapping back. Husband pointed out that the ladies husband could see me. I also mentioned that A. her husband needed to control his woman and B. if she asked one more stupid question I might actually help her meet jesus real soon. At one point the tour guide even had to ask her to give him a chance to talk. I may have cheered at this point because it was hard not to push her into a canal. This loathing of humans, lack of decorum and obvious angry facial expressions is to be a common thread throughout this trip. Stay tuned….!
We finished up overlooking this larger canal which had alot more traffic on the water. It was fun to stand there and admire all of the houses and watch the hustle and bustle.
After the tour my feet were so sore – they were sooking a little (not me, my feet) and I knew why they were aching when I checked our steps – nearly 10kms from the start of the day so it was time to feed and water ourselves.
We found the most marvellous little cafe called Cafe ‘t Molentje. Situated on a quaint corner in The Jordaan it was the perfect place to sit and watch busy Amsterdam go by.
I loved all of the wood and decor and the “play your own records” area was pretty cool too. Super authentic and I felt like we were in a true local bar/cafe.
After ordering some local beer we ordered soup and a toastie and some bitterballen. Bitterballen are kind of like little deep fried meatballs of goodness, that’s actually not a great description but they were warm and yummy so if you go there, get some ok!
I usually consider it a good day if I don’t drop food down my boobs but honestly sitting in this little cafe, taking it all in and sipping a nice beer and stuffing our faces was so special and fantastic – exactly how I pictured spending time in Amsterdam. I think husband loved it too.
After we were finished we headed back to the hotel for a nap. The jetlag was catching up. Btw how cute does our hotel look, I know I’ve already mentioned this but we love it, and the location.
Once we were well rested we Uber’d to this place I had read heaps of reviews about called Foodhallen.
It’s a great big place filled with a huge selection of different eateries with communal tables down the middle. The only thing I didn’t like about it was there were too many food choices – how to choose what to eat haha. The vibe was lively and cool and we enjoyed our time here. We both loved wandering up and down, looking at each menu and smelling the amazing food. On a Saturday night I imagine the place would go off and it would be a great place to go and meet friends.
We ended up going with some more Bitterballen (hey, when in Amsterdam do as the Dutch do) anddddd yeah I can’t remember what the other things we had were haha. A couple of nice big beers to wash it all down and we were happy campers.
A quick first day observation – everyone seems to be very well dressed. I mean, Stylish is the word that comes to mind. No bright colours though. Just lots of rich timeless neutrals. It was the end of November so the weather was cool. So many absolutely stunning coats and scarves – men and women. I like their style so much.
After Foodhallen we decided there was just enough time to check out some amazing canal houses at night and after a quick wander it was time to head back to the hotel.
Bicycles – or as I like to call it “Death by Bike”
Because we were out and about early this morning we got to experience peak hour traffic “Dutch style”. I mean you hear about all the bicycles, you read the warnings about not stepping into the bike lane but you can NEVER EVER be prepared for this madness. Peak hour traffic with bikes instead of cars is quite a sight to behold. They go fast with a capital “GTFOutta my way”. There are no friends in the bike lane game and if you even have a hair fly over into their space it will be ripped from your skull and no fucks will be given. It’s like Tour De France but without the lycra and steroids. This is the order of importance in Amsterdam…..Bikes, then trams, then cars, then locals. Nope, tourists do not get onto the rating system – they are expendable. I think the locals probably have like a “drinking game” but with bikes and you get points for how many tourists you make cry, scream, injure and ding ding ding kill, we have a winner. Like ten pin bowling but with people, and they die. #whatthefuc?
The thing that impressed me the most was alot of the chicks were wearing skirts and dresses on their bikes. This is an impressive feat indeed. Straight talk – are we all wondering if they get windy hoo-ha’s? I imagined them walking around at work all day fanny farting and I guess that’s ok in this Dutch riding bicycle world hey. Maybe they are all so stoned from the constant marijana filled air that noone notices a little va-jay-jay toot from time to time? It’s alot to ponder right.
As scary as peak hour during daylight is – I gotta tell ya, night time ~rush hour~ was absolutely death defying. It’s like Roller Derby in the dark, with the hot skater chick flying at you at 100km an hour and not an elbow or knee pad in sight. They are literally outside of their minds with this shit and if I even hear the ring of a bicycle bell, I tuck and roll like a commando away from the sound to this day. Shudder.
So that’s a wrap on day 2 in Amsterdam. I already know we love this place. It’s got such a fun vibe and we need to explore some more so we will definitely need to come back for another visit.
Hope you’ve enjoyed reading about this day – drop me a comment if you did please. Yes I’m that needy!
Highs – Cafe lunch, Foodhallen, Breakfast (okay all the food…..derrrr)
Lows – Tour bitch, bikes, peeing guy
Weather – High of 9, Low of 4