Well-Spent Weekends | Volume 03

Amsterdam, Holland

population: 779,808

Following a particularly stressful architecture studio review this week, my roommate and I booked a trip to Amsterdam on a whim. Although Berlin is notorious for sex appeal (the city's motto is, "Poor, but sexy") I can say I have never seen anything quite like Amsterdam.

Because I am overly sympathetic, prostitutes were not high on my list of sightseeing. I obviously did not think this through when I booked a hostel in the Red Light District. My 28 hours in Amsterdam were some for the books; while it was definitely a bucket list experience, I can't say I will be quick to return.

Things to know about Amsterdam:

It is filthy. Thousands of stoned tourists parading the unbelievably cramped streets of the Red Light District makes for mounds of garbage, broken glass, and pidgeons. Abandoned beer bottles can be found bobbing along the beautiful canals like buoys. Definitely do not forget your closed toe sneakers.

It is also beautiful. The flight to Amsterdam is insanely beautiful. The Dutch flower fields are world famous, and the best view you could get it from an airplane. Planted in perfect little color-blocked rows, the tulip fields genuinely look like a million Fruit by the Foot rolls. If anything, book your flight just to find a better way to describe them than I just did.

You don't want to miss the canal tours. Amsterdam is made up of 90+ islands, with more than 1500 bridges. Similar to Venice, these canal boats are not just a tourist attraction - canoes are a real mode of transportation. I am a sucker for a guided tour, and the tours in Amsterdam are no less informative than they are stunning.

75% of the marijuana products are a scam (but don't let that stop you from eating 6 hashish sprinkle cookies.) Remember, this city is essentially a tourist attraction. There is weed paraphernalia on every corner. Even the ice cream is infused. However, most of the "space cake" cookies, brownies, energy drinks, etc. do not contain enough, if any, marijuana to have an effect.

It seems that the less a café advertises their goods, the better your investment. At least that's what I hear. . .

They have Domino's. I can spot that logo from a mile away, weed cookie coma or not. I think my heart actually stopped. A month into my 9 week program, I had eaten my weight in croissants and breakfast sausage. I yearned for a taste of home, and boy, did I get what I was after.

I came, I saw, I conquered 8 slices of Domino's.

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