Amsterdam is a very strange city. If you described it to someone who had never heard of it they would probably think you had made it up. I mean, a place with the following features surely cannot exist;

  • over 100 km of canals in the inner city,
  • marijuana is legal and sold in shops with menus about the different types and strengths,
  • prostitution is legal and the sex workers pay tax – like any other profession,
  • bikes everywhere on the streets and pedestrians are second to bikes.

The fact is – this place is real and exists, and most importantly – works quite well. Dutch people look so contented and peaceful.

A beautiful bike I fell in love with;

As soon as the sun comes out, Amsterdamers are having boat parties and floating through the canals on their boats drinking beers and dancing. Friday night at 9pm the canals are filled with these floating parties.

The ‘free’ newAmsterdam walking tour is about three and a half hours long and very informative. The guides of the tours live in the city so they can provide information only locals know, such as the best place to get thai or strange book stores. The ‘free’ part equals tip based, which motivates the guides to be captivating and interesting, or else they won’t get paid!

I also did a tour of the red light disctrict, which included a visit to the prostitution information centre. A former window worker has opened the centre as a place for sex workers to go for information but also in an attempt to increase the respect given to sex workers all over the world.
I visited the erotic and sex museums. The erotic museum deepened my appreciation of the female form as there is art from many different times throughout the centurys.

The Red Light District at night:

Bolhoed in the Jordaan area was my favourite restaurant discovery. Delicious vegetarian food kept me relatively healthy whilst in the strangest city on earth.

On Thursday I went out with some Melbourne friends to club in Rembrantplein called Studio 80. They played electro and minimal techno and we dance until the early hours of the morning.

Vondelpark is so large and on a sunny Saturday was filled with people picnicking and soaking up the pre summer sunshine. It is such a lovely place to relax and read a book or to have a picnic and beers with friends.

The last full day I had in Amsterdam was also really sunny, so I sat with new friends in Dam Square and soaked up the rays.

I spread my seven nights in Amsterdam between two hostels, which both have bars and smoking rooms downstairs and makes it quite easy to meet people.

If you are thinking of visiting Amsterdam and staying in a hostel, book as early as possible because, more than other cities, many people who visit stay in hostels so the best ones book out sometimes months in advance for Friday and Saturday night stays.

The Flying Pig Downtown is right in the centre of town which makes getting around purely by foot quite easy.

The Flying Pig Uptown is next to Vondelpark and a bike or tram ticket makes getting around much easier.

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