Roger Cements' response to questioning about his use of steroids best applies to the city of Amsterdam. A simple, "I'm sorry, I do not recall" is a good answer to many peoples experiences in a very liberal culture. If you ever make a visit, a wise approach to Amsterdam is taking a open view towards all of the things we label as "unusual" and throwing it out the window. Everything from the Red Light district to seeing more bikes than people gives the city a very progressive way of life much different from what I have grown up around in the States.
To get to Amsterdam I took the Eurostar from London to Bruxelles in Belgium on Thursday afternoon. I then grabbed a train to Amsterdam and met my Dad at the hotel he was staying at. While he was working I was able to visit the Van Gogh museum, Heineken Brouwery and walk around all of canals that run through the city. Something interesting to know is that it even has more canals than Venice and more bikes than people in the city. During the rest of my stay we also visited the Anne Frank Huis which has been one of my favorite sights to visit thus far. It was very shocking to see where Anne and her family lived during the Nazi reign and to try and place myself in her shoes.
Sandy flew into Amsterdam on Friday night and met up with my Dad and I for the weekend. We did a lot of walking and found an incredible restaurant to eat some local cuisine and hang out. During the weekend we visited the House of Bols which is a "museum" dedicated to the history of genever and liquors. We went through tasting experiments that used our mouth, nose, and hands. Speaking of Aj becoming a bartender, they had a flair room where I could work on my bottle juggling skills. We finished our tour in style, ending with a professionally mixed cocktail of our choice and we even received a complimentary shot of genever from the bar. Ah, the enjoyment of being legal overseas.....
Everybody, I mean everybody, uses bikes for transportation in Amsterdam. People ride with their kids, groceries, and friends everywhere. The rule of thumb here is to spend more on the lock than the bike itself because bike theft is rampant (everybody has "granny" bikes). It is the smart way to travel around Amsterdam and we intended to fit in with the locals. We rented bikes for an afternoon and went around the city and ventured outside the city and found some quaint small towns and countryside.
Overall, I really enjoyed spending time with my Dad and Sandy in such a beautiful city. Sprawling canals and the "live and let live" motto of the city made the visit very enjoyable.
Next up, my adventures with Ally in Italy and France.