NETHERLANDS

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                Amsterdam is a grand European capital, but differs largely from other European capitals. The canals, architecture, red light district, bikes, and pot culture all come together to create this astonishing city. What I like about Amsterdam is the ‘Cool’ vibe, like the red and black Amsterdam flag displayed proudly all over the city. The Dutch love their city, and so will you!

 

What to do:

 

                Amsterdam is a nice walkable city, so spending a day simply walking around is lovely. In Amsterdam, you’re going to see more bikes then cars (A LOT more), so hop on a bike and feel like a local! If you’re into Museums, a few great ones to check out is Anne Frank House, Rijksmuseum, and Heineken Experience. There’s also an interesting Sex Museum in the Red Light District, which is sure to amuse at night. A stroll through Vondelpark is great, as you’ll see people running, strolling, rollerblading, barbequing, and enjoying the beautiful nature. Something unique about Amsterdam is walking into a coffeshop, where tourists can buy and enjoy marijuana, hash, and cannabis-infused edibles in a pleasant and safe environment. Also legal in Amsterdam are truffles, which have similar psychedelic chemicals to shrooms. I am not endorsing or advocating the use of drugs in any way, however if this is something you are interested in, I recommend checking it out and trying a Space Cake (cannabis infused brownie/cake). Amsterdam also has free walking tours, where you can take a stroll around the city and learn about the history and interesting facts. A great way to explore the city, make some friends, and become more familiar with Dutch culture. At night, head to the Red Light District and you’ll be in for a shock. It’s sex sex sex, with naked girls calling you for a good time, sex museums, sex shows, sex art, and more. I wouldn’t recommend going there looking for sex as the sex workers have sex 8-15 times a day (as I learned on a walking tour), and they do not have to be tested for STI’s or STD’s to be working there, so there is a health risk involved, but taking a stroll and witnessing the Red Light District is one of the most interesting parts of Amsterdam. Although my 4 days in Amsterdam were short, I will come back and explore more. I hear the countryside is beautiful, and both Rotterdam and The Hague are cool nearby cities to check out as well.

 

Where to stay:

 

                I stayed in only one hostel in Amsterdam, but it is my favorite hostel in the world!! The Flying Pig is a fun social hostel like no other. I stayed in a 32 bed dorm, and made lots of friends. The people staying in this hostel are all interesting characters, and before I booked the hostel I heard it’s a crazy place with lots of fun, lots of drama, and a place where you’re sure to make many memories. This is exactly what I experienced! All the people staying here were very social, very interested to meet new people, and all were quite interesting. I’ve seen people crying, fighting, screaming, laughing, hugging, kissing, barfing, and everything in between. There’s an awesome (but expensive) bar that’s literally live all night until dawn, and there’s a smoking room where you can relax in the comfort and warmth of large soft pillows and cushions everywhere! People here love to have deep conversations about life, existentialism, travels, consciousness, and anything really. I met someone who worked in San Francisco and was taking massive loans from cash reserves to illegally buy back stock of a large company to drive the price up before selling them again and repeating the process. That was one of the crazier conversations that I had, but hearing it from his perspective was definitely cool. Was it true? Dunno, but an interesting conversation nonetheless. In the smoking room, everyone is going to be high, drunk, on psychedelics, or a mix of both. Start conversations and then guess what they’re on. This might not sound ideal for everyone, but I guarantee staying here will create many many memories you will never forget.