Amsterdam

Vondelpark is cool, but it’s super crowded and the other parks in the city are every bit as beautiful if not moreso. I wandered into a random one while exploring the outskirts of the city and could have spent an entire day there. Vondelpark was too busy for me.

I recommend the Heineken tour if you’re into quirky, kitschy stuff with beer included. 11 euro and three beers are included, plus you’ll meet some cool people on the tour. Well, OK, it’s not really a “tour” as a “watch a bunch of Heineken ads field trip” with some old out of commission copper boilers. But the beer bottle ride more than makes up for it, especially if you hit up the coffee shops beforehand.

I don’t recommend canal rides. They’re often in seven different languages, and one of my friends got unlucky enough for English to be the seventh, so when she finally heard what they were seeing, it was already gone. At about noon, head out to the big church by the canal and watch the music man play his horns in chorus with the church bells. A great, great show.

Buy a couple of baguettes and start feeding pidgeons. Then when you’ve amassed a crowd, whip out the ol’ umbrella and send them flying at the tourists. That was probably my favorite thing to do (well, I was under many influences, but still.)

The food kind of sucks. Most places will try to rip you off. Don’t eat the pizza, whatever you do. Sara’s Pancakes is near the Dam square and a dream. I had Chilean style pancakes, served with spiced meats and peppers which was heavenly. But for the most part, don’t waste your money, not even on the “good” restaurants which are ridiculously overpriced.

Check the statue of man confronting the end times in the Dam square, right about 5:00 or 6:00 in the afternoon. That statue gave me chills and really sparked my pride in humanity. I took from it “fuck you, apocalypse. bring it on”, which may not have been the central message but art’s different from everyone.

And for the love of god, buy a hooker or at least go see a sex show. I didn’t and it is the biggest regret of my trip.

More stuff! Sorry, I just came back from Amsterdam a couple of weeks ago and I’m still excited about it.

Visit the sex museum! It’s fascinating and only two euro. You can’t beat that. Whatever you do, AVOID THE TORTURE MUSEUM. It’s a bunch of blown up pictures that were googled with text descriptions of what the device you should be seeing is. There’s a busted ass iron maiden that looks like it coudn’t kill the “where’s the beef” lady and a mean looking chair that might hurt, I guess, if you sat on it wrong.

Don’t give money to the people who just stand around in a dumb costume or deadbeat hippies, either. Save it for the real street performers–you’ll hear some of the best street musicians in the world in Amsterdam and I saw the best crowd manipulator of my life, a very very very drunken scotsman whose only talent was making a cigarette disappear in his hand and cracking a bullwhip (which he managed to hit himself in the face with.)

Aye the food isn’t great. I reckon avoiding any “Argentinian” steak place is a good idea. Chinese and Indonesian places are OK though. And there are tons of 24 hour shwarma places - a total godsend when wasted. It’s also a good place to sample raw herring from street stands. Luckily, I love raw herring and onions - absolutely wonderful street food. I’m not sure about eel though.

Another fascinating bar is “The Three Sisters,” highly recommended, with every beer on the planet. When I go to Amsterdam I usually stay in The Doria hotel. It’s a very cheap (by European standards) place that is on the edge of the Red Light district. They have the basics, a bed and a shower and an Italian restaurant downstairs with fairly good food. Have a good time.

Testy

I’ll second Boom Chicago. Even if you don’t make a show they have a nice handout that explains the city’s etiquette and quirks. I found to be very useful as a tourist.

This cracked me up. Someone has a hobby!

“And, oh, say hi to Karl at the Kadinsky. . and check out the Front Page, oh, and Rokerij II. . . and the Greenhouse effect. … oh, and the other Kadinsky on Langebrugsteeg-- right, “cum Laude” near the Uni! And cheers to Piet at the Grasshopper-- no, the other one-- and Freek at Dampkring. . . no wait, he went on to the Global Chill in December. . .”

(yes, I’ve spent too much time in A-dam, too)

You can survive on pancakes and Indonesian food and cheap donnar. Whatever you do don’t eat anywhere advertising real traditional Dutch home cooking (unless it’s pancakes). There’s always the Belgian fry places, too.

Well, I’m back from my trip to Amsterdam! It was great and I really wish I could have stayed longer! I was alone the first few days and then I met these two crazy canadian guys that wanted to go to the Banana bar.

I was amazed that some of the red light ladies are open on Sunday Morning! there was a church right next to some of their areas and people were going in for petes sake! Oh well, I guess they need to make a living.

I’d really like to go to Amsterdam, I am jealous!

Oh dear. When I was in The Hague, I went to an Argentine restaurant, Gaucho’s, and the steak was mouth-wateringly gorgeous.

I’d be glad of a recommendation! In Amsterdam, if that’s possible.