Well I just arrived in Amsterdam and already, “window shopping” has taken on a whole new meaning. I had absolutely no clue what to expect of the city, but even the 15-minute walk from the station has confirmed pretty much everything I’d heard about it.
My cohort in crime and I walked out of the train station just before midnight with nary an idea of where to go. After extracting some money from the ATM and printing out a shady-looking map, we headed across the street dodging construction workers (again, midnight) and motorized bicycles zooming down the bicycle lane that’s so dedicated it’s actually just a mini street next to the regular one (which isn’t so big itself). We continued walking, trying to determine where we were but street signs seem to be rather sparse. Eventually we felt we had walked too far and, succumbing to our better male senses, walked into a random hotel and asked for directions. The guy at the front desk pulled up Google Maps and showed us where we had to go. About 8 head shops and 2 “red light” shops later, we were at our hotel.
Brief commentary - Until you see a scantily clad group of women standing in windows basically selling themselves in person…it just doesn’t seem real. Now I’ve been around this world for a while and even the sight of those women as I was walking by made me blush like a little kid. In any case…
We’re settled into the hotel now, after a fun ride up from where I’ve been staying in Germany…despite a three-hour delay. Meh. But luckily we missed our connection in Frankfurt (we think we should have just stayed on the train, but as neither of us understand much German…) and hung out in the airport for an hour and a half. I say luckily because the original train we were supposed to be on broke down and the passengers had to get toted back to the next one that we ended up having to catch.