Whenever someone asks me about places I visited I purposely try to slide past Amsterdam in order to save my self from that judgmental look they always seem to have. To sum it up, Yes there is a red-light distract and Yes marijuana is legal. Although that is what a lot of people think of when they hear Amsterdam I was pleasantly surprised at how beautiful, modern and loads of activity’s this city had to offer, in fact I loved this city so much that it is still one of the places I crave to go back to. (don’t worry I will get back to our experience at the coffee houses and red light distract)When it comes to traveling to Amsterdam, it was surprising very easy, we flew from Oslo Norway to Amsterdam and the airport is conventionally located next to the rail way. We then took a train to the center of the city (which to this day I don’t think we ever paid for?) When arriving to the city center we were instantly in the heart of excitement and tourist. We then navigated to our hostel (our first one) and felt alive again after the numerous hours flying. That night we went to a local bar and had a few drinks and what better to do then walk around aimlessly in a foreign city. Upon wondering the streets of Amsterdam we mistakenly found ourselves in the red-light district (yes it was a mistake) after reading all of the stories online about how un-safe this area is and to be worry of pick pocketers I was surprised at how many sketchy people I did not see. As Christine and I walked down this street we were both shocked at how little of an area it actually is and quite honestly how sad and depressing it was. (Yes even I thought it was sad, sorry to be a buzz kill) after our walk we headed to the hostel and called it a night. This was probably the best decision we made our whole time in Amsterdam because from here on out it got very blurry.The next morning when we woke up we were loving the backpacking life, we loved our hostel, we loved Amsterdam, we loved life. Little did we know this would be the best we would feel for the next 3 days. To give you a little back story, our next stop on our trip was France where I was planning on proposing to Christine and in my back pack I was hiding the ring. This will come into play later.Our day started out like most we woke up, got ready ate some food and started exploring, We had a few things on or itinerary that day which included the Anne Frank House, the Heineken brewery tour and a romantic dinner cruise. If any of you knew Christine and I you would most likely already be laughing at the fact that we thought we would survive the day of going to a brewery and an all you can drink dinner cruise.
The Anne Frank House Amsterdam:Christine would not stop begging me to go to this tourist trap from the day we booked our trip all because she read a book when she was like 5, Yes I heard of the book, Yes it was famous, Yes it was sad what happened, Yes the Holocaust is fascinating and horrible all at the same time. but No I did not want to wait in line for hours to walk through an attic. But as usually Christine won this one, although this tour was long and dragged out with most of the sections blocked of it was actually somewhat enjoyable with a very sad and real feeling of Wow this actually happened. With that humbling moment alone the tour was worth it.
The Heineken tour Amsterdam:What better way to deal with the sadness associated with the Anne Frank house then to drink your sorrows away at the Heineken Brewery. Before I get the the brewery I do have the mention how beautiful of a city Amsterdam is from its vast network of canals and great architecture it made the walk from the tour to the brewery one to remember. Upon arriving to the Brewery, like the dumb american tourist we are we never read our tickets we purchased online and quickly realized what we had in our hands was not our tickets but vouchers to get our tickets, so after a long walk and a few very helpful locals we go it sorted out and returned anxious to drink the brewery out of beer. To my surprise, this tour was very modern, interactive and worth every penny we spent on it. To be honest my hopes were to high when booking this since I am not one to really care how the beer is made I just want to drink it but after this tour I had a new appreciation about what goes into the process of getting me drunk.If I could stop here I would say we had a very successful trip to Amsterdam and it was a great city. But sometimes in life you can look back and pin point the exact moment when mistakes were made. This was that moment.At the end of the Heineken tour every guest gets to hang out at there bar and get two free pints, and in exchange you give them one of the “buttons” off of your wrist band for each pint (1 button = 1 pint each wrist ban had 2 buttons) to our surprise or miscommunication we received 2 pints each our first trip to the bar in exchange for 0 buttons. So we are thinking great, we won this battle! we drank our pints of Heineken and were stunned by how much better they taste in Amsterdam. (I personally never drink Heineken in the States) So sitting at a table with our free beers we proceeded to love life and sip away, we quickly finished those 4 pints and I proceeded to the bar alone and ordered two more pints and as I sat there in a staring contest with the bartender due to my lack of knowledge in the magic associated with receiving beer for buttons I unwillingly forked over 1 button, I got a weird look but was able to go back to my table (I should have gave away 2 buttons) at this point Christine and I thought we have hit the jackpot, we are living large on free beer and with 3 buttons remaining we think we can conquer the world. Unfortunately this is about the time when Christine starts telling me she doesn’t really like Heineken, so like a good Husband that I am, I pick up the slack for her and drink her pints also because after all we are a team. I am not a master of the metric system but after receiving two pints for 1 button 3 more times I will welcome it to the States anytime. So to “Hop” (had to through a beer joke in there) to the end we had 12 beers unequally between us and had a nice romantic all you can drink dinner cruise ahead of us in a few hours:
River Cruise Amsterdamn: For those of you that wanted to read about the romantic river cruise we had planned…I am sorry. But let me explain because what happens next allowed us way more memories then a River cruise ever would have. Upon leaving the Heineken tour with ample amount of time to reach our designated location to board our river cruise we thought to ourselves, lets make this walk fun, lets turn it into a bar crawl. (this was not a good idea) not realizing how far of a walk we had to go we proceeded to stop a numerous bars drinking local craft beer along with Heineken along with what I remember was a few free shots from some friendly locals. We also mixed into the equation a few appetizers that to this day I have no idea what was in them but were called Bitterballens? They were delicious, we also had a few stops at FEBO which is like going to the arcade but always winning and instead of receiving cheap prizes you get delicious food. As we are sipping down another beer at a local pub we look at our watch and we notice our cushion of time we built into making the cruise has started to wind down. With an aggressive power walk we worked our way to the River cruise. Unfortunately dealing with a drunk hyperactive ADHD selfy obsessed Christine is not an easy task when sober is even a tougher task when equally drunk. The walk ended with a pair of sunglasses in the canal a broken selfy stick a missed river boat and two obnoxiously drunk Americans standing on the dock watching our boat take off.Even at this point of the story I would feel fine about myself calling it a night and just cutting my losses. but with it being only about 7pm at night and in Amsterdam for the first time we couldn’t just call it quits.
Some Random Coffee House Amsterdam:At this point of the night we were way to drunk, way to lost and all we needed was a taxi to our hostel and a bedtime story. God had other plans for us. Before I continue, my recollection from what happens here on out gets a little fuzzy. I remember standing on the side of the road with Christine and both of us being so drunk and lost that we just stopped talking for a second and looked to our side and like a sign from heaven we were standing in front of a coffee shop. Now to give you a little background story me or Christine do not partake in marijuana. I have never smoked weed in my life, I have nothing against it and to be honest most of my friends do/have in the past, I just never had any interest in it. But as me and Christine stand on the corner of the street we look at the coffee house sign and look back at each other and to match the theme of bad decisions in the night we say to each other “When in Amsterdam” For those of you that do not know, weed is legal in Amsterdam and can be found at most coffee shops. There are alot of rumors that you need a citizen card to buy it, I will be the first one to tell you that is a lie.So as me and Christine walked into this coffee shop we decided lets split a brownie (I think it was called a cosmic brownie) we purchase this normal looking brownie walk outside, split the brownie in half, cheers it like a beer and we both eat it. Now we wait. in what seemed like hours was in actuality only 15 minutes, neither one of us felt anything. So like the responsible smart outstanding citizens we are we think to ourselves we must not have eaten enough, So we purchase another one split it again and eat it.
Not a clue in the world Amsterdam:Drunk, High and lost Christine and I are now wondering the streets of a foreign country. From here a series of events occurred that to this day I have no idea how we survived. As we were walking down the streets we stopped at a noodle place called Wok With You, I don’t know if it was from the brownie or what but this was the best meal I have had in my entire life. I did not share, I did not make eye contact with anyone and I did not speak, this experience was mine and mine alone. As we walked on I came to the realization that my future wife also needed to eat, we stopped at a make shift Italian place and got her a pizza while what seemed to be every single person in Amsterdam stare at us while we ate it. From there we magically found our hostel. Where the rest of my night consisted of holding Christine up in the shower of the hostel as she was throwing up in the drain.
Get us out of Amsterdam:As I am trying to heal Christine back to life I notice the time and realize we have a flight out of Amsterdam to Pair at 5am. Still being high and drunk I dress Christine like a new born child go back into our room to grab our stuff. As I reach for our locker I panicked, I never locked our bags up and Christine’s ring was buried inside of my bag. Being to late and not in the mood to deal with it I grabbed our bags picked up Christine and started walking to the train station not knowing if my ring was even in my bag. As we proceeded to the airport my wife spotted every single garbage can on the way and threw up in each and every single one. Now that we are in the airport I have a little pep talk with Christine, I said something along the lines “were about to go through security, if they see you throwing up they will not let us through so keep your shit together” Now that we are at the security checkpoint, Christine makes it through with no issues immediately grabs her bag finds a bench puts her hands over her face and stares at the ground. Now its my turn, as with almost every airport I go through I always get the “random security check” of course that doesn’t fail me this time either. Now with me being high as hell not knowing the language and paranoid about the engagement ring I had in the bag, I watch in fear as they one by one take out every item in my backpack. Good news bad news, They pull out the ring, I am instantly relived it was still there, bad news is Christine is sitting 15 feet away. I immediately did every universal sign for “put the ring back in the bag Christine is right there” hand motion I could think of. If you were a fly on the wall it probably looked like I was having a seizure. But lucky for me, Christine was to busy throwing up in another garbage can to notice it.
The people movers from hell: Up to this point of the trip to our plane I was doing fairly well keeping it together, that all changed when we got on the people movers in the airport. I felt like Aladdin on an all new type of magic carpet ride. I crouched down and hugged the side of this magical people mover like my life depended on it. To this day Christine and I cant walk on one with out laughing historically. After we got off that roller coaster ride neither one of us signed up for we both proceeded to the bathrooms to throw up one last time before our flight to Paris.