Hamsterdam

So Thursday was AmDam time, was at Lille like 2 hours early since it was get a lift early or hike with a bag….so after a billion years of waiting, got my train to Brussels, and had to adopt a light-jog-I’m-not-really-running-honest to get the connection to the Dam. Once there, I hunted for a tram, and walked about like a complete lost soul, looking at a bunch of tram numbers. After wandering for an obscenely long amount of time, I boarded what I thought was my tram, and tried to follow the line we were on on the map, which I failed miserably at, and only realised I was on the wrong one when we got to the end of the line and I had the tram driver shouting at me in Dutch, then in English that it was the end of the line. I cannot take Dutch seriously whatsoever; it’s just failed abysmally as a language. No one else speaks it, which means all the other languages would laugh at it (Italian of course wouldn’t concern itself with this as it’s too beautiful to care). It does just sound like drunk English or someone doing a really bad impression of English. Anyway, got back to where I started and forked out on an overpriced taxi, where I asked the guy what I should do in Amsterdam and he asked me “do joo laike to vatch dirt?”…..again, I cannot take you seriously.
The first hostel was a wee cutie-patooty boutique hotel where I was welcomed with a map and a cup of tea, always a good start. It was a former brothel, so the room I was staying in was “red light themed”, which essentially meant there were canvases on the wall of 80s nakey ladies, which seemed to chart the downfall of female pubic hair in porn. Essentially dumped my bag and hopped on a tram to go see Anne Frank. About halfway up the street I realised I was seeing nothing being on the tram, so hopped off and went for another stroll. Found lots of deliberately shabby designer boutiques and enjoyed my walk. Found Anne Frank’s house (with almost as much difficulty as the nazis, perhaps they should consider a sign further away than ‘Anne Frank huis 100m’). I didn’t find it as emotional as everyone told me I would, I think if they’d had it furnished the way it was then I’d have felt more connected. It was seeing the bathroom that did it for me, it was still furnished so it was easy to think….fuck, this is where she was thinking all these thoughts. After the house, I walked back to the hostel and stopped in at a coffee shop en route. The chat was undeniably dire, I was forced to overhear a full conversation that essentially was focused round “if weed was legal we wouldn’t have any wars, like we do now over drugs”. Apparently everyone’s just downed tools on the heroin and coke trades and it’s now all about a date with Mary-Jane. You are morons, shoosh. Shields had warned me about space cakes before I went (classic motherly advice of ‘don’t eat the cakes….just smoke it, ok?’) so naturally that was the first thing I tried. They tell you to eat half then wait 40-90 minutes to see how much it’s hit you. I’ve never left half a cake on my plate for 90 minutes in my life and wasn’t about to start, so just ate it all and waited….and waited. It was pish. It did feel a bit high when I was in their 5 storey H&M afterwards, but I think that had more to do with a fashion-forward capsule collection on floor 4…..swoon.
The Friday, I decided to hire a bike, like a true local/utter tourist. It was outstanding. Aside from having spending an average of 5 minutes grappling with the lock every time I stopped, drawing attention from locals who clearly are amused by the hapless and bike-incompetent foreigners who visit their city. The area is so set up for bikes, they have different traffic lights and lanes for bikes, so I had no fear fleeing about main roads and such. I was happy as larry, just cycling about, ringing my bell for no reason, and stopping at stuff that took my fancy. I decided to find the market there as I’d heard it was huge, so managed to find it, and it turns out it’s the same as in France. The French love their markets but, god bless them, it’s just the Clydebank Wednesday afternoon market all over again. I wonder if markets are all actually franchised and just get a start-up box containing L’oreal and Maybelline make-up, a variety of pashminas and 50kg of oranges.
I then headed for the Van Gogh (who I love) museum, which had a Picasso (who I love) exhibition from his blue period (which I love), but for some reason, after I’d done the Picasso exhibit, I just had no attention span whatsoever, and I was walking about this museum of like 5 floors of one of the greatest painters thinking, I just want to be fleeing about exploring on my new, shiny orange bike. So, disgracefully I left and hopped back on my bike. Culture be damned! I then took the whimsical cycling-about-Amsterdam approach. Attempted to find somewhere quaint and Dutch to eat lunch at (I never did find out what Dutch food centres around) but despite my best efforts, everything was shut, except O’Donnell’s…..yes, an Irish pub. In for a penny, in for a pound, I ordered a fry up. I make no bones about it though, it was fantastic. After that I jumped back onto my bike and found a cute wee boutique/gallery where I bought a kilt (it was for a club night, I haven’t become overly patriotic).
My next hop-off was when I found The Best Cake Shop Ever. It was done up in this kitsch vintage style, with all these amazing big cakes in the window and a menu full of delights such as “Chocolate Slut”. Needless to say, it was packed full and despite the woman there inviting me to “ask someone if there’s a seat free at their table”, I decided to come back with Claire when she arrived. So I headed back to my cutie hostel to check out, and to return my bike, before making the trip to the other hostel we were staying at. Somehow in this space of time managed to leave a bag of shopping, kilt and my only towel….ideal! Found our other hostel, where, unlike the friendly other hostel, it was like ‘here’s the keys, there’s the lift’. Decided to fire some makeup on and catch the shops closing before getting a few drinks and meeting Claire. This turned into spending 2 hours in my hotel room, fannying about, backcombing my hair and trying to wear all my makeup at once. Skipped shopping and decided to try and make up for the pishness of the weed the night before. Headed to the Red Light and ordered my blackcurrant Twinings (rather sensibly, you can’t drink in coffeeshops) and requested “what’s strong here?”. This may have been my downfall, as just because one coffeeshop’s cakes are rubbish, does not mean all the Mary in Amsterdam is. Ended up baked out my face, watching some sort of Sting/Police video special on the TV in the corner, until I willed my legs to move, and wondered what I could do till Claire arrived, since I still had 2 hours.
In my hazy-head I kept thinking “I should install myself somewhere”, which at the time I kept thinking was a funny phrase, but I realise now it’s because s’installer in French means to settle yourself in. I was that I-need-to-be-sober-again way and had to keep checking my legs were still joined onto my body so went to a late night cafe and got myself a toastie, more to kill time than anything else, then finished off with a belter of a pudding at a different cafe down the street. It was like a hard crepe, with chocolate lining, filled with ricotta-cream cheese and orange peel. Outstanding.
Headed to meet Claire at the main square, nicely more-sober and had an American man run up to me and ask “are you Rose? Who’s Rose? Where’s Rose?”. Told him I had no fucking clue, but it turned out this was just an opener for his pal to chat me up. Which did provide a distraction until Claire got there. Once she’d arrived we headed back to the hostel where I was gifted my favourite shoes, my favourite bra, and a shiny, new mascara. Somehow ended up in a bar, which I think in hindsight was Amsterdam’s answer to Campus, with waitresses, regardless of size, sporting crop tops and glorified pants as a skirt. My memory is hazy at this point, not because I was wrecked but because it was now about a fortnight ago….We did however get nicely drunk.
The next day we decided to check out the Nine Streets area which is famous for being a great shopping district. After finding a few amazing shops, as well as beautiful postcards featuring some inventive uses for vaginas, it started to rain, so we decided to duck into an Italian restaurant to hide ourselves away. After we’d had our fill of pasta, we headed to a coffeeshop next door, where the clientele were actually good looking and there wasn’t the obligatory, tatty Bob Marley poster on the wall. Had some space cakey fun and had a cheeky smoke (once again, the same weed I’d smoked the night before that I’d been like fuuuuck I need to be sober again). Felt a nice wee high, but nothing major. Realised it was pretty much shops-shutting time and we’d visited about 3, so cut our losses and headed to the cake shop I’d been at the day before. Thankfully Claire is of the same fat-girl mindset as me, so we got 3 pieces between us, after just having lunch…and spacecake. They were out-fucking-standing. Here’s to you, pecan pie. For some reason though, practically down to the second, our spacecake hit us at the exact same time, and we were both sitting crying with laughter, so much so that my stomach felt like it was breaking, and Claire was just talking shite. For some reason at the time “you know…..we’re going to have to….walk home….in the rain” seemed like the funniest sentence I’d ever heard in my life.
We had the full intent of going to a fetish night we’d discovered on the AmDam outskirts and I have no idea how, but it went from one extreme to another, that we ended up going for casual drinks. We ended up in a cocktail bar, where the only seats available where under the staircase, we took it anyway and hid ourselves away like Harry Potter until a waiter found us a booth. We headed to an odd bar that was definitely for the locals, it was the size of a living room, with wrecked folk dancing about and coming to give us their chat. Inexplicably there was also the charming decoration of an oversized, inflatable bottle of flu medicine. We ended the night, wrecked and in a bar that had mice running about the floor. We asked if they had something like olives we could snack on since we’d skipped dinner and the waitress went “well, we don’t have any olives, but we have this big plate-” and we just went “yeah, that’ll do” and she was like “well, it’s a plate of-” and we were like “yeah, that’s for us”. She looked bemused, but returned with, yes, a big plate of food. It did the job.The first hostel was a wee cutie-patooty boutique hotel where I was welcomed with a map and a cup of tea, always a good start. It was a former brothel, so the room I was staying in was “red light themed”, which essentially meant there were canvases on the wall of 80s nakey ladies, which seemed to chart the downfall of female pubic hair in porn. Essentially dumped my bag and hopped on a tram to go see Anne Frank. About halfway up the street I realised I was seeing nothing being on the tram, so hopped off and went for another stroll. Found lots of deliberately shabby designer boutiques and enjoyed my walk. Found Anne Frank’s house (with almost as much difficulty as the nazis, perhaps they should consider a sign further away than ‘Anne Frank huis 100m’). I didn’t find it as emotional as everyone told me I would, I think if they’d had it furnished the way it was then I’d have felt more connected. It was seeing the bathroom that did it for me, it was still furnished so it was easy to think….fuck, this is where she was thinking all these thoughts. After the house, I walked back to the hostel and stopped in at a coffee shop en route. The chat was undeniably dire, I was forced to overhear a full conversation that essentially was focused round “if weed was legal we wouldn’t have any wars, like we do now over drugs”. Apparently everyone’s just downed tools on heroin and coke and it’s now all about a date with Mary-Jane. Shields had warned me about space cakes before I went (classic motherly advice of ‘don’t eat the cakes….just smoke it, ok?’) so naturally that was the first thing I tried. They tell you to eat half then wait 40-90 minutes to see how much it’s hit you. I’ve never left half a cake on my plate for 90 minutes in my life and wasn’t about to start, so just ate it all and waited….and waited. It was pish. It did feel a bit high when I was in their 5 storey H&M afterwards, but I think that had more to do with a fashion-forward capsule collection on floor 4…..swoon.
The Friday, I decided to hire a bike, like a true local/true tourist. It was outstanding. Aside from having spending an average of 5 minutes grappling with the lock every time I stopped, drawing attention from locals who clearly are amused by hapless and bike-incompetent foreigners. The city is so set up for bikes, they have different traffic lights and lanes for bikes, so I had no fear fleeing about main roads and such. I was happy as larry, just cycling about, ringing my bell for no reason, and stopping at stuff that took my fancy. I decided to find the market there as I’d heard it was huge, so managed to find it, and it turns out it’s the same as in France. The French love their markets but, god bless them, it’s just the Clydebank Wednesday afternoon market all over again. I wonder if markets are all actually franchised and just get a start-up box containing L’oreal and Maybelline make-up, a variety of pashminas and 50kg of oranges.
I then headed for the Van Gogh (who I love) museum, which had a Picasso (who I love) exhibition from his blue period (which I love), but for some reason, after I’d done the Picasso exhibit, I just had no attention span whatsoever, and I was walking about this museum of like 5 floors of one of the greatest painters thinking, I just want to be fleeing about exploring on my new, shiny orange bike. So, disgracefully I left and hopped back on my bike. Culture be damned! I then took the whimsical cycling-about-Amsterdam approach, hopping off whenever I saw something that took my fancy. Attempted to find somewhere quaint and Dutch to eat lunch at (I never did find out what Dutch food centres around) but despite my best efforts, everything was shut, except O’Donnels…..yes, an Irish pub. In for a penny, in for a pound, I ordered a fry up. I make no bones about it though, it was fantastic. After that I hopped back onto my bike and found a cute wee boutique/gallery where I bought a kilt (it was for a club night, I haven’t become overly patriotic).
My next hop-off was when I found The Best Cake Shop Ever. It was done up in this kitsch vintage style, with all these amazing big cakes in the window and a menu full of delights such as “Chocolate Slut”. Needless to say, it was packed full and despite the woman there inviting me to “ask someone if there’s a seat free at their table”, I decided to come back with Claire when she arrived. I then headed back to my cutie hostel to check out, and to return my bike, before making the trip to the other hostel we were staying at. Somehow in this space of time managed to leave a bag of shopping, kilt and my only towel….ideal! Found our other hostel, where unlike the friendly other hostel, it was like ‘here’s the keys, there’s the lift’. Decided to fire some makeup on and catch the shops closing before getting a few drinks and meeting Claire. This turned into spending 2 hours in my hotel room, fannying about, backcombing my hair and trying to wear all my makeup at once. Skipped shopping and decided to try and make up for the pishness of the weed the night before. Headed to the Red Light and ordered my blackcurrant Twinings (rather sensibly, you can’t drink in coffeeshops) and requested “what’s strong here”. This may have been my downfall, as just because one coffeeshops cakes are rubbish, does not mean all the Mary in Amsterdam is. Ended up baked out my face, watching some sort of Sting/Police video special on the TV, until I willed my legs to move, and wondered what I could do till Claire arrived, since I still had 2 hours.
In my hazy-head I kept thinking “I should install myself somewhere”, which at the time I kept thinking was a funny phrase, but I realise now it’s because s’installer in French means to settle yourself in. I was that I-need-to-be-sober-again way so went to a late night cafe and got myself a toastie, more to kill time than anything else, then finished off with a belter of a pudding at a different cafe down the street. It was like a hard crepe, with chocolate lining, filled with ricotta-cream cheese and orange peel. Outstanding.
Headed to meet Claire at the main square, nicely more-sober and had an American man run up to me and ask “are you Rose? Who’s Rose? Where’s Rose?”. Told him I had no fucking clue, but it turned out this was just an opener for his pal to chat me up. Which did provide a distraction until Claire got there. Once she’d arrived we headed back to the hostel where I was gifted my favourite shoes, my favourite bra, and a new mascara. Somehow ended up in a bar which I think in hindsight was Amsterdam’s answer to Campus, with waitresses regardless of size, sporting crop tops and glorified pants as a skirt. My memory is hazy at this point, not because I was wrecked but because it was now about a fortnight ago….We did however get nicely drunk.
The next day we decided to check out the Nine Streets area which is famous for being a great shopping district. After finding a few amazing shops, as well as beautiful postcards featuring some inventive uses for vaginas, it started to rain, so we decided to duck into an Italian to hide ourselves away. After we’d had our fill of pasta, we headed to a coffeeshop next door, where the clientele were actually good looking and there wasn’t the obligatory, tatty Bob Marley poster on the wall. Had some space cakey fun and had a cheeky smoke (once again, the same weed I’d smoked the night before that I’d been like fuuuuck I need to be sober again). Felt a nice wee high, but nothing major. Realised it was pretty much shops-shutting time and we’d visited about 3, so cut our losses and headed to the cake shop I’d been at the day before. Thankfully Claire is of the same fat-girl mindset as me, so we got 3 pieces between us, after just having lunch…and spacecake. They were out-fucking-standing, I’ve felt less about guys I’ve been with than I have for that pecan pie. For some reason though, practically down to the second, our spacecake hit us at the exact same time, and we were both sitting crying with laughter, so much so that my stomach felt like it was breaking, and Claire was just talking shite. For some reason at the time “you know…..we’re going to have to….walk home….in the rain” seemed like the funniest sentence I’d ever heard in my life.
We had the full intent of going to a fetish night we’d discovered on the AmDam outskirts and I have no idea, but it went from one extreme to another, that we ended up going for casual drinks. We ended up in a cocktail bar, where the only seats available where under the staircase, we took it anyway and hid ourselves away like Harry Potter until a waiter found us a booth. We headed to an odd bar that was definitely for the locals, it was the size of a living room, with wrecked folk dancing about and coming to give us their chat. Inexplicably there was also the charming decoration of an oversized, inflatable bottle of flu medecine. I know we did end the night, wrecked and in a bar that had mice running on the floor. We asked if they had something like olives we could snack on since I think we’d skipped dinner and the waitress went “well, we don’t have any olives, but we have this big plate-” and we just went “ yeah, that’ll do” and she was like “well, it’s a plate of-” and we were like “yeah, that’s for us. She looked bemused, but returned with, yes, a big plate of food. It did the job.

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