Tuesday, 23 August 2011
A few shots from my first evening wandering around Amsterdam:
Coffeeshops in Amsterdam may or may not serve coffee. Anyone concerned about secondhand smoke wouldn’t want to wander in here; the air was so thick that it swirled when you moved. I may be one of the few tourists in Amsterdam who didn’t smoke a lick of marijuana while I was there, but it was common – very common – to see other people making up for my absence. Later on in my trip I made a visit to the Nieuwe Kerk, a historic church whose construction began in 1385, but which was rebuilt after a fire in 1645. Naturally I wanted to poke my head inside and have a look around; I figured I’d spend maybe 20 minutes there. So I walked in, learned the entry fee, turned on my heel and walked right back out again. Even if I had nearly 20 US dollars to spare, I certainly wouldn’t spend it that way. But as I paused outside the massive stone entrance to the old church, looking at my guidebook to decide where to head next, I saw two people pressed against the stone wall. Between deep inhalations a massive bong was passed back and forth, and ganja smoke curled upward between the centuries-old stones.
But speaking of hedonistic decadence, these sweet pastry shops where everywhere. Pretty much every concoction involving chocolate, whipped cream, and sweet fruit you can imagine was somehow represented. Perhaps influenced by a bit of second-hand ganja smoke, I bought a piece of cheesecake with strawberries on top. It was good, but about the worst good cheesecake you can imagine.
The back streets of Amsterdam, far from the thriving, vibrant, electric red-light district (which is vibrant for many reasons that have nothing to do with sex; everything is there) were particularly beautiful. I really enjoyed these overhead lines, where were overgrown with green, green vines.