Sorry Amsterdam, I don’t get it

Amsterdam Canal

Sorry Amsterdam, I don’t get it.

Streets of Amsterdam

 

My trip to Amsterdam falls under the list of places I’ve gone because my travel companion chose it.  I’d never personally been drawn to the city, but I’m always excited to try anywhere I haven’t been before. It also fit in nicely with the other countries we were visiting on this trip to Europe, Ireland & England, so it was a no brainer to add it to our itinerary.

Sometimes these places take me by surprise in an awesome way (Porto), but sometimes … not.

I know I can hear a thousand irate cries in the distance, as so many people fall in love with the city, but I failed to feel the love.

Amsterdam canal

In Amsterdam’s defense I don’t think it was given the best introduction, and I’d definitely entertain the idea of returning in the efforts to understand the hype.

 

My friend booked our lodging as she was the one super excited about the city, so I figured she should get to pick where we stayed. This is when she learned that guest house means that yes you are a guest in someone’s home. She also accidentally booked our guest house in the heart of the red light district, which may not have been the most picturesque.

 

         side note: If you run a guest house it would be SUPER helpful if you had a sign, or doorbell, or something to show that you’re running a hotel. 

 

I generally pop in for a walking tour when visiting a new city, and Sandeman’s is my go-to. The first day we signed up for the Red Light Tour which would essentially be touring the neighborhood we were staying in, but figured it would be a good introduction. The history behind the industry in the area would definitely be fascinating, and after all it’s one of the major things the city is famous for so I wanted to learn about it.

 

The tour guide is a pretty important part of the tour. Sometimes they are so awesome all I want it to be their new best friend. On this tour, the guy was just a douche. Sorry, but there’s really no other way I can describe him. I don’t want to get into the debate on whether or not legalizing prostitution is a good thing – and I don’t know what the answer is. But what I do feel pretty strongly about is that any person sold into sex slavery who then becomes a prostitute working for a pimp is not living any little girls dream. This guy was trying to tell me that it was a “good situation” for some of the eastern European girls. “ Sure, they had been sold into this and their families would be at risk if they tried to escape, but they probably would have been poor in eastern Europe anyway”. Umm… what?! You male chauvinistic piece of shit wanker! I’m pretty sure they’d rather be poor than have been kidnapped and now selling themselves to twats like you.

 

The tour guide was from Amsterdam, and I guess that’s just his view the industry, but to someone who doesn’t usually see whores on parade in windows it was just a bummer. I kept wondering if the girl I was looking at had been taken from her family and was there against her will. How do you tell? Some things are just a buzzkill in a city, and for me the prostitutes just bummed me out. The guide kept saying how it was their choice to do this, while also estimating only about 30% had been sold into it. Only 30%. Sorry, that seems like a lot of sold to me.

I would have thought that the money was at least decent for the girls. Really sad to hear what you can get for 50 Euros. 

We saw a transaction begin as a crusty old man passed a window and one of the girls let him in. I get that it was legal. But this man creeped me out. He, as a person, decided he would purchase some services which could potentially be with someone who was there against their will. Definitely a bummer to think about.

I think the history of the tour could have been really interesting, and perhaps in someone else’s hands it would have been, but it was not this day.

 

 

My second big buzzkill… the night life. 

We figured that the nightlife here would be great, isn’t Amsterdam known for it’s nightlife?

We popped into a couple bars, which all seemed to be ghost towns. We asked the barman where everyone else was. He explained they were probably at home getting high. Ahhh… gotcha… That’s fine if that’s your thing, but it was pretty dull going out. We love going out and meeting new people and chatting with anyone. The fun vibe we love was elusive.

The last time you were high on weed and had a really interesting, funny, lively conversation with someone, bad news, you were none of those things. You laughed. It wasn’t that funny. Sorry, but most people we met were painfully boring. Yeah, I know we didn’t meet everyone, but we certainly made a good effort to go out and meet people. The night life just didn’t mesh for us.

We ended up in an Irish pub because it seems you can never really go wrong with anything Irish. And after all, we always have a good time going out in Ireland. It was the liveliest place open due to some sort of sporting event that a handful of people were watching. All this really accomplished was reminding us how much fun we had in Ireland, and wondering what all of the friendly people there were doing.

 

 

The architecture in Amsterdam is quite pretty,  I’ll give it that. But there was zero connection for me with this city. The prostitution and weed is such a huge part of the culture and vibe here and I was just not feeling it.

amsterdam

 

I’m sure there’s so much more to Amsterdam than what I experienced, but the things I did do and see left me feeling flat. 

Sorry Amsterdam… but I don’t get you. There are so many cities in Europe that I love, it’s hard to imagine I’ll chose to return to Amsterdam with all of those other places calling me back.

 

P.S. your whores bum me out. 

 

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