The blog is not finished! But after the Theft (yes, capital letters), the want/need to update the blog took second fiddle to dealing with the Theft and just finishing the trip sans computer. Since being home, it's been hard to get that motivation to complete it. But I will. Ever so slowly. Please be patient!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

[No] Sex, [Some] Drugs, & Country Music

Day 249-254, August 3-8, 2011

IMG_1074There were a couple reasons I was excited to go to Amsterdam. First, it was Pride. You always hear about the craziness of European gay prides and Amsterdam was surely to exceed those expectations(for what Pride was really like, check this post out). But I think I was actually even more excited because this would be the first time I meet another fellow travel blogger on the road, Jaime from Breakaway Backpacker.

We had been planning this for months now and it was finally here! With our apartment booked and our train arrival times happening within a half hour of each other, it was time to head off. For me, it was a 20 hour train ride from Zagreb, through Munich and onto a night train to Amsterdam. For Jaime, it was a two hour train from Antwerp, Belgium.

IMG_0728It didn’t take long for us to find each other in the train station and after a little finagling, we managed to get a tram ticket and get onto the tram to our apartment. Checking in was a breeze. We had booked it through AirBNB(the same company I used to get my place out in Barcelona). The owner met us there, gave us the keys, and left. We were on our own.

We quickly settled in, our backpacks doing the thing that most RTW traveler’s backpacks do in a private space – explode open. We had a cute little kitchen and a washer to boot. My first task was to get clothes into that washing machine. I would end up doing more than a couple rounds of washing while there.

IMG_1037That first day we set out exploring the city, attempting to remember that not only do we have cars and trams to contend with, but there are also multitudes of bikes zipping along the streets and in their own special lanes. The canals that fill the city are just as beautiful as the ones in Venice, maybe even more so. The bikes crowding every open space of fence give it a strange vibe. It was one that I really liked.

Jaime and I clicked pretty well I found. We seemed to have the same mentality when it came to music, bars, even guys. That first day we found a nice little bar called Prik that we stopped in for a drink. We met a lesbian couple from Austin who succeeded in sharing some weed that they had purchased. It took a little convincing but I had the “What the hell, it’s Amsterdam and it’s legal here.” Suffice to say, I didn’t really feel much different afterwards.

The rest of the week was a lot of fun. I signed up for the Amsterdam Pride Run but ended up bowing out of the 10K run as the shoes I was wearing just hurt my feet too much for running. I finished 5K in about 40 minutes, so still an ok time. I had wanted to do the 10K as I had run one of those back in Saskatoon the previous year and wanted to see if I could beat my time.

The apartment’s kitchen enabled us to have complete free range with making dinners and IMG_0772Jaime was kind enough to let me do all the cooking. This excited me to no end as I started coming up with some beautifully elaborate meals:
Night 1 – Burrito’s
Night 2 – Grilled Sausage with couscous stuffed bell peppers
Night 3 – broccoli and cheese hand stuffed chicken breasts w/ broccoli and couscous
Night 5 – Chicken stir fry with rice

We went out a number of nights, attempting to see what the Amsterdam gay night life was like. It was probably good that Jaime and I were so alike in our tastes as we ended up disliking the same bars as each other, and liking the same bars in the same manner. That didn’t stop us from getting pretty hammered on one or two occasions, including the now infamous McDonald’s video that Jaime and I both agree shall never be shown.

IMG_0919But besides Pride events, we managed to see a bit more of Amsterdam. We met one of Jaime’s readers, and the owner of the Amsterdam Best Dam Segway Tour, one afternoon for a walk in one of Amsterdam’s many parks. I was quite thrilled about that as it turns out he was quite the avid politics watcher so we had fun comparing notes on democracy. And thanks to Jaime, we both got a free Segway tour around Amsterdam. Those things are so cool! And surprisingly easy to manoeuvre. A quick lesson and practice in a small park and we were raring to go. We also spent a good few hours in the Van Gogh Museum which I highly enjoyed. It is laid out perfectly(chronologically) and with very detailed explanations beside most of the artwork.

IMG_1022It was an amazing week and, budget be damned, I’m very glad I did it.

And yes, we managed to find the Red Light District as well. And sadly no, we could not find a gay country music bar. Our apartment became that for us.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like good times. Too bad you didn't find that gay country bar though. Be amusing to read about that. Do they even exist?