Generally I love the sound of waking up to the rain. Your all snuggled up in your comfy bed, the heater is going, and for me I just want to curl up on the couch and watch a movie and pig out on good food. When your waking up in a dorm room full of old men, the bed your sleeping in is far from comfy and your in a hostel…. well its a different ball game all together.
So started my day of exploring in the rain. Now I know I expected rain on my trip, I mean how can you avoid it. In saying that I also had a second fantasy that my entire trip was nothing but sun and fun. Guess some things just stay in fantasy land huh.
Meeting Sofia at the National Monument for the free walking tour, we parted ways (little did I know that would be the last I would see of my travelling companion) as she left for the spanish tour while I naturally was in the english section. Already the rain had pretty much set in for the day which made me glad I had at least spent some money on a good water/wind proof jacket but not so glad that I hadn’t invested in an umbrella.
Touring the streets and canals of Amsterdam all while learning about what your seeing is a great way to discover a city. For instance the narrow canal houses all have hooks/pulleys attached to the roof so that you can lift furniture inside through the windows. To this day people still move house that way as the stairs/doorways are too narrow for anything more than your clothing.
Even with the horrible rain our tour guide for the day (Lee) managed to keep us up beat and interested in what she had to say. When the tour ended I followed some Canadians to the Anne Frank House. I don’t know what it is about Amsterdam but the Canadians sure seem to like it, I saw entire groups of them with their lovely red jackets on that entire day.
While my experience of the Anne Frank House was nothing like Candice’s visit, it was a jolting reminder that all of these horrible things happened not that long ago. Kinda makes you wonder how we let it happen and if it could ever happen again really.
From there it was time to lighten our moods as the Canadians invited me along to the Heineken Brewery Tour with them. It really was a great tour, all be it rather expensive (15 euro) one. The 3 free beers along the way did ease the pain and also allowed us to escape the rain for awhile. If you don’t mind a beer or two and can spare the money its worth a visit.
As I was now an honorary Canadian for the day, I headed along with them to the Red Light District Tour. This one isn’t free (10 euro for student or 12 for adult) and they guide you through the Red Light District. You learn about the history of it and get shown where the Elite ladies windows are before finishing up the 1.5 hour tour with a free shot at a local pub.
Note for anybody touring the Red Light District, don’t take photos of the ladies. If you do they’ll be out of that window quick as a flash and either breaking or throwing your camera into a canal or worse tossing a cup of pee all over you. They like to keep anonymous (as much as possible so to speak) so there is an unwritten law that you don’t photograph them. Oh and if your going to spend the 50 euro for 15 minutes with one; watch out for the blue lit windows, you may get more than you bargained for downstairs.
Now if your my mum its probably best you stop reading here but for the rest of you well where do I start, oh yeah beer. After our free shot from the tour we stepped it up a notch and grabed a cheap feed and beers at a pub around the corner.
This then leads to visiting a coffee shop which while I’m not a fan of the green stuff my new friends were. Thirty minutes later and with their new found moods and me tagging along they sought out a Sex Show to finish the night. Now I’ll admit I was curious about the shows but there was no way in hell I would visit one on my own. Especially given the price and the fact most of them just ooze strip club gone bad.
In the end a club was found and we sat down to watch. I’ll be the first to say it couldn’t get anymore mechanical if it tried. I won’t give you all the details but at this club there was 3 lead up shows to the main event with one involving the audience and a banana….
Leaving the club after downing our free beers I parted ways with my Canadian friends and headed for home… on foot. If your staying out past 12 or so in Amsterdam hope that your hostel is nearby or that you know how the bus system works. I unfortunately did not so had to walk the 30 minutes home in the rain, which after being in it all day really had driven me crazy. By the time I got home I literally fell into bed and prayed the rain wouldn’t be around in the morning.