Day 1 - May 30th

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Valo
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Day 1 - May 30th

Postby Valo » Fri Jun 10, 8:01 pm

“When the daylight is falling down into the night
And the sharks try to cut a big piece out of life
It feels alright to go out to catch an outrageous thrill”


Scorpions - Big City Nights


These opening words to one of my all time favourite songs would be running through my head constantly through my stay in Amsterdam – no, not because I was wearing mp3 player most places I walked, but because they were alluding my feeling for the trip on more than one occasion.

96 days after booking my flights I found myself on that plane and the next time I would be walking on the ground, it would be on the soil of my favourite city. It would be my 4th trip to Amsterdam and the most looked forward to yet, only this time has a little more planning written down in order to maximise my indulgence of this visit. The journey was fairly uneventful and as always I had no sleep the night before a 6am flight, not for the sake of trying – I guess excitement got the better of me. I will mention that I have travelled each time with EasyJet and of the 8 flights in total, each has left on time and without any hitches – maybe I am just lucky, but if that’s the case then I was hoping it was a sign to come.

Every time I go, the journey seems to be much shorter and it wasn’t long before my friend and I were packing our bags into the luggage lockers of central station (as our hotel was not available to check-in until 1pm). This was the first time I used the lockers and found it a huge help as it made that quick dash and leap for the exit door all that more satisfying – I made it back wooohooo!!!! So much for the forecast of bright sunshine I had read on CNN world weather back home, as there was quite a chill in the air (or was that the anticipation running through my spine??) but after I had admired the customary view down Damrak for a couple of minutes it was time to enjoy the day ahead….as if I wasn’t having an awesome start already. Firstly, as always, I had to arm myself with a pipe (not being a tobacco smoker) so a short walk to the Interpolm Grow Shop to check their goodies out – an amazing shop for growing all your cannabis needs but didn’t really have what I wanted in a pipe. Was going to try the Hemp Works just around the corner but found this place to be closed, not sure if we were early as it was just after 9am – but it wasn’t a worry as a small tobacconist(?) a couple of doors down had a great little metal pipe for only a couple of € and one glass pipe which was perfect for my first ever ice-o-later experience I had planned for the following days. All stocked up and it was time for the first coffeeshop of the trip. Walking through Warmoesstraat (past out hotel the Greenhouse Effect) I made a quick stop at the side alley next to Hunters Bar and admired the view across the canal before finally surrendering to the call of Central coffeeshop.

It was an un-written rule that a new coffeeshop would be explored every day of this trip (preferably as many as possible) and what better way to start than a morning smoke at the Central. At first I thought it was quite small and crowded but by the time my friend and I had bought a 2.5g bag of white russian to share, the shop seemed to thin down and we found a seat next to the counter. It was nice to sit there and see many locals buy and fly with their weeds, and the whole shop had a nice day-time lively café atmosphere to the place – they had some Red Hot Chili Peppers playing and some other music channel playing on the t.v. A nice place I would return to although the weed is more for quantity than quality – saying that I left with bulging eyes and feeling pretty satisfied with the first buzz of the trip.

Next stop was a must, and a short slow walk later and Pink Floyd was in sight. My friend whom I was travelling with had accompanied me on my previous 2 trips and on both occasions had paid a visit to Pink Floyd – only to find one of the friendliest guys behind the bar (the Dutch dealer) who treated us like close friends on each of our visits. So it was a great sight to see him behind the bar again as we entered – not changing in the slightest, we were welcomed into the shop as if it were our home. After chatting in general I made a 2g purchase of 7 seconds weed for €12 – very cheap and as ever, a fantastic smoke; not too heavy but after a while it tends to kick your ass. Richard, behind the bar, also mentioned the top room was free if we wanted to chill up there – my only other time upstairs in this shop was my first ever visit (with a group of about 14 guys) and this was the perfect place to hang about a large table at one time. So it was a pleasant shock to see the big table gone and replaced by 2 leather sofas by the windows and many other café like tables – those leather sofas are awesome to people watch out the window and also to crash in after topping my 7 seconds pipe with some of my friends BubbleHash which he got a half gram sample for €10. A couple of pipes of these and I was loaded! So much for only staying here for half hour or so…….almost 2 hours later it was time to hit the road again.

Heading southways, we wanted to check out Homegrown Fantasy but found it closed and what seemed to be redecoration going on inside, not sure if this was temporary as unfortunately this was the only passing of this shop we did over the 4 days. Next shop on the agenda would be another newbie in the Bluebird – but on the way I also noticed that the coffeeshop Ben was closed for redecorating and had a noticing saying it would be opening up the following week ~ since hearing of this shop I have wanted to go, being my real name too, but every time something comes up and it doesn’t happen. I heard I’m not missing much anyway – but on to the Bluebird. I have heard good things from a couple of people on the forums I use about the Blue Cheese from the Bluebird, so this was a must-do for sure….and am I grateful for the advice. After grabbing a 1.8g bag at €12,50 I must admit my first visual impression was seldom – but what it lacks in looks it sure makes up for in smell and completely excels in taste and stone!! This was an absolute beautiful smoke, not so much in texture as I was left coughing quite a bit off the pipe; but in effect I was in the Bluebird and really had a bird’s eyes view of Amsterdam being in those clouds.

Since the Bluebird was pretty packed, and in that area, next up would be Overkant Hortus. I knew what to expect in that this shop had no seating; but after having walked a fair bit already on little rest and especially after the Blue Cheese, a seat was all I was after for a while. Saying this the Overkant Hortus was a nice little welcoming shop, from which I purchased 1g of Sticky Fingers at €6,50 – not the greatest weed on this trip by any means but I don’t think what ever I had bought would have matched anywhere close to the Blue Cheese previously smoked. It was nice watching trams pull up and wait for the bridge to descend after letting a boat pass through its path, after a while the shop started to fill up so it was time to move on.

I was waiting to unveil the beauty of the RLD to myself a bit later in the day, but f’it! I couldn’t wait any longer – and the plan was to take a detour through the RLD on route to fetching our bags from Centraal Station. I won’t lie my first sight of the RLD on this trip was most depressing as I was making my way up north the OZA canal, all I could see (and hear) was cranes and building work!!! What have they done to my theatre of dreams? Someone told me that they were relaying the cobblestones, which I admit look pretty dashing at the southern end – but I couldn’t understand all the metal sheets lining the canals. Fortunately there were some lovely ladies in windows whose smiles would brighten up the darkest hour – and some who would probably blacken a dark hour but that is another story!

I don’t know what it is about the RLD (apart from the scantily clad ladies) but I always feel rejuvenated (bloody hell, I’m 23 and using words like rejuvenate!) – well I certainly caught my second wind put it that way….and it was on to more coffeeshops. Amnesia it was to be, another first and one certainly anticipated because of the love of this shop on most forums. Immediately I could see the attraction in this place (and I don’t mean the pretty young waitress) as it had a nicely lit atmosphere with some mellow rock tunes in the background – this was to be a buy and fly but it was a shop I was certain to return to over the next coming days. The Canadian Crown I did buy at €7,50 per gram was a top smoke for the price and when compared to the Amnesia Haze, which I bought a day or 2 later, I would most probably go for the C.Crown for value for money next time around.

A quick stop in Tweede Kamer was also called for, as I had good experience from their weed on previous trips. This was to be no different as the Bubblegum (€8/g) was one of my favourite smokes of the trip – lovely taste, smooth toke, fruity smell; everything was perfect.

Somewhere in-between coffeeshops there was a pit-stop at Tony’s NY City Bagels on Jodebreestraat. As the name mentions it is a very Americanised diner place, and the food was delicious, if not a little pricey but I bought a cinnamon bun at just over €2 which I thought was well worth the money considering some of the stale waffles later bought at open front food stores in the RLD.

Before we got our bags it, I wanted to get some of the Smoking Bull’s ice-o-later (after lctricity noted the cheap price) and it was a nice weed-smelling smooth ice-o-later which was especially nice topped off on a weed pipe. Whilst in this road I wantet to check out another recommendation in the CS Highway a few doors down, but unfortunately the Sweet Tooth weed I had wanted was crossed off the menu along with Bubblegum – so left empty handed.

Finally it was back to Centraal to reclaim our bags then off to the Greenhouse Effect to check in, which went without a hitch, so it wasn’t long before we found ourselves in our home for 3 nights – otherwise known as the Retro room. It was quite a tidy room and had everything the website had mentioned, the shared toilet and shower was directly outside our door which made it no different to my bedroom at home – except for the amazing view down Warmoesstraat from the window. I know it was 6pm when we got to our room, and before I knew I was waking of my own accord at 8pm, and feeling totally re-energised – which is more than I can say for my friend who is still crashed out on the other bed. Oh well – the RLD couldn’t wait any longer so I had to take the first red light stroll solo, which was awesome. Don’t get me wrong, I love going to Amsterdam with a friend and walking the RLD with another set of eyes, but I do get more of a thrill when on my own in the RLD (can’t explain why). There were many street dealers out trying to sell cocaine in 12 different languages, but I felt after a while, the slow pace I walk (in the RLD) along with the fact I usually wear black clothes meant I blended in quite well and felt as if some people were expecting me to go up to them with a “Psssstttt…..” I know it has been said many times of the safety in the RLD, but I am 23, 6’2” slim build and not intimidating to look at by any means – but I really have never felt at any unease in the RLD at night times in 4 visits to Amsterdam and many late night solo walks.

I also paid my first visit to Excalibur on the OZA, which was definitely my kind of place. The music was awesome, the Heineken was cold and a mug on €4 (cheap for the RLD) and the open front view of the canal was picturesque. Especially when the neon lights start to illuminate the canal and wetted cobblestones. On passing the Bananabar I was offered a ‘free banana’ upon entry by the doorman, to which I couldn’t help control my laughter – only to have a friendly smile returned by the doorman…..I love this place and it is still only the first night!!!

It wasn’t an especially late night as a day trip to Haarlem was on the schedule for tomorrow; but that didn’t stop me joining my friend, who was up on my return trying out his days purchases, for a night cap (which to be honest was short as I was absolutely Amsterdammed for the day!)

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I know this report is a little overdue, but better late than never...............I hope :-) More to come shortly. Thanks for reading so far.

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lctricity
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Postby lctricity » Fri Jun 10, 8:31 pm

Stupendous Report there Valo! You are a man after my heart in terms of your agenda. Coffeshops and smoking being the priorities. Great use of links too.

Glad to see you stopped by the Smoking Bull and CS Highway. They are a few hidden treasures amongst the norm. Not to mention the Blue Cheese from Bluebird! Some would say it's an acquired tatse, but the high don't lie.

Amsterdammed Indeed! What a great arrival day!

I hope to have the pleasure of making the rounds with you next April. Really lookin' foward to the rest of the trip and thanks a ton for takin' the time.

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chigusa
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Postby chigusa » Fri Jun 10, 10:12 pm

was the cat offering to have sex for money?

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Boner
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Postby Boner » Sat Jun 11, 12:13 am

Nice report Valo, I love the links to the pics - nice touch!!


...Boner...

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LastHamlet
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WOW!!!

Postby LastHamlet » Tue Jun 14, 3:42 am

This was a dam good read Valo. !!!
Most informative, most flowing, and dam well written. Many thanks for posting it, a few of those places I never been in.
I really like the style, and I too understand the words of a particular song, getting stuck in your head.
Many Best Regards Valo,
LH

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JohnnyHempseed
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Postby JohnnyHempseed » Mon Aug 29, 11:08 pm

LastHamlet said it best: "Damn Good Read". the pic resolution left a little to be desired, but they were still a GREAT addition to the story. i CANT WAIT to read more!!


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