Long overdue Trip Report--- Intro and Day 1 - Motherland

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herbNmagic
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Long overdue Trip Report--- Intro and Day 1 - Motherland

Postby herbNmagic » Wed Jan 10, 5:44 am

August 25 - September 9th 2006
So here is my long awaited trip report. Long awaited to me at least as I promised myself I would write one upon return from my long fantasized adventures in the motherland, better known as Amsterdam. Now I should clear things up before I continue on, I am not from Amsterdam originally, nor anywhere else in Europe for that matter. I am a 25 year old Canadian guy born and raised in a northeastern Ontario city world renowned as being the biggest nickel mining camp in the world. My city lies within a 1.85 billion year old meteor impact crator that is very rich in nickel and copper, along with other precious metals. Being a city full of miners, I have been brought up around a lot of people who take partying to another level, not always resulting in community pride when the front-page article talks about an old high school friend assaulting someone at a club the previous night and then pepper-spraying the witnesses somehow thinking that will make them forget what they just saw. Indeed, those moments are a little curious, but I think I was raised in an environment that makes Amsterdam seem like the Disney Land of my dreams. I am nearing completion of my honors degree in Geology and hope to continue on to complete my Masters. I truly value education and think that it far outweighs any riches available to man. If thats what is important to someone, riches I mean, an education can surely make that attainable. See the power of what Im saying?? (Education= True Freedom). On the other side of things, I have been smoking pot since I was 14, daily and really wouldnt feel balanced without it. I am grateful I grew up around roughneck miners who appreciate quality pot, so when my time came I too could smoke Hawaiian Indicas and Jack Herrer, or whatever else BC or the Asian Canadian's are growing. Marijuana gives me a new level of motivation at times when I need it most. I have just finished exams and literally stayed awake for 3 days while studying and writing exams. I know I couldnt have done it without Mary Janes on-call dopamine service to give me a 4:20am boost when the sun starts to rise and my eye lids start to descend. I am grateful for natures gift and wish governments would get with the times, open their eyes to scientific fact and allow people the true freedom their ancestors fought for in WW1 and WW2. It makes no sense to me how alcohol has become the most abused drug on the market, and that this market is legal. It is a known killer, knowingly addictive and destructive yet governments push it like it was carrot juice. In Amsterdam, I got a taste of true freedom. I got the sense that personal morality can go a lot further to control the masses and allows someone the satisfaction of being a decent human being, even if elsewhere on the planet you might be looked at like a drug addict, a criminal or worse. I spent 2 weeks in Amsterdam and after making a short story long it has become my new-found motherland. The freedom and comfort I felt around a million odd people Ive never met can only be compared to a mothers comfort, so in the late summer of 2006, my motherland was born.

7:30am Saturday August 25, 2006
After an uncomfortable and nauseating plane ride via Air Transat the plane finally touched down at Schipol. The sun was just beginning to illuminate the distant horizon and the pilot said it was looking like it should be a nice day in nearby Amsterdam. My heart was pumpin and I was excited as hell to get off this plane and collect my bag. The flight over was hot, cramped and totally uncomfortable. I chose a window seat since I hadn't flown in awhile and figured it would be interesting to lookout at the scenery below. Big mistake. The wall to my right where the window resides was rounded off in the shape of the plane and totally made my seat space way smaller. I felt like I was leaning to the left the whole time, and Im only 5'9. I only envisioned having one person beside me but the plane had three seats so I was totally locked down during this overnight flight. Luckily, the couple beside me were very nice. It was an older couple residing somewhere in Canada, Im sorry to them for forgetting. The lady was swedish originally and the man was Indian. They were so interested in why I was going to Amsterdam by myself for two weeks and about school and just about everything. I had vague plans of visiting University of Amsterdam so I pitched that as my reason for visiting because shamefully I didnt want to look like another stoner statistic. I should be proud of who I am and what I do and generally am, but at that moment I cracked. Sorry to my proud to be a cooker friends out there. This woman told me so much about her three daughters that were all at these crazy Universities studying some mind boggling stuff, that I figured I was looking at an arranged marriage in India after my tenure of sin in Amsterdam. After landing, I kind of got seperated from these folks. I lost them on the infinite numbers of mobile walkways marathoning through Schipol, praying my bag would already be waiting for me. After a billion robotic voices warning "Watch your Step" and a trancelike mission through the corridors of this excellent airport, I arrived to find the baggage claim area for my flight. We wait for about 20 minutes, which seemed like 2 hours, and finally bags start to arrive. My bag comes through about 10 minutes in and I weave my way through the mosh pit of travellers and get my bag. Sweet releif. By now, Im clammy and cold from the flight, I haven't slept in a good 35+ hours and my heart is beating faster than a hummingbirds. I pass through customs and ask the guy watching the crowd pass by if I have to claim a carton of cigarettes I bought at Toronto's Pearson International airport. He looks in the bag and says no I'm good to go. So now Im in a trainstation. Wow, what a great and practical design, as I would later learn that seems to be a Dutch theme, practicality. I attempt to buy a trainticket from a machine in the lobby with my credit card. It asks me for my pin number, and my heart stops for an instant. Oh shit, I never did set up a pin number. So now Im kinda worried. Hmmm.. I hope I can get a ticket another way. Sure enough, I turn my head about ninety degrees and there is a booth, where a line has formed. So I join the line, still naive in my ways, and hoping that the teller speaks english. Sure enough, everyone speaks english. At that instant, the world as I see it became a smaller place. My dictionary definition no longer defined foreign as something I didnt understand and couldnt therefore be a part of. It was re-defined as something intriguing and awe-inspiring that will forever fuel my soul to seek knowledge and understanding of this byzantine and convoluted world in which we are blessed to be spectators of, or even activists within. To cut to the chase, just stepping foot on Dutch soil (my first non North American destination) has opened the world up and Im ready to wear out some shoes exploring it. So back to my report, I receive my ticket and cautiously proceed to my ramp, all the while wondering "Is this the right ramp?". It was, I boarded and sat down. Took a breath, trying to grasp where I was and started a conversation with some other travellers who were speaking Canadian english, eh. They were from Toronto and were staying for 4 nights at the Hotel Ibis next to Central Station. Some very cool guys who made my first steps in Amsterdam a hell of alot more enjoyable.They had both been to Amsterdam before and surely weren't as bewildered as I when we all walked out of central station onto the sidewalk. Wow. Jet-lag, no sleep, no food and no cigarettes were all at work now. I felt so overwhelmed. But in the best of ways. The sky line was so magnificent. So old. So technical was the architecture. The clocks, the churches, the tram.so European. I was finally far from the haunts of plastic sided buildings and square ugly designs that are so horrific the paint peels itself off the walls. I was stunned. I entered the store out front of Central Station to buy a lighter and finally have a cigarette. My backpack could barely navigate the turnstyle at the entrance and I felt like I was gonna take out a rack if I moved to fast. I got a lighter, had a smoke with my fellow Canucks and we parted ways, hoping to meet up along our coffeeshop hopping. So there I am, with an 80 litre bag on my back containing everything I need for fifteen days and fourteen nights of exploring, relaxing, partying, learning and as it came to be, a whole lot of walking. I also had another bag with my camera (a bulky Nikon D50) and some other stuff I had as carry-on luggage. I also had a bag with a carton of cigarettes and some books and magazines in it that I bought at Toronto airport. My hands were full, and I was feeling the weight of alot of gear on my back. For my first night in Amsterdam i had booked Dikker & Thijs Fenice Hotel at Prinsengracht 444. I cant say enough about this place. Very nice hotel, complimented by very nice staff. The room was big by American standards and had a great set of windows that opened up to the canal and street below. But getting to this hotel was a well-earned mission. I was weary of the shady looking cabbies out front of central station. They were all outside of their respective cabs and huddled in a group. Some serious brotherhood amonst those guys. So I bypassed the cabbie crew, not sure where I was going, or what I was doing but like a cat in new territory I was running on instinct. Near the back of the pack of parked cabs, there was one cab which was occupied by the driver. Must be an outcast. Instincts said he would get me to my hotel alive so I approached him. His english was poor but he seemed genuinely nice. As were talking, and Im attempting to pronounce to him where I want to go Ive been spotted. The cabbie crew has seen me talking to this outcast cab driver and a few begin to approach us. There yelling in a foreign language at the driver I solicited and he looks at me and says, "You have to go with him" pointing to the head loudmouth cab driver. About 10 cabbies surround me, all saying stuff like where you going?? Im trying to explain, Its Dikker so and so Hotel at Prinsengracht 444 and there talking to each other in there native tongue and acting puzzled like they dont know where Im asking to go. That's where I started to feel like these guys were gonna fuck me around. He said he knew where to go and we approached his cab. He popped the trunk for me to throw my bag in. I stood there for a second contemplating.... I had read before my trip that some cabbies in tourist cities would purposely drive off with your bag leaving you clueless and stranded. It so seemed like this was my destiny. At least my sober paranoia said so. So I just said, "No man, Ill keep my bag in the bag." He didnt like that. He says, "What? No you have to put it in the trunk." So I persisted. "No I wanna keep my bag with me, what's the big deal?" So he refused again. I said "Your not gonna let me?" He says "No". So I said "No deal man" and turned and walked. He slammed his trunk and cursed me out in some foreign dialect and I started to walk. I knew roughly where the hotel was respective to Central Station, and knew that Prinsengracht was the third canal encircling the city centre. I set off towards the Jordaan and took a left on an unknown street in the bearing of where I wanted to go. I walked about 20 minutes totally bedazzled by my surroundings, thinking "Wow. I made it. Im finally here." I had wanted to visit for 3 years, but a series of failed planning attempts with others led me to say plain and simply, fuck it, Ill go myself. So it was amazing to finally be there. It felt so surreal at the moment. I was scared to ponder at the thought that I may be dreaming. Sure enough, I wasn't unless Im still dreaming now as I write to you. I found a nice bench, one of a million in Amsterdam, and I sat to rest for a few. I packed my books and cigarttes into my back pack so I could have at least one free hand. I was soaked with sweat, airplane slime and Amsterdam humidity and was hoping when I found my hotel I would be able to check in early. About 45 minutes into my walk, I magically find the Dikker & Thijs Fenice Hotel. I stop outside to catch my breath and look somewhat presentable. I enter the hotel and it's now about 10:30am. The guy at reception is totally nice but informs me to my dismay that I cant check-in until 2:00pm. I could however get the lead out and leave my bag in the hotel. So, I fill out the necessary paperwork so I can come right back at 2:00pm and go straight to my room and shower. The reception guy decides at th elast minute that he can have my room ready for me at 12:00pm. Mabey he could see the grime I had accumulated thus far and figured he'd help a guy get himself back to life with a nice shower as soon as possible. So I left the hotel with my camera bag on my back, not sure where I was going but knew Id love to find a coffeeshop and get my smoke on. I snapped a few pics while walking the canals and tried with everything not to get lost but surely I did. I couldnt stay on a straight path anywhere. Everything looked so interesting and I felt a need to observe so my feet often brought me places that I dont remember my mind authorizing them to go. I finally found my way back to the hotel area, and kind of lingered for awhile on a nearby bench outside. I didnt have a watch, so I didnt really know what time it was. I hoped it was near 12:00pm but as I soon found out it was only 11:00am. Damn. I wanted to smoke some weed, but couldn't find any coffeshops that were open at those hours. I stumbled up to Leidsplein, feeling like sweaty, humidified scum and made my way to the last place anyone would reccomend to a first time Dammer, The Bulldog CS. I knew going in it wasn't a top shop, but then again I was pushing 2 days of no sleep and wasn't sure if I would get wrecked of Dutch weed so I thought it was a good start. I walked down the stairs, allowed my pupils to adjust to the darkness of the place and ordered my first Dutch lattee. Splendid it was. I walked over to the dealer and he flipped the menu over. So many great names that I have been fantisizing about. We dont see alot of sativa's where Im from if any so I was anxious to try some of the greats, although none were present that day in the Bulldog. I ordered a gram of Silver Haze and proceeded to the chilled out side room with cool pictures all over the walls and some nice little bar counter tops for rolling. I was happy to be in this side room as I couldnt stop thinking about how much I wanted to shower. I was consumed by the feeling of humidity and airplane scum. I was also kind of nervous, not knowing what to expect of this weed, but it smelt like dank growroom. My first joint, I rolled inside out by accident and felt like an idiot, but re-rolled and proceeded to put fire to herb and baptise myself into Amsterdam's glory. One of many glorious things about this city. Its glory is sempiternal: no beginning and no end. There was an English guy and girl sitting in this side room and they asked me for a lighter. We chatted, as best we could over the thumping tunes, and they had just arrived that morning aswell by car and were sleeping in their car for the next three nights. Cool. I would to if I lived closer. They were a great couple and nice to converse with over my first lattee and joint here in Amsterdam. I then left the Bulldog, nicely stoned although the weed wasnt top notch but enough to tickle my jetlagged, overtired mind. I returned back near my hotel and noticed I had 20 minuted to wait. I stood against a rail overlooking the Prinsengracht and had a cigarette or two while thoroughly enjoying this so-called act of people watching. I had to fight hard at times to hold back my smile. I was just so satisfied that I was finally there and so excited to get my wheels turning and experience everything Amsterdam has to offer. Little did I know, two weeks wouldn't be enough. Not even close. I entered my hotel, brought my luggage up the lift, entered my room and peeled open the windows. Beautiful. I had a shower, finally and heard a knock on the door as I got out. I opened the door to a gorgeous dutch girl who was checking to see if anyone had checked in to my room yet. She then came in to apparently check something, but all she did was shift my phonebook over. Very odd, but she was gorgeous so I wasnt complaining. I then asked if I could smoke a cigarette in my room and she said she would bring me an ashtray. A minute later, knock, knock. She was back with an ashtray. She handed it to me and I thanked her kindly and she sort of stood there, seemingly interested in something. I wish I had invited her in but what did I have to offer, peanuts from the mini fridge? I then decided I needed to sleep. I hadnt eaten in almost two days nor had I slept. I hit the sheets, window open listening to the bustle going on outside. I woke up at 5pm or mabey 6pm and hit the streets. My feet were already aching and blistered up. The interlocking, uneven streets of Amsterdam will do a quick number of your feet. Next time, Ill be ready for them. No Fila mid-cuts this time. I ventured over to Dolphins CS. Sat at the bar and got two grams of White Dolphin. I smoked the rest of my Silver Haze and a gram of White Dolphin and figured I should definetly get some eats before I keel over. I walked for about thirty minutes, and by now it was getting dark. I couldn't find anything that I wanted to eat. My stomach wasn't ready for anything to far out, and the anxiety and excitement had my gut in knots. I found a nice italian place in the Joordan and marched in and took a seat. I ordered a pint of Heineken and reviewed the menu. Hmm.. I understand nothing. Pizza! I know what pizza is, Ill get that. It came with mushrooms, salami, green peppers and red peppers along with cheese and sauce. What was different for me was that the toppings were not mixed together on the pizza. Literally one quater of the pizza had mushrooms, one quarter had salami and the other two quarters had peppers. It was an amazing meal. The pizza wasn't cut into slices either. Another North American custom I was used to. I had another pint to wash down the pizza, and I marched back towards the only area I had become familiar with. It was 10pm or so and I went back to Dolphins CS. Smoked some more White Dolphin and also had some Royal Dolphin, their prize hash. I sat around, smoking and drinkin lattees and water and only left when the place became to hot and humid to bear. What's good for a dolphin is bad for a Canadian. I walked around for a couple hours taking in the sights, sounds and smells. I went back to my room and rolled a big hash joint. I went out for a walk and cautiously smoked my joint on a quiet street nearby wondering all the while if I could get in shit for smoking in public and hoping I wouldn't piss anyone off in doing so. No worries though. I was happily stoned and returned to my room at about 12:30am- 1:00am. I was still pretty burnt out from the lag so retired early while watching the free porn I had in my room. You gotta love that Dutch service! Day two proves to be an amazing day as I move from Dikker & Thijs Fenice Hotel to the Bulldog Hotel in the RLD.

More to come very soon!!!!! Hope you enjoy!

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Postby Banks » Wed Jan 10, 7:26 am

Thanks man... I've been having a real pull for Amsterdam these days, and your report hit the spot. Looking forward to the next one!

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Postby froggy » Wed Jan 10, 2:40 pm

a brilliant description of the "first time". looking forward to reading the rest. One of the best things i find about the dam is that the feeling i got the first time is still with me every time i go.

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Postby Jay_K » Wed Jan 10, 6:45 pm

Nice report, thanks for taking the time to type it. Looking forward to more!!

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Postby Couch » Wed Jan 10, 9:01 pm

I really enjoyed my 3 day stay at Dikker & Thijs Fenice Hotel. Had a nice corner room with a window that looked out over the canal. Was able to tune in to some free wireless when I sat my laptop on the windowsill. Breakfast was good, and the front desk staff were always friendly and helpful. Great location too.

Why did you switch hotels mid stay?

Anyway, glad you had a good time, looking forward to your next installment!

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Postby mobiljenny » Wed Jan 10, 11:36 pm

Thanx for sharing. "First trip" reports are so fun to read.

I'm looking forward to hearing more. Two weeks, must have lots of stories.

thank you,
chuckje.

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Postby Jack Markham » Wed Jan 10, 11:55 pm

Great report friend.

I have stayed at the bulldog hotel on many occasions in the past. I have not visited the place for a good while, I look forward to your updated opinion of the place. Have never visited one of their coffeeshops though.

J.M

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Postby TAK » Thu Jan 11, 11:57 am

Good read, herbNmagic.

Don't wait so long to let us read the rest of your reports.

Dag
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hank
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Postby hank » Thu Jan 11, 5:52 pm

Excellent report, waiting for more, thanks. What was the rate of the first hotel stay?

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Postby sidhe333 » Fri Jan 12, 8:47 am

thanx for that hNm
now you have a misspent youth
welcome to the club

feel like i've witnessed a bris milah or something akin.

s:.

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Postby smokey007 » Fri Jan 12, 2:57 pm

wa wa wee wa wa nice...lol

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Postby SkipMDMan » Sat Jan 13, 2:19 am

I can relate to the shoe problems.

What I do is a week before I leave I buy a nice
pair of leather upper, rubber soled shoes with a
totally flat sole. Wear them for that week to make
sure they are broken in and won't irritate my feet.

Great report

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Postby bigbird » Sat Jan 20, 3:10 am

I know what you mean about the Amsterdam vibe. It hit me the first time I sat down in a coffeeshop and fired one up. Just sitting there smoking and watching people go by I got what I can only describe as a revelation. The feeling that this is how life should be. No one looking to throw me in jail for smoking in public. It was a zen type of moment that changed my life.I hope you get to make many more trips to the place many of us here have grown to love. peace

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Postby Planning-A-Trip » Sat Jan 20, 5:55 am

great report.

When do we get the rest? more more more!

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Postby this girl » Sat Jan 20, 4:00 pm

very nice. was this made from notes taken on your trip? surely you couldnt have all that info stored in your brain until now? an ace intro, can't wait for the rest. i wonder what the girl at the hotel really wanted?....

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Postby brightcarver » Sat Jan 20, 5:11 pm

ah, the joy and awe of entering amsterdam the first time!
Great detailed report--I can particularly relate to the cabbie incident-I took a cab once, and, if I can help it, never again! My cabbie drove me out to some spot with the bumber I was looking for, dropped me off, and then i realized i was many, many blocks from my destination! Wandering in the dark, a guitar, a banjo, two backpacks......
anyway, I look very forward to hearin g about the rest of your trip!!!

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Postby this girl » Sat Jan 20, 5:29 pm

i know what you mean about the taxis. whenever i've got one from the front of centraal., they havent got a clue where they're going which takes the piss. the charged me 13euro for a short ride to herengracht canal. i couldve walked in as much time that it took them. two of them bikkering which way to go in the front of the car. ask any london taxi driver for any street in london, he'll know it like the back of his hand. it's his job to! i must say, the taxi's must be the worst i've ever had, in amsterdam!

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Postby mobiljenny » Sat Jan 20, 6:52 pm

this girl wrote:i know what you mean about the taxis. whenever i've got one from the front of centraal., they havent got a clue where they're going which takes the piss. the charged me 13euro for a short ride to herengracht canal. i couldve walked in as much time that it took them. two of them bikkering which way to go in the front of the car. ask any london taxi driver for any street in london, he'll know it like the back of his hand. it's his job to! i must say, the taxi's must be the worst i've ever had, in amsterdam!


HerbN tells of how he bypassed the first cab at the stand and went to a cab further back in line. The cabbies weren't being clueless. I believe something else was going on.

IMHO.
chuck.

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Postby Bohannon » Sat Jan 20, 7:20 pm

mobiljenny wrote:
this girl wrote:i know what you mean about the taxis. whenever i've got one from the front of centraal., they havent got a clue where they're going which takes the piss. the charged me 13euro for a short ride to herengracht canal. i couldve walked in as much time that it took them. two of them bikkering which way to go in the front of the car. ask any london taxi driver for any street in london, he'll know it like the back of his hand. it's his job to! i must say, the taxi's must be the worst i've ever had, in amsterdam!


HerbN tells of how he bypassed the first cab at the stand and went to a cab further back in line. The cabbies weren't being clueless. I believe something else was going on.

IMHO.
chuck.



Standard taxi protocol almost worldwide is for taxi's to queue up, the ones in front, having waited the longest, get the next fare. The only time I declined was when the front cab had bald tires. The cabbie was mad, but less so when I told him why.

PaXXX

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Postby herbNmagic » Thu Jan 25, 3:12 pm

I was probably being paranoid, but I didnt wanna start my trip off by loosing my stuff. I wouldn't doubt for a second that these guys have something going on though and I wasn't gonna be the one to prove it.

And, no I didnt take any notes of my trip. The first day is definetly burned in my mind as it was so awe inspiring and magnificent to soak it all in having waited so long to finally get there. Im sorry to keep everyone hangin on the rest of the report. School is taxing, and time is limited, but Ill strive for this weekend for another addition. Thanks for all the feedback and your patience channelites!! :) Talk to ya soon,

herbNmagic

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Postby Beer » Thu Jan 25, 3:18 pm

this girl wrote:i know what you mean about the taxis. whenever i've got one from the front of centraal., they havent got a clue where they're going which takes the piss. the charged me 13euro for a short ride to herengracht canal. i couldve walked in as much time that it took them. two of them bikkering which way to go in the front of the car. ask any london taxi driver for any street in london, he'll know it like the back of his hand. it's his job to! i must say, the taxi's must be the worst i've ever had, in amsterdam!
Taxis in the Netherlands went to pot with deregulation. There was a war and everything.

"If I wanted to go home by the tram route I'd have got the sodding tram."

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Postby drumdemon44 » Thu Jan 25, 5:30 pm

Great report, cant wait to see how the bulldog hotel was. I have heard good things and very bad things about the place.

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Postby Planning-A-Trip » Fri Jan 26, 12:41 am

herbNmagic wrote:I was probably being paranoid, but I didnt wanna start my trip off by loosing my stuff. I wouldn't doubt for a second that these guys have something going on though and I wasn't gonna be the one to prove it.

And, no I didnt take any notes of my trip. The first day is definetly burned in my mind as it was so awe inspiring and magnificent to soak it all in having waited so long to finally get there. Im sorry to keep everyone hangin on the rest of the report. School is taxing, and time is limited, but Ill strive for this weekend for another addition. Thanks for all the feedback and your patience channelites!! :) Talk to ya soon,

herbNmagic


Can't wait to see the rest of it Herb! I check this thread everyday hoping you posted. I understand about school though.

pan4gold49

Postby pan4gold49 » Fri Jan 26, 2:50 am

Great report want to read the rest. 60 days and counting til we get there for our first time.

Pan


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