Trip Report: Sept. 10 - 15, 2008

A forum where you can read the great
adventures of the visitors to Amsterdam.

User avatar
bongwata
power poster
power poster
Posts: 372
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 5:30 pm
Location: Camp Bongwata

Trip Report: Sept. 10 - 15, 2008

Postby bongwata » Fri Sep 19, 4:20 pm

"Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot." (Mark Twain)

I never got around to doing a trip report last year, so hopefully this will make up for it. Enjoy!

DAY ONE

It's hard to complain about economy class when you're center bulkhead. There was no third person going to or coming back, so the bro and I both had aisle seats with an empty between. Very nice, but still couldn't sleep. Watched the slow progress of the little plane icon as it crossed the Atlantic on the video map. IRON MAN on the on-demand was very cool - ready for a sequel! More than ready to get my fourth trip to AMS on the ground. This trip was going to be longer than April 2007 (5 vs. 3 days) and include touristy stuff, not just going from coffeeshop to breakfast, coffeeshop to lunch, coffeeshop to tea, coffeeshop to dinner, etc. (OK, that too.) Train in, schlepped to and dropped the bags off at the Bulldog Hotel (great place, location and price, but could use better mattresses), went next door to the Energy coffeeshop and got some Super Silver Haze to get started (I know, I know, but any port in a storm when you're ready for that first smoke). Headed toward the Leidseplein for the canal boat tour.

It had been a while since I'd been on one, and the first canal boat tour for bro. Same old, but a good way to start and get the lay of the land. We almost nodded off from the rumble and sway of the boat and lack of sleep. We sat across from an older couple that were spending a few hours in the city before getting back on the cruise ship. The canal boat went into the harbor and at one point we went over to the very same cruise ship (the Carnival Splendor, a honker - 3800 passengers). We got right up under it for a unique perspective, much closer than the "Stay 50 Yards Away" sign warned. The driver was trying to make a point about the lack of security, and indeed no one on the ship indicated their displeasure with the close approach. Later that day we encountered a pack of 60-somethings on the Kalverstraat rushing back to the cruise ship before its departure.

After lunch and a stop at the ever-reliable Rookies, we headed back to the hotel and check-in. Private ensuite overlooking OZ Voorburgwal, 5 nights for 516 E - such a deal! Later we went out to the Niewmarkt and to Cafe Cuba where there's... no food. I love Cuban food, but had got my wires crossed. Nice place though, good music. Heard Richard Cheese for the first time and we got some major yucks as he did "Another Brick in the Wall" lounge-style. If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding, so afterwards we went to Gauchos and had a fantastic steak dinner. Yes, it is possible to get good food (if overpriced) on Damstraat. Speaking of cheese, we wound the first day up with a trip to Hunter's (formerly The Coin) on Warmoestraat. Their Cheese turned out to be the best smoke of the trip. On the way back we made the first of what became nightly stops at this killer pastry shop on Damstraat. The valley in the too-soft bed didn't allow for much sleep that first night.

Another good thing that can be said of the Bulldog Hotel is about the guest lounge/bar. Only for guests, the room itself is open 24 hours and is pure smoke friendly (the rooms are totally non-smoking). Large with many tables, open, big screen TV, aquarium, lotsa internet terminals, good bar with food in the evenings. The only time you can't smoke there is during the free Continental breakfast, which is average (only had the coffee - stomach doesn't usually wake up until brunch/lunch).

DAY TWO

Of course, my note-taking on site ended after the first day. Even with reconstructive efforts, I can't dredge up much for this day before THE BIG MEET-UP. First time at Siberie, where MHD and Jackie, Winnie, itsmymagicallife and Chichi met us for a very nice visit. Anne was expected but MIA. Lotsa good smoke, including some of Jackie's homegrown, and beverages. We were at the table right under the webcam, but the cam has been down lately anyway. Great place, nice art on the walls, good company. Many trips outside to cop a cig - forget the little smoking booth they've installed. First time meeting Channelites (somehow missed 3 FBN meet-ups last time), and even bro had a good time. He doesn't, and probably never will, own a computer. He says (jokingly) that he's afraid The Devil and/or George Bush is going to jump out of it. But he enjoyed at least one tale from the boards, and who doesn't like a little scatalogy? (Watching "The Aristocrats" on the iPod later in the hotel room only served to reinforce the fun of it.)

Back to the hotel to freshen up, then we head out to dinner at De Brakke Grond on Nes. A Belgian restaurant with a great patio, they did a tasty turn on a hamburger and frites. Had Jupiter lager for the first time. Started with a mixed appetizer plate that included bitterballen. Still haven't figured out if I actually like these things or not, but I'll keep eating them until I do (plus the name always reminds me of that great Cat Stevens song "Bitter Blue"). The gooey center is a little creepy. We took an after-dinner stroll over to De Kuil/420 Cafe for some NYC Diesel and something else and enjoyed watching the activity from those great front window seats. No problem sleeping that night, thankfully.

DAY THREE

This was the big tourist day, and the first time I had ever been out to the Plantage area. It was also raining. On the way, a stop at the Rembrandt House, my first visit there since 1990, when they didn't yet have the modern visitors center next door. Next was the Botanical Gardens - beautiful. The most interesting part was this hot house where they raise butterflies, esp. ones they transfer from other houses so they won't eat all the plants they want to look good. A woman who worked there informally explained the development cycles and process as she went about her work, and as many different kinds of butterflies fluttered around us. The conservatory or whatever with 3 separate environments (went in the South Africa and rainforest ones) was neat. I have family in the plant business who could have appreciated this place a lot more, I think.

After horticulturing we were a bit peckish, so we dropped into a lovely little neighborhood bar on Plantage Middenlan called Eik & Linde. Has some historical significance, as old radio shows used to be broadcast from there. Only had the uitsmyter, but it was the best and cheapest of the trip. The bar itself has a great feel to it, and seemed like a great place for knocking back a few beers with friends. Recommended if you're in the area. The tourist highlight of the entire trip was the Dutch Resistance Museum, just around the corner from Eik & Linde. The subject matter is very interesting (it made me want to see Zwartboek/Black Book again), but the way they present it makes it more engaging. Interactive, maybe to help appeal to the kids more, and arranged well to reinforce the progression of events. Favorite artifact/image was a poster depicting a Resistance figure kicking the ass of an anthropomorphic Nazi pig, also available on a keychain in the giftshop.

The soggy return to the hotel for dry clothes and a nap had some highlights. Another coffeeshop first at the Overkant Hortus, where there are no chairs but a deep ledge around the windows of this corner shop that easily supports rolling or reading (can't tell you what we smoked). Moving on we ducked into the covered sidewalk on Jodenbreestraat/ Muiderstraat, where there was an accordian busker playing the music from "Amelie," one of my favorite movies. Now for the vingette I'll call "Fun With Cripples": we noticed this tiny old woman slowly walking down the sidewalk in front of the shops. Every now and then she would stop and the upper part of her body would start to slowly slump down, then after 30 seconds or so she would right herself and proceed, again very slowly. We passed her and looked back, when this young girl dashes ahead of the woman and starts shooting video of her with a small camera. Then we thought it may have been some kind of performance art. Video girl goes back to the shop she worked at, and we asked if she knew the woman, but she said no. Maybe the woman was narcoleptic or just extremely mobility impaired, but the shopgirl getting her kicks filming it seemed a little weird. But then later in the trip I was imitating the woman, so I guess I shouldn't talk.

The late afternoon/evening was dry. I think this was when we went over towards the Grey Area, where we found it empty. My first trip here, oddly enough. Got some Chocolope and Nederhash, both highly touted but neither turned out to be as thrilling as expected. Best part was the Volcano bag (bro prefers joints so he rolled something up with the gunpowder), and the Chocolope did taste good. New York Pizza and more pastry to round out the evening.

DAY FOUR

Saturday started out drizzly, so we cancelled our plans for the Zandvoort/Haarlem excursion. Took it easy in the morning then headed for Museumplein and The Van Gogh Museum. Hadn't been there since 1996, and I dearly love this stuff. Cliche maybe, but there's nothing like seeing those brushstrokes up close and personal. By the time we finished the sun was out, so we strolled over to Vondelpark. Had a smoke near the statue of Vondel, listening to some guy playing bad reggae and a song (?) that we thought would never end, predictably punctuated with "Yea-ah" ad nauseum. But it had turned into a pretty day, if a bit chilly, so no worries.

On the way back we stopped for a Mexican dinner at Los Pilones, which turned out to be surprisingly good. Afterwards we went to the Dampkring (had missed it somehow on my 3 previous trips), where we had the second best smoke of the trip, the John Sinclair. Having met the guy on our last trip, we thought it was pretty cool that he had a great weed named after him. Bought another 2.5 grams of it before we left.

Another great place close to the Dam and the hotel is the smoker-friendly Nes Cafe. Never went there when it was still a coffeeshop, but it was great hanging out in the open alcove in front, drinking Gulpener and smoking whatever. Enjoyed talking with a girl from Norway and a guy from Israel she was with, and listening to some killer tunes. Another stop at the pastry shop, and a nightcap at the hotel lounge before bed.

DAY FIVE

Pretty much just took it easy this last day, but there was one last "target" to make before going home. I dragged my brother over toward the Anne Frank, not to visit the house, but to scoop up some dirt near it. A coworker had asked for that souvenir, and despite my concerns over customs I went for it. Then we wandered over toward another highlight of the trip.

Having missed Anne at the earlier meet-up, I had to break my "no Internet on vacation" rule to PM her for another chance. We arranged to meet back at De Brakke Grond. What a delightful young woman! Smart, sweet, and - at the risk of embarassing her - easy on the eyes. Had a lovely relaxed conversation over Jupiters, hot tea and more bitterballen. Somehow she managed to not drop the f and c bombs when talking about the North/South metro line. Even to this visitor it seems pointless, and all the construction mess in the Centrum is terrible (not to mention the sinking houses).

Later we went back out to the remodeled Amnesia. Never been to a Barney's, so I don't have any issues with the "takeover." It was nice to hang in such a swank place, especially when accompanied by a Volcano bag of the 3rd best smoke of the trip - G13 Haze. Bro rolled a joint of Pink Kush, very tasty. Marginal Italian dinner at Le Mer on Zeedijk. One last bit of Cheese from Hunter's, one last pastry, and back to the hotel to pack.

GOING HOME

After three nights of solid sleep, not so much that last one in the hotel. Nor was I able to sleep on the plane, despite the space cake eaten at the airport (worked like a charm last time). But saw another good movie on the way back: IN BRUGES, funny and very good, and somewhat apropos to our just completed trip. Started getting concerned when I answered "No, I do not have any soil" on the customs form. Upon arrival at my home airport, sure enough I get pulled for an extra screening at passport control cuz I was on some list. I travel a lot, but this had never happened to me before. No problem, but then I get stopped again and sent to the agricultural screening area. After waiting a while, the guy says "oh, you were already re-screened" and let me go without any bag check. Not that I was really worried about it, and maybe it was unrelated to the dirt, but it made for a slightly anxious return. As much as I love to travel, it is always good to come home.


Too long, many gaps (insert "mindless canal wandering" as needed), and the timeline is a little shaky in spots, but there you have it.

BW
Last edited by bongwata on Sat Sep 20, 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
bogart
super power poster
super power poster
Posts: 2024
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 7:02 am
Location: St Germain

Postby bogart » Fri Sep 19, 6:24 pm

sounds good. In Bruges was a good movie. Thanks for turning me onto the resistance museum and el Gaucho's.

User avatar
Swin
super power poster
super power poster
Posts: 1388
Joined: Sun May 20, 8:37 pm
Location: Gollem Raamsteeg

Postby Swin » Fri Sep 19, 7:29 pm

Nice report many thanks - my sort of report (not all about coffee shop menus) - a couple of tips on places to eat which I will try - I was in Amsterdam in June but I am missing the place like mad already - next year seems a long way off.

I shared your enjoyment of the Resistance Museum - just a shame there was so little resistance !

Did you visit De Hollandsche Schouwburg on Plantage Middenlaan just around the corner from the Resistance Museum where people were assembled and kept awaiting depotation? An atmospheric place.

User avatar
bongwata
power poster
power poster
Posts: 372
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 5:30 pm
Location: Camp Bongwata

Postby bongwata » Fri Sep 19, 7:44 pm

Swin wrote:Nice report many thanks - my sort of report (not all about coffee shop menus) - a couple of tips on places to eat which I will try - I was in Amsterdam in June but I am missing the place like mad already - next year seems a long way off.

I shared your enjoyment of the Resistance Museum - just a shame there was so little resistance !

Did you visit De Hollandsche Schouwburg on Plantage Middenlaan just around the corner from the Resistance Museum where people were assembled and kept awaiting depotation? An atmospheric place.


Yes, the lack of resistance is certainly a sad part of it. But maybe it's like how so many Americans went along with Japanese internment. Yes, I knew about the Schouwburg, but by that point we were soaked to the skin and ready to get back to the hotel.

BW

User avatar
RasaLibree
power poster
power poster
Posts: 396
Joined: Fri May 09, 5:19 pm
Location: Vermont (802)

Postby RasaLibree » Fri Sep 19, 7:48 pm

Cool report BW

User avatar
Anne
mega power poster
mega power poster
Posts: 6420
Joined: Sat Feb 10, 12:41 pm
Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Contact:

Postby Anne » Sat Sep 20, 1:40 pm

bongwata wrote:
Swin wrote:Nice report many thanks - my sort of report (not all about coffee shop menus) - a couple of tips on places to eat which I will try - I was in Amsterdam in June but I am missing the place like mad already - next year seems a long way off.

I shared your enjoyment of the Resistance Museum - just a shame there was so little resistance !

Did you visit De Hollandsche Schouwburg on Plantage Middenlaan just around the corner from the Resistance Museum where people were assembled and kept awaiting depotation? An atmospheric place.


Yes, the lack of resistance is certainly a sad part of it. But maybe it's like how so many Americans went along with Japanese internment. Yes, I knew about the Schouwburg, but by that point we were soaked to the skin and ready to get back to the hotel.

BW

The Dutch resistance is a story with two sides, really. It all depends on your definition of resistance.

User avatar
bongwata
power poster
power poster
Posts: 372
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 5:30 pm
Location: Camp Bongwata

Postby bongwata » Sat Sep 20, 2:37 pm

Much can be said about what a hysterical and frightened citizenry will or won't do when given a chance to do what's right. WWII wasn't that long ago, but in this country you only have to go back 5-6 years to find how the majority of the country trusted a liar (Bush) for the sake of perceived safety.

BW

User avatar
islandgurl
mega power poster
mega power poster
Posts: 4368
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2:46 am
Location: Got my toes in the water, ass in the sand.

Postby islandgurl » Sat Sep 20, 4:30 pm

Thank you for the cool trip report, BW.

I also liked the flavor of Chocolope, but it didn't do much for me in the buzz department. Way over-priced for what it is, IMO. Shoot, Tommy Chong didn't even smoke it lol he gave the huge joint of Chocolope that was given to him last year at the cup away.

How did you like the NYCD from 420? That's one of my fave strains and I get it every time I go to the dam. 420 can be hit or miss sometimes as I've seen mold on their weed and informed the budtender. I like 420 (DeKuil) though.

User avatar
bongwata
power poster
power poster
Posts: 372
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 5:30 pm
Location: Camp Bongwata

Postby bongwata » Sat Sep 20, 5:51 pm

islandgurl wrote:Thank you for the cool trip report, BW.

I also liked the flavor of Chocolope, but it didn't do much for me in the buzz department. Way over-priced for what it is, IMO. Shoot, Tommy Chong didn't even smoke it lol he gave the huge joint of Chocolope that was given to him last year at the cup away.

How did you like the NYCD from 420? That's one of my fave strains and I get it every time I go to the dam. 420 can be hit or miss sometimes as I've seen mold on their weed and informed the budtender. I like 420 (DeKuil) though.


It's kinda strange. Last year I was loving the sativas and diesels/hazes, and NYCD from DeKuil/420 (in a vape bag prepared by John Sinclair) was indeed my favorite smoke of that trip. This time almost everything tasted and buzzed the same, except for the Cheese and John's namesake. Part of it may have been due to all the joints, when at home I'm usually piping, bonging or vaping. I am fortunate to smoke good stuff at home, but it never has a name and neither do I know for sure the indica/sativa quotient.

Next time I may need to pay closer attention to the indicas. Mama said knock you out!

BW

User avatar
islandgurl
mega power poster
mega power poster
Posts: 4368
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2:46 am
Location: Got my toes in the water, ass in the sand.

Postby islandgurl » Sat Sep 20, 6:36 pm

We seem to have the same taste in weed, BW, as I also like the sativas and the diesels.

What's John's namesake? I mean I know what a namesake is lol but I've never seen it on the menu... does he not put it on there, and is it worth trying in November?

TheChad
power poster
power poster
Posts: 102
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 11:56 am
Location: Paris - NY

Postby TheChad » Sat Sep 20, 7:05 pm

islandgurl wrote:We seem to have the same taste in weed, BW, as I also like the sativas and the diesels.

What's John's namesake? I mean I know what a namesake is lol but I've never seen it on the menu... does he not put it on there, and is it worth trying in November?


Think he's referring to the john sinclair strain. A few shops have it. Tied it at barney's and dampkring in the past, never special...

User avatar
bongwata
power poster
power poster
Posts: 372
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 5:30 pm
Location: Camp Bongwata

Postby bongwata » Sun Sep 21, 12:05 am

TheChad wrote:
islandgurl wrote:We seem to have the same taste in weed, BW, as I also like the sativas and the diesels.

What's John's namesake? I mean I know what a namesake is lol but I've never seen it on the menu... does he not put it on there, and is it worth trying in November?


Think he's referring to the john sinclair strain. A few shops have it. Tied it at barney's and dampkring in the past, never special...


Right on!

As I recall, the smell and taste of John Sinclair (the weed) was the part that I like the most. Didn't really got couch lock or anything though, but it was a realtively stronger/deeper high than a lot of the other stuff I had.

BW


Return to “Channelites Trip Reports”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests