Reflections From Six Trips

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

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Reflections From Six Trips

Postby Weldon » Thu May 20, 7:32 am

Amsterdam changed my life. It helped make me more a man of the world. I got out of my country and experienced another culture to the point where things are familiar and I get mistaken for a local. I'd be lying if I didn't say a good reason for coming was the ultimate freedom of a society that allowed canibis to be openly sold and also it's sexual openness.

With those reasons in mind, I should add that I've been to the Van Gogh 5 times and by understanding Van Gogh's art, it has given me an interest in many of the other impressionist artists and I use my timewhen I come to Amsterdam to seek out art museums. I've only been to the Rijksmuseum once and missed another chance to go last year. But that's another part of the story.

I feel like I've been all over the Netherlands, yet there are plenty of places yet to see. To me, Delft was the nicest. The buildings and canals are on a smaller scale than Amsterdam. There was an active market place by the big church. I just walked around for a few hours and watched local people converse and interact. It was a beautiful day. There were horse drawn lorries.

My favorite thing to do is just walk the streets. I marvel at the old buildings, hundreds of years old. An old building where I live is a mere hundred. Last trip I walked around in the area the other side of Den Waag on the way to Artis Zoo. It had it's little food shops and sophisticated businesses but was mostly residential. Ducks were making V shapes swimming in the canal. There was an old house there from 1605 or something. On my second trip, I stood in a church plaza where around 50 years earlier, hundreds of people were massacred by an invading army. I saw a plume of smoke rising from the cobblestones that made up the square. I don't recall it being any memorial. It was just there.

I can't go back alone to Amsterdam anymore. It's time I only went when I could either meet someone there or come with someone from home. The last trip was the most penny-pinching one I'd made. I went to the usual places. Went to The Hague and Delft for a day; then Utrecht, Rotterdam and Haarlem on another. I did my shopping. Stayed stoned. And that was basically it for 10 days. I need someone to show around and do stuff with.

My first solo was in 99 and that was pretty damn exciting. Was the only time there I saw any measurable ice on the canals. The ducks could stand on it. I went to Baarn to check out places MC Escher lived. That's when I experienced the coldest weather ever. I'm walking on a road by a field and that icy wind is just whippin.' It reminded me of growing up in Chicago. Like February weather in Chicago. I was probably the only tourist in town that day. The station cafe was open and to me it looked like a very nice restaurant that had the European version of diner food. Escher did a window on a government building downtown.

On that trip, I also immersed myself in the pot culture. I was getting ready to wind down my pot usage. Then I came for the first time to Amsterdam on a European trip with my daughter. While she was esconced in front of the TV for the night, I had to find out if all this talk was true about buying reef over the counter. I passed the Bulldog many times and the Rockerij, where I ended up hanging out in the mornings when it opened.

But that fact that canibis usage was condoned and tolerated gave me great respect for the Dutch people. The fact that they would allow this and place their energies on greater problems of national import impressed me greatly. It made me wish mightily that my country could be so enlightened. Netherlands' leniency toward canibis is just one example of how personal freedom is valued there. There is a sense of relaxation being in the Netherlands. In my realm of interest, I can safely say that there is nothing I do in that country that could ever be a threat to anyone. The usual rules of respect and politeness get me by all right.

Which doesn't mean I don't piss people off occasionally. I asked a clerk at a bookstore if she had any books on translating Dutch. She got cross and then took me angrily to where they were, pointed and stomped off. I can't think of anything I did to evolk that reaction other than probably reeking from something I got at the Bluebird across the street. The guy behind the counter at Easy Everything was a proper bastard. He woundn't break a 20 so I could pay for computer time. I had to buy this porno comic book (it was the nearest thing) for 3 euros so I could get change. The guy was smirking while he made the sale. He never got off the phone. About the comic book, it may just be the thing to get me to learn Dutch. In the meantime, the pictures will have to do. A comforting thing about it: A lot of dumpy looking guys are nailing supermodel women. I know, it's part of the humor.


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Postby Bohannon » Thu May 20, 4:24 pm

Well written Weldon. Now that I think of it you owe this forum a few trip reports! You were my inspiration for my first Amsterdam trip and for that I thank you hugely! I had been to Europe before but that would have probably been a one time thing if not for listening to your stories after your first trip.
Someday, damn, someday we will be there at the same time (if the gods are smiling) I am sure that we would have a ball and laugh ourselves stupid. Thanks again.

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Postby BlueBerry » Thu May 20, 4:57 pm

Nice Reflections :))

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Weldon.


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Postby Mike » Fri May 21, 4:00 am

Nice post, really enjoyed it.

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Postby bigbird » Fri May 21, 4:43 am

Thanks for the report Weldon.I will be making my first trip to Amsterdam in July.One of the main reasons for my trip is the chance to stand in some of the areas I have only read about.I love history and I get a charge from soaking in atmosphere, maybe some history geeks out there like me know what I am talking about.I am also looking forward to meeting the people and I am curious as to the differences and similarities to people in my area of the US.Finally I look forward to a more liberal attitude towards smoking,and other personal choices.I may be expecting too much but I know I will enjoy whatever comes if for no other reason than it will be different.Your reports and those of other Channelites have been an inspiration.Bye for now,I hope to see some of you July17-22.

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