The feeling when you wake up after a hard night in a strange bed can only be mitigated by a strong protein-based breakfast and a huge coffee. Nothing else will do the trick no matter what. We counted the coasters I took from each bar last night and reached the number 16. That’s 16 small beers in one night! Well, small belgian beers which are smaller than ours but still. It was a small miracle that we were in a shape we were in. And in this shape we had to continue our life altering journey.
Our next stop was Amsterdam. I always wanted to go there, in fact I can easily declare Amsterdam as my ultimate dream destination and couldn’t wait to see all the cyclists smoking jollies around the lovely canals. We soon discovered that my dream destination wasn’t mine alone, there was no reply from any of the couchsurfers. All those unanswered requests just wandering around the cyberspace.
We had lunch at the sea-side. We found a gorgeous, small town with the longest sand beach I had ever seen. And in this gorgeous small town we found a gorgeous, small restaurant with delicious food overlooking the sandy beach. It was a windy, cold autumn day, filled with sunrayes and smiles. Later on, we sat down in the sand, watching other people having their normal Sunday, children playing, dogs barking and birds chirping. And us, counting our blessings. ‘Till this day, that place is our favourite place on Earth and a serious highlight of that trip. The fact that we had nowhere to stay later that day was far far away for those few hours.
Ah, well.. We would be in Amsterdam soon, a place that is able to host numerous tourists every day, how could it refuse us? A lovely, cosy hostel right in the middle of a red district welcomed us to its narrow, crooked halls with unbalanced stairways and Irish neighbours, always drinking in the bar next door. Last bunk in a packed room was all we needed and we were soon on our way to exploring this cosmopolitan capitol.
It is simply beautiful. With all the canals, narrow stone paved streets and wobly houses all around, the city center has a charisma like no other. I perticularly like, not just in Amsterdam, looking through the window into people’s houses, checking their way of living or should I say, observing the human in their own habitat, most cosy to them, where they feel most relaxed. However people act infront of others, when they are able to relax at home, their masks come off. Damn, that sounds really perverted.. I’m really just glancing at their book shelves, paintings and overall interior design. Ok, enough about that before I chase everyone away..
We saw the Rembrandts museum, we passed by the Ann Frank’s house, we took pictures at the I-Amsterdam sign and took long walks by the water but lets face it, we were here for another reason. Around here it’s totally normal to walk into a coffee shop and have a joint. Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? Have you ever seen the “menu”? And, it’s not just pot, there are mushrooms, cookies, brownies etc. I’m somewhat a fan of exploiting natures best but we were lost over there at the counter. Luckily, the guys are used to that, so they explained the local specialities with great care and patience. Between everything we picked out pre-roled package of four doobies and some tee. After a while, we sat there quiet, listening to Fugees playing inside my head and avoiding the thought we still have to get back to the hostel. After a moment of silence while appreciating the enviroment, that lasted quite a while really, our eyes met and pure happiness was flowing all around us.
The problem with all big metropolitan touristic destination is, you can never find a decent fast food in the first try. You know there are some, statistically it’s impossible that only the lousy joints survive, but they are hiding away somewhere, unseen to the naked eye. My advice to all of you travelers out there, make sure to ask a local, where to get a great burger or something and it can also be a bit remote and everything. If they can also recommend something special that would go great with your current situation, you are the winner.
The next day we spend exploring markets. I prefer markets and flea market to shopping malls. You can never see a pair of manequin legs sitting in a basket full of second hand clothes in a mall or have a delicious lunch under huge maple trees overlooking a really long row of bicycle. The bikes are another thing here, and the people riding them, as well. There are some brave tourists trying to keep up but you can easily spot them between local pros, who are not even looking, just whooshing down the streets minding their own busy schedules. Finally, we sat down on the bank and finished the yesterdays leftovers. Thinking about tomorrow…
…to be continued