Monday, September 20, 2010

Mini Travel Log: Amsterdam, Holland

Tulips, windmills, oranje, world cup runners-up, red light district, weed, space cakes, house boats and city below sea level. Does any of the above ring a bell? One will be quick to associate some of the above to the country Holland or Netherlands without any doubt. This country or specifically the city Amsterdam is famous (notorious) for all the good and bad reasons above. The red light district is the most distinctive feature of Amsterdam. Girls parade themselves behind huge glass windows; which you probably wouldn't find this in any other parts of the world. The people here are so open about sex that you'll find interesting sight such as a church on the left, prostitute houses on the right and a kindergarden next to it! Apart from prostitution, the city also legalizes drugs. As you walk around the city, you'll see rows after rows of "coffee shops". With strong distinctive "smell" emanating from those shops, it doesn't take a genius to figure out what they are actually serving inside. You can smoke weed and also eat space cakes (cake laced with drugs) in those shops legally if you can prove your age. Moving away from the vices, Amsterdam has its own unique charms. Museums are abound for the art lovers, or you can take boat cruises along the many canals and see the distinctive house boats. If you are a huge fan of Heineken beer, then the Heineken Brewery is not to be missed. If you are bringing your girlfriend along, then there is one place where you cannot bring her to, which are the diamond centers. There are many diamond centers around the city which some offer tours around their diamond factory. Here, you'll learn how diamonds are cut and processed. They are even generous enough to let you try on their huge diamonds worth up to 30k euro a piece. Definitely doesn't sound too good to your wallet.

Just a word of caution when you're walking around the city. Amsterdam produces the best breed of cyclists in the world. All their bicycles come without brakes. As they can easily knock you down anytime, they also have to skills to avoid vehicles. It means that you better give way to them if you're walking.

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