Amsterdam. The unashamed city of sex – even the city logo has 3 X’s on it! Apart from all the wonderful canals, leaning buildings and large galleries, there is a seedy not-so-sub-culture that is embraced and on display.
Our arrival to Amsterdam Centraal at night, with Cam, found us walking in a horde of travelers dodging a few trams, smart-cars and bikes. Once onto a footpath, we found a row of gimmick tourist shops, restaurants and “frita’s” or chip shops. After finding the hotel a couple rings out, we explored back into the centre to find the Amsterdam often rumoured. It didn’t take long. Small alleyways and canals were lined with “coffee-shops”, curtained windows over red lit rooms and a few plumbing stores which didn’t sell your normal pipes and shower fittings.
After a bit of debate, we settled on going to Moulin Rouge to see a show. It certainly wasn’t what was expected; no Nicole Kidman or Ewan McGregor romace. While the acts had us in absolute stitches, we wouldn’t have thought they were erotic in nature at all. However, audience participation was considered mandatory. Mitch got a temporary tattoo from a construction worker and Cam managed to find a whole reel of string. We left half entertained and half disgusted.
The next morning we had a look at the voyeuristic and perverted Sex Museum, with ancient instruments, paintings and photographs. A whole room was dedicated to Marilyn Munro and a special display set aside for Mata Hari. Mitch and Cam thought that this definitely explained some of the things they had seen at their Dutch grandfathers house. A brisk walk to the bakery for some stroopewaffels, almond tarts and apple cakes, then a return to the train station to see Cam off. The last few hours were spent bargain hunting and canal browsing before we too flew back to Gatwick.
Our Dutch has improved a bit. We can now say hello “Hallo” and thank you “Dankjewel”. Cam can converse a bit better, he can say many of the bad words and ask the Germans for his grandfathers bike back. Looking forward to our next time over there, which is likely to be Queens Day on the 30th April. Apparently the Queen has just stepped down, so we may have a Kings Day celebration instead!