What do you think of when you imagine the typical college 3-day weekend trip away to Amsterdam? What you are imagining is, most likely, very close to how our trip was; at least a very basic and brief nutshell version of it, give or take maybe 7 or 8 people. There were 16 of us – 17 including the friend of ours who is in Leiden on Erasmus.
That’s how it all started. There were so many of us saying that we wanted to visit. A group chat was made with all those who expressed interest, and miraculously all 16 of us managed to coordinate a trip together. You can only imagine how difficult it would be for a group of 16 to quickly and efficiently navigate a city while staying all together, so of course at times we grouped off, but we did spend the majority of the time all together.
It would take far too long to go through a minute by minute, even an hour by hour account of the trip, so here is just a short and sweet outline of what I got up to during the three days in Amsterdam.
Disclaimer: I smoked weed while I was in Amsterdam. I know: shock, horror. I also ate weed brownies. As you do, when in Rome, and all that. I’m not a regular smoker, in that I don’t smoke cigarettes or tobacco/rollies/whatever, but I smoke weed occasionally. I do not believe that a shared joint or two (or three) every once in a while does any harm.
First port of call was, of course, a coffee shop. You can find every kind of coffee shop in the centre of Amsterdam, from the popular and packed (which more often than not verge on gimmicky), to the cute and cosy, off the beaten track ones that are my personal favourite kind – the ones in which you can get a coffee, read a book if you happened to be alone and fancied it, or sit outside in the fresh air under a little canopy – just your standard, nice coffee shop, really, with the added perk of being able to smoke in it – and purchase the goods in too. I much prefer to smoke outside; the shelter inside can be nice when it’s too cold and raining, but it does get really stuffy and smokey.
What was cute about this particular coffee shop we went to first was that, just like the majority of coffee shops in fact, they provide you with skins and rolling paper – a lovely touch.
After that, we took it easy. Did much of the same for the rest of the evening, going from coffee shop to bar, and for food in between. There really isn’t much else to report – we had a great day, chilling and strolling around the beautiful city. It was very cold, and annoyingly rained at times, but being as relaxed as we were it didn’t bother us much at all – the best way to be.
We didn’t take it easy any of the nights, and the first was no exception. Our hostel was a brilliant place to hang out, have some drinks, share some smokes… Great craic was had.
A little background: I was in Amsterdam two years ago, too, and there was this really quirky café where you could get a yummy, healthy and organic breakfast that myself and the friends I was with at the time absolutely loved – it was the first place we ate in Amsterdam.
On our first morning, the morning of day two, a few of us went in search of a nice, sit-down breakfast (there are lots of take-away waffle type places and the like, but we fancied some place we could sit in and relax for a while). We stumbled upon a café I had been to before, the first time I was in Amsterdam (explained above), so we ate there. The coffees came with miniature ‘stroop waffles’, stroopwafel – a sweet snack that became the obsession and craving for us all. You can buy packets of miniature and regular sized stroopwafel in supermarkets everywhere, including here in Ireland (they have them in Lidl, apparently, and I have seen them around in other places too, however, somehow, they are not the same and the best ones are to be got in Amsterdam).
Later in the evening, we ventured to the Banksy exhibition in the Moco Museum. This was an experience. Before we went, we bought edibles (I got a haze brownie/space cake) from a hedge shop and ate them in the hostel before we left, knowing that they take about an hour to kick in and that we’d be about 45 minutes walking to the museum anyways. Apart from being high, the art was fascinating in itself, but riding that wave while looking at the works of Daniel Arsham, Banksy and Roy Lichtenstein was an experience that wouldn’t have been the same otherwise.
That night, we went to a club. We tried to all go to the same club, but we were predictably and inevitably split up on the way, so some ended up going to the club we intended on going to (I was not in this group), while some of us got hopelessly lost – we, the lost group, gave up the chase and settled for a club near to where we were aimlessly wandering. It was called Claire, and it was a cool place – there were lockers lining the walls along the long corridor entry way that worked just like the ones in a gym: throw all your stuff in, pop in a €2 coin to lock it and release the key, and get your €2 back in the end when you’re finished. All clubs should have this – petition to eliminate the cloakroom scheme and install lockers in Cork’s nightclubs?
It was really dark, not just because the lights were low (obviously, in a club) but because everything, the walls, the floor, the counters, everything seemed to be painted black, apart from the incredible, intricately laced lights and chandeliers (yes, plural – big and small placed at random intervals across the ceiling) which were flashing randomly, but in beat with the music – this was trippy. The music was equally hypnotic, like nothing I’ve ever heard in a club before. Maybe I’m not going to the right clubs, because I seemed to be the only one of us who was fascinated by the place and thought it was really cool. Or maybe I was just really high. Either way, I had a great time.
After the clubs, which we really didn’t spend too much time in (maybe an hour or so? then again my concept of timing was all off), we headed back to the hostel, stopping, as per tradition, for food on the way. The food in Amsterdam is something else – wonderful, mostly, but also very bold… it is difficult to find healthy, wholesome food, although it can be done, but there’s certainly no want of dirty, indulgent munch. How bad, for a few days – one can afford to indulge on their holidays, and should do so, otherwise a really important aspect of the trip is wasted.
We spent the morning and afternoon just lazing around, going for coffee and smokes and grabbing brunch and/or lunch in little groups as we pleased. Three of us went to a really nice, off the beaten track coffee shop – I enjoyed a lovely flat white, and the others a gorgeous looking (and tasting, as I was so kindly let have a try) hot chocolate. We passed around a joint made with honey sativa – this was a blissful moment.
This night, our last night, we ventured out to Leiden to chill in our friends college house. After calling to the house, we went for a stroll to the hedge shop for supplies, then to the supermarket for supplementary supplies.
I wouldn’t say that the night was literally eventful, in that we didn’t venture outside of the house, staying in the living room with the exception of just a few who went for a short wander, but it was eventful – in ways. We underestimated the strength of the green out in Leiden. An account of these hours is enough for another post, a whole other story, so I will leave it at that, for now.
Amsterdam is a great city – I do love it – but I can see how it wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea. As well as that, there are ways to do an Amsterdam trip right, and ways to do it wrong. That, again, is a note for another post.
Ciara D. 5/2/2019