Oh, Amsterdam… City of all possibilities. The Gomora of our days. Or is it? I really don’t know how to start this article, mostly because the differences between Amsterdam and any city from my country (Romania, for those of you that don’t already know) are so big that for some of us that visit for the first time this city, it may come as a shock. But let’s cut to the chase and start talking about the important stuff, so here are 10 things that you should know before visiting Amsterdam
1. First and foremost let’s talk about the really important stuff, and the reason that Amsterdam has become such a visited city with more that 1.5 million visitors per year is.. The weed. You already know what I’m talking about or else you wouldn’t be searching for infos about this city, right? (Unless, of course, you are in your 60’s, freshly retired and you want to explore the world while you still can). Here is what you should know: a caffe is not the same thing as coffee shop and this is because the last one has nothing to do with the coffee (honestly I have no idea why they still keep this name.. Probably tradition). At a cafe you can order and drink coffee. At a coffee shop you can order and smoke (or eat, by case) weed. Some of the most well known coffee shops in Amsterdam are The Bulldog (the original coffee shop but many people started complaining about their merch so I would not recommend it necessarily) and The original Dampkring (this I do recommend, for the vibe and all that, and also because you may have the opportunity to sit when Brad Pitt or George Clooney have sat and this is for most of us the closest we will get to them. And also you must try the banana and nutella space cake which is aaaahhh-mazing ( *or so I’ve heard*, but take care how much of it you eat, especially if you have not eaten a space cake in your life). Also, besides these, let’s not forget about the magic shops, where you can buy and eat shrooms, not everyone’s cup of tea.
2. All the cooked stuff that have the word „space” in their name, are probably containing weed but you should totally avoid the prepacked stuff, cause they may contain little to none in their composition (and also don’t try to pass the boarders with such things cause you may remain stuck in a no stars hotels with bars at the windows for some time, but look at the bright side… At least you have the meals assured). So go yet again for the coffee shop space cakes.
3. Red for women, and blue for women that were not women in the beginning. You probably know that I’m talking about: the awesome RED LIGHT DISTRICT. It’s probably something unique in all Europe and it’s also pretty captivating. In Amsterdam pimping is illegal but women can offer paid sexual services. They usually try to lure man by wearing provocative clothes (but they are not allowed to be naked or show their private parts or they may get a fee of several hundred euros.) If the curtains are closed, they are already working and the little thing I said in the beginning is about the light: you can recognize the working women by the fact that in front of the windows they have a red or blue light. If it is red, they were born women. If it it blue or variations (purple let’s say), they are probably not women at their origins so you will know what to expect.
4. Also do not try to film or take photos in the red light district, as many of the working ladies don’t want their real job to be disclosed and they can be quite aggressive in trying to stop you doing so. (Plus it’s really not cool to take photos of any person without their consent so stop being an a**hole)
5. Beware of the pickpocketers. And not only on the streets. If you feel that you may be safe in a restaurant, you’ll find out that this is not the case. Many pickpocketers act when you feel the safest and one of their favourite move is robbing you when you are eating your lunch/diner in peace. They often travel in groups, will sit at a table behind you, will not order anything for 10 minutes then all of the sudden they will calmly sit up and leave and you will not suspect anything until you’ll have to pay the check and will find out that you have no more euros in your wallet. They often go only for the money, not phones, cards or other electronics and also many of them leave the ID documents in place so at least they have this decency.
6. If you really don’t like to pay in cash, at least pay attention and make sure that you have a maestro card, because in many places visa cards or mastercard are not accepted and they may be declined( I understood that they see them as credit cards and in the Netherlands credit cards are a rare find, I guess)
7. Also about the money, make sure that you have 50’s, 20’s and 10’s bills as 100 and 5 hundred euro bills are a rare find and are declined at many restaurants or shops.
8. Please but please try the freshly made stroopwaffles. Amsterdam may not have many traditional foods but the fricking stroopwaffles are the s**t, especially when they are freshly baked and the caramel oozes out of them. My mouth is watering only thinking about them.
9.It’s all about the online, so buy the tickets to the main attractions ( like the Heineken experience) online to skip the long queues. Trust me, you will thank me later
10. Beware of the cyclists. In Amsterdam cars are almost a rarity, which is awesome but at the same time you should really pay attention to the persons on bicycles as they have priority, and they won’t stop if they see you so you could get hurt really bad really fast.
I guess that this will be all for the moment. I really hope that you enjoyed this article and hope to hear from you if you have any other things to add. Kisses , your moldavian girl