Travel

Sex, Drugs & Lore. High Tales From Amsterdam

By  | 

It’s a rare sight to have a day off on tour, and this was our first break before some of the non-stop madness that awaited. What a better place to have a day off in the city of sex, lights, drugs and lore, also known as Amsterdam.

On the outskirts of the city and a good 20 minute train ride away, Amsterdam seemed quiet and charming. Woodlands surrounded our hotel and it felt like we were going over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house on our walk to the train station.

Amsterdam

The train ride into the city was relaxing. It definitely was the perfect calm before the storm as we decided to make the most of our 24 hours free in this crazy city. And I had never been ready.

I always had dreams of Amsterdam as a child as this town filled with beautiful stone buildings, stoners, and hookers. And as the sunset in my mind, it became alive with sin and neon lighting.

The reality wasn’t that far off from that dream either. Except most hookers kept to their windowed rooms lining the red light district and didn’t roam freely in the streets trying to lure their prey in like a siren of the sea. And instead of singing sweet tunes to lure you into their dens, they often shouted, screamed, cat-called, and even called you names if you didn’t give them the slightest attention.

But I digress…

The first order of business when stepping off that train was to find some lunch. We were all a bit frumpy and had the look of “I just lived on a bus for a few days. Please feed me something other than ham sandwiches.” Most of the restaurants were still closed since it was 11am, but we managed to find one that had just opened and was completely empty. We were a large group of 11 and asked to be seated. The snooty host at the front stuck his nose up and with one smirky tone said “Sorry, we’re all booked up.”

The shock drained the already pale color from my face as I realized what just happened. For the first time in my life I had experienced discrimination. And not for being a woman (which happens quite a lot in the industry) but because we were Americans. They took one look at us and thought ‘we don’t want any of your business’ and turned down a well paying group because of where we were from.

Amsterdam foodWe made our way next door, and they had no problem making room for our larger group. We sat and warmed up a bit from the nippy, May air and sipped delicious espresso my mind still dreams about.

For lunch, I ordered a baguette with fresh lox and melted cheese on top. This also came accompanied with a side salad, which I’m sure was originally on top of the sandwich melt and just fell off to the side.

After lunch, my colleague insisted we check out the ‘Museum of Torture’ on the other side of town. Now, when you think of the other side of town you may often think that is quite the journey.. But the city of Amsterdam itself is pretty small and you can easily power walk a full circle around the town within a good 30 minutes.

After seeing some amazing and gruesome medieval art, it was my turn to have some fun and do exactly what I wanted to do. Ever since I was younger, my brain associated Amsterdam with one thing – Marijuana. Recreational drug use has been legalized in Amsterdam for its’ city residents, but that doesn’t stop tourists from picking up a little green while out and about.

Amsterdam

(Joint, not pictured).

I can’t recall the exact cost, but I remember it definitely wasn’t cheap. And the coffee shop we visited to get some green treats sure as hell didn’t care. I got a joint of something mellow, that would make walking around the city feel like a movie and slow time. Something that would help me romanticize the idea of Amsterdam just a bit longer.

The first puff was magical as I strolled down the cobblestone roads to see a city lined with bikes & boats along the river. The air was brisk, such as the first day of fall, and the sound of leaves crunching under my feet was music to my ears.

Of course, what goes better with a join than an old-fashioned Coke and a space cake. I just had to. The cake of course, was being saved for later that night.

The stroll around Amsterdam was magical. Everything was magical. I felt like Gandalf, ready to puff my way straight into Mordor.

The day was still young, and we didn’t feel like heading back to the hotel just yet. We got some coffee and contemplated what could be done next. That’s when we gazed across the street and saw a ‘Museum of Sex’ with an admission fee of 5 euros. What a bargain!? We thought to ourselves. We finished up our drinks and made our way over to this intriguing place.

The Museum of Sex we visited was 3 stories of pure bliss. There was everything from artwork, to the history of sex, popculture and more. It was almost impossible to not spend all day there, reading every little thing this museum had to offer.

The exhibits dove into the first recordings of sex on pottery and in hieroglyphics with actual pieces that were thousands of years old. There were also exhibits detailing the lives of iconic women, such as Marilyn Monroe and Betty Page. There were also interesting pieces that touched base on the idea that no two Vaginas or Penises are alike. In a way, the art displayed was almost meant to be more conversational about sex and normalize it instead of trying to bastardize it yet shove it down your throats in the way mainstream media in the states does.

Red Light District AmsterdamOf course, no trip to Amsterdam would be complete without a quick trip to the Red Light District. I always assumed Amsterdam was one giant red light district, with twisting and turning cobblestoned sidewalks that wrapped around buildings in a Harry Potter sort of way.

The Red Light District itself was rather small as well. Pulling out my phone to check a text, I was called a whore – by a whore. Isn’t that ironic?

We also discovered that within the Red Light District, there are also ‘Purple Lights’ which indicates that the prostitute is transsexual.

That definitely came as a surprise to a coworker when we were passing by and commenting on how much prettier the purple light workers were. (Try harder, Red Light ladies!)

The night slowly started to wind down, as the city of Amsterdam itself really started to come alive. As it grew later and later, all sorts of strange individuals made their way into town for a night of drinks and dancing at many of the local pubs & clubs. While it was way past our bed time on a show night, we did stop to enjoy a bit of it and take in the sights of everyone having fun.

Back at the hotel, I decided it was time to eat the Space Cake. An hour later, nothing was happening so I went to bed. I woke up, wide awake at 3am absolutely high out of my mind and having one of the worst panic attacks of my life. Lesson learned, never judge a Space Cake by its’ innocent, rainbow and friendly looks.

Amsterdam Show

Show time. The venue was absolutely massive and nearly everyone in attendance was rocking the color orange. The color orange to the people of Netherlands is significant in regards to the royal family. During this time frame of the tour, Netherlands had just received a new King. While this wasn’t an official reason – especially from the 1D camp as they tweeted asking fans to do so, it definitely appeared to be quite the case.Amsterdam

With the show done for the night, it was time to do the usual and start packing up. Since we didn’t have much to pack up, we spent some time hanging outside the venue chatting it up with all the fans still buzzing from the show. It’s always great to meet some of the locals. You learn more about the culture, more about the industry, and you make a connection that can sometimes last for years to come.

Some of the individuals I have came into contact with because of One Direction and the Take Me Home Tour, I still speak with to this day. They ask me for advice, we chat about life, and they have slowly become good and dear friends of mine. It’s wonderful to have such amazing people in my life. And I would never, in a lifetime, trade any of these experiences for anything in the world. Including world domination.

With that, it was time to get back on the road and on to the next show. Germany, here we come!

Boston based writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Founder & Editor in Chief of NotACleverGirl.com and KeepItNerdy.com.