Contiki: Day 21 – Amsterdam!
[Last Night Continued...]
I have to say that last night was the best night of the tour. There have been some great nights on tour but this one takes the cake.
We took a 25 minute walking tour around Amsterdam with our tour manager last night and then he took us through the Red Light District as promised so that we could experience what the real RLD was all about.
The Red Light District is a lot different that I originally thought it would be. After seeing movies, tv shows, and hearing stories from different people I still had a different perception of the whole experience. It’s honestly something you need to see for yourself to understand. Whether it’s your cup of tea or not, taking a stroll through the RLD is a must for visitors to Amsterdam. Not for the sex, not for the sleaze, but to experience a culture that openly accepts prostitution. There are not many, if any other places in the world that you’ll be able to take in and understand a government that truly listens to it’s citizens and bases their laws around what the “people” want or are willing to accept in their city. Amsterdam is simply one of a kind.
After our tour through the RLD we headed for the secret Contiki Optional: “Amsterdam Cultural Show” located in the heart of the RLD. This is where the night kicked off! I won’t go into details but I will say that it was quite an experience. The crowd interaction with our Contiki group made the whole experience even better. The surprise at the end of the show was one of the funniest thing that I’ve ever seen. We laughed for what seemed like hours after the show. After leaving the show everyone was in a great mood so a group of us headed over to the famous coffee shop called “The Grasshopper” where some of the crew sampled some of the many products that the Grasshopper is famous for.
After the Grasshopper we took one more stroll through the Red Light District because at this point it was getting late and it was prime time. We walked through all of the alleyways that make for a good maze to get lost in. You might think I’m exaggerating and have the perception that these women are disghusting, trashy, ugly, and whatever else but you have to take a stroll through the RLD before you make any judgments. The women in the windows at this time of night were literally out of this world. There were people from the ages of 15 to 75 years of age walking through the RLD just to catch a glimpse of what seems like a different planet, even a different world. As we walked through we were all asking ourselves the same thing. Why are these women standing here selling their bodies when they are far beyond beautiful. It just doesn’t make any sense.
After our late night visit to the RLD we all headed back home to catch up on some sleep for another big day in Amsterdam.
Today we woke up, had breakfast and headed off to Edam to take our Contiki Inculded: Bike Tour of Edam. Edam is a very small countryside town about 15 mins from where our hotel was in Monnickendam. We arrived and were greeted by the bike tour operator Claudia. She was really nice, funny and loved to share her extensive knowledge of Edam. We all grabbed our own “Granny Bike” and took off on a short bike tour through Edam. The bikes were really comfortable and easy to use. They had big comfy seats, high handle bars, and even push pedal brakes to make you reminisce of when you were young! This bike tour was made for everyone, and although it was very short I had a fun time.
After the bike tour of Edam we all headed into town for some free time! As we got into the city a group of us took off to grab lunch at the Hard Rock in Liedenspiel Square. The food was great, but it took a long time to order, and receive our food so it burnt quite a bit of time out of our few hours that we had in the city. After lunch we all went our separate ways and I ended up taking off on my own. I didn’t have any set plans or things that I really wanted to do in the city. I just wanted to take off on my own, relax and explore this amazing city a little bit more.
We all met back at the bus around 4:30PM and headed back to the hotel to get ready for our Contiki Optional Dinner at the Sea Palace in Amsterdam. After everyone got dressed and ready we headed back into the city for some chinese food at the Sea Palace. I thought the food was OK, but it was nothing like the chinese food at home. I shouldn’t have expected it to be great in the first place, but it filled me up and did the job like a lot of the meals on this trip. I’ve learned that as long as it’s edible and it fills me up, then it’s somewhat worth the money. This meal did exactly that.
After our dinner at the Sea Palace we all boarded our Contiki Optional: Amsterdam Canal Cruise. This was one of the best optionals yet. Everyone boarded the boat and we cruised the canals of Amsterdam for about an hour and a half. There was open bar, so everyone went pretty crazy and had quite a few drinks. Some of the group lit up a few joints as we cruised down the canals on our last night of the trip. There were cameras going off everywhere, drinks being spilt, dancing, yelling, screaming, and everyone was just having a great time. As we pulled back in to the docks everyone was disappointed that the cruise didn’t go all night, but the night was still young for most.
I headed back to the hotel with a few people as most others went into the city to celebrate the last night. I had a ton of packing to do and I am just absolutely drained from the last three weeks of this trip. When we got back to the hotel we headed to the hotel bar with a few people. I hung out, and had a beer before heading off to bed.
Overall my time in Amsterdam was great. It’s an amazing city that I’d love to come back to again soon. I don’t know if it’s a place that I could spend a week in, but I could definitely do with a weekend trip here and there. Amsterdam ROCKS!;