A Night in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Tyler and I went to Amsterdam on a Wednesday for one night. Coincidentally, two business associates of mine, Dallas and Rob, were actually in Amsterdam at the same time, meeting with the Dutch company that we sell coffee for in the US. The company is called Smit and Dorlas, and they are headquartered in Amsterdam. Our site is the exclusive seller of this coffee in the USA. It’s some great coffee, so buy some if you’re a coffee aficianado!

We arrived in Amsterdam via a train from Paris. It was a 4 hour train ride, which was sort of annoying because it ate up much of our day, but it was nice because the train took us right into Amsterdam’s central train station, so we were about 2 blocks from our hotel when we arrived. I booked the hotel online (much like I did for Paris), so I had no idea what to expect. Booking hotels in Europe is a complete crapshoot. You can pay over $100 Euro a night for a shoe box of a hotel (aka our France hotel), or you can pay the same or less for a gigantic room right in the center of the city (which happened to us in Amsterdam).

Our hotel room - 5 beds for 2 people!Our Amsterdam hotel room ended up being a 5 bedroom palace, which at first was cause for alarm. Since there were only two of us, we thought they may try to stick us in a room with other travelers, and that was not cool with us! So we went down to the lobby and asked why we had such a huge room and if we were expected to share. They assured us that the room was private, and we wouldn’t have any other roommates, BUT if we did bring people up to the room with us, they would have to pay individually. Ty and I were both happy that we weren’t sharing a room with some randoms, but we were also disappointed that this new pay per person wrinkle was going to make the hookers cost twice as much. Just kidding!

Red Light District by DayRather than spend a lot of time in our hotel room palace, we put our bags away and started to hit the town. Amsterdam is a cool city, but it’s also a lot smaller than I had imagined. There also wasn’t as much do to as I would have imagined either. Luckily, we had plans for later in the night, and Dallas was familiar enough with the area to serve as a guide. After walking around the city for an hour or so, we were already getting bored. We bought a map and tried to find the famous red light district, but the area on the map that said “Red Light District” seemed to just be a regular neighborhood.

After trying unsuccessfully to get an Internet connection (and paying 20 Euro in the process), I realized that I had no way to contact Dallas and Rob! I had planned on emailing them when we got in to see where they were staying, but with no Internet connection, I was out of luck. I even walked to the hotel where he had mentioned he had reservations, but he wasn’t there. I left him a note, but never heard back from him.

Just when I thought all hope was lost, I remembered that Rob had a cell phone that worked internationally. I called him to ensure our dinner plans, and things started to look up. We ended up meeting up with them at Rob’s hotel and having a few drinks (and learning all about Dutch coffee from our hotel host), and decided to go to an Argentinian place for dinner.

Dinner with Dallas and Rob, my coffee partnersMore drinks were ordered at the Argentinian restaurant, and I had some great conversations with Rob and Dallas (it was my first time meeting Rob in person, and second with Dallas, even though I talk to them on the phone all the time). Ty even had a good time talking with everyone, even though he wasn’t involved with the business. We had a great meal (I had the Filet Mignon with a gorgonzola cheese sauce), fine Scotch, and great conversation.

Red Light District by NightWhen it was time to go, we all decided to hit up the Red Light District to see what it was all about. What a difference a few hours makes! The very same area that had been quiet and quaint streets suddenly were alive with neon lights, tons of people, and all kinds of paraphernalia (both in the drug and women variety). It was hilarious! There couldn’t be a better place to “people watch” than in the Amsterdam Red Light District (although the roads are so bad that if you watch too intently and don’t watch your step, you’ll probably turn your ankle.. which actually happened to me). People from all walks of life indulging in every vice imaginable and not having a care in the world. We were entertained for hours!

After a while, Rob, his wife and Dallas left us to go to bed. Ty and I were still having fun checking out the ladies behind the red lights (most of them were soooo nasty!). There were also about 100 different guys asking us if we wanted to buy coke. It was funny how they nonchalantly said “hey man coke?” in an almost whispering voice. Others would approach and say “coke, extasy, coke?” I gracefully declined their offer, but it did make me feel special that they were so interested in me having a good time. Those coke guys were really accommodating!

It took a few more hours of patrolling the streets of the Red Light District to finally get bored of it, so we decided to pack it in and head to our 5 bed palace. I’m really glad that Dallas showed us around the area, because we would have missed out otherwise. It is the peak of free entertainment, and I suggest that everyone go there at least once (believe it or not, it’s quite female friendly… and fun for all ages). On the way out of the district, we noticed a Christian Youth Hostel on the same block as a “red light”. Only in Amsterdam!

The next day we tried to pack in a few sights before we headed back to Brussels. Ty really wanted to see the Anne Frank house, and we’re both glad that we went. It was really cool to be in the place where her story occurred, and to learn a lot more of the back story. Other than that, we didn’t have the methods of transportation or desire to do much more, so we walked around town for a while and then boarded our train back to Brussels.

Amsterdam is a cool town, but I’m glad we were only there for a day. In fact, we were almost there too long (or perhaps we just didn’t know where to go). If you ever make it to Amsterdam, don’t plan an extended stay unless you have a guide to show you around. Also, it’s a fairly expensive city, so be prepared to fork over some dough for your beer and meals.

Have any of you ever visited Amsterdam and formed a different opinion? I’m curious to see what you all think about the town. Was I just going to the wrong places, or is that really all there is to do in Amsterdam?

Ship in the distanceLots of cool views and canals in Amsterdam!Phallic StatueBuildings are cool when lit upChristian Hostel in the Red Light districtLeaning Building... intentional?For your Cannabis needsThis is how they deliver HeinekenSex was invented hereOur old buddy Mannekin PisBest Living Statue of the Europe ExperienceThis building looked cool, even though it's not historically significant, it's picture worthyThis one is really cool too!Anne Frank and Homeless manMe and Anne FrankMe in a nutshell.  Nerd book, Red Wine and Paprika PringlesHow I Roll

About Jeff Sauer

I started blogging in the year 2000, and go in spurts of inspiration followed by long dormancy. I love writing, and your comments keep me going, so comment!

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  1. No wacky tabacky? I think I’d be scared to go to the red lights district. Cool pics!