What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
I never know how to answer that because although I like to think of myself as a pretty spontaneous soul, nothing I’ve done stands out as being overly crazy. But if I had to pick something, my craziest thing would involve Amsterdam. And not in the way I bet you think. 😉
Once I was bit by the travel bug I kinda couldn’t stop booking trips. Especially last-minute cheap trips, those were my favorite.
One day at work last September I was having one of those really bad day where everything seems to go wrong, and in a fit a rage I decided I wanted to do something nice for myself to cheer up, so naturally I started browsing flights.
I decided to book a solo trip for my birthday which was about a month away so that I’d have something exciting to look forward to (seriously there’s no better feeling than having an upcoming trip!) and I concluded there was no better place to spend my birthday than in my favorite city, Paris.
I’m the kind of person who talks through my life out loud, constantly, so my coworkers tend to get a pretty intimate font row seat to my thoughts, struggles, triumphs, and musings… lucky them!
Well, I was sitting at my desk talking about how I was about to book my birthday flight to Paris when one of my coworkers interjected. “You can’t go to Paris! You’ve already been to Paris! You have to go somewhere new!”
To which I said, “Fine, you have a point. But I don’t know where else to go. I’m heading into a meeting right now. My budget is $500 and I want to go October 27-30. You find me a flight in that date range for that amount of money, I don’t care where, and I will go. If you can’t find anything I’m booking Paris when I get back to my desk. You have until I get out of this meeting.”
My logic was he couldn’t pick a bad place because any destination that is a new country I haven’t been to is a place I want to be – especially if it’s within my budget! I honestly didn’t expect him to find anything. Or to even bother looking because what kind of person trusts another person with picking their destination for an international trip? I fully expected him to say “Amanda, I didn’t spend the last half hour researching flights for you, I was working on actual work.”
So I got out of my meeting, returned to my desk, and said “so, where am I going?” And to my surprise, co-worker Tom said “Amsterdam. It’s $400, on the dates you wanted to go.”
I hadn’t thought of Amsterdam! Done and done. I booked it immediately. Thank you, Tom!
For a place that wasn’t even on my radar, Amsterdam ended up being my second favorite city so far!
When most people think of Amsterdam, they think of the Red Light District and smoking weed. At least that’s what I used to think of when I thought of Amsterdam. And since I don’t smoke weed and am not a big partier I didn’t think there would be much for me there. But Amsterdam surprised me in the best way!
Why does no one talk about how beautiful Amsterdam is? I was completely overwhelmed by how beautiful the city was. The canals, the cobblestone roads, the flowers and greenery surrounding everything, and the unbelievably stunning architecture – Amsterdam is incredibly picturesque. I
rented a bike one day and I couldn’t make it more than a block without stopping to get off my bike to take a picture, it’s like every street I turned down had another beautiful bridge more charming than the last!
What did I eat?
My diet while in The Netherlands consisted of mainly two things: wine and french fries. I’d love to tell you that I’m a super fancy foodie who dines at the hippest spots while traveling but honestly, 9 times out of 10 my diet looks like this.
I discovered an amazing pasta place called Hasta la Pasta, which is one of the highest rated restaurants in the city on TripAdvisor, and is where I went for dinner both nights. It’s a tiny little hole in the wall shop with a build-your-own style pasta menu. If you’re ever in Amsterdam I highly recommend checking this place out!
What did I see?
The one thing I was most excited for was the one thing I didn’t get to see: The Anne Frank Museum.
I didn’t realize you have to buy your tickets wayyyy in advanced or else you have to wait in a giant line that wraps around three blocks. I showed up at 8:45 on my first day ready to beat the crowd and start the day at the Anne Frank Museum – I even read the diary of Anne Frank before my trip to be prepared, so you can imagine how crushed I was when the man at the door told me the museum is only open to online ticket holders from 9am-1pm.
I tried to buy an online ticket right then and there but to my horror they were booked out for weeks. He said I could come back in the afternoon to try to walk in, which I begrudgingly did, only to stand in the obscene line for 45 minutes before giving up. *sigh*.
But I did get to see the I Amsterdam sign (underwhelming), the dozens of beautiful canals, the dutch flower market, and the notorious Red Light District.
The Red Light District
You can’t go to Amsterdam and not check out the Red Light District. The Red Light district is about as scandalous as it gets, and it’s literally everything you’ve heard it is.
There are dozens of doors with glass windows, back-lit by a dark red light, with a hot girl in lingerie looking out at the street. My group (a bunch of London men I became friends with) and I went up to one of the doors to see how it works (for research purposes) and the girl opened the door and gave us the prices for various time periods and sexual acts. It was wild.
I also attended a poor man’s peep show – but don’t worry, there are rich man peep shows ‘a plenty, too. The one I went to was inside a giant enclosed carousel with doors around it. Each door leads to a little room meant for one person (but I obviously snuck in with out one of the London guys because watching a sex show alone is creepy, but watching it with your new London friend makes it silly and totally socially acceptable).
Inside the room there’s a slot for a 2 euro coin and when you put the coin in, a window appears – or becomes transparent – and then you have a 2 minute timed view of the sex show.
In the center of the carousel there’s a big spinning stage of sorts, with two people doing the dirty. Real live sex, right there in front of you. It’s extremely surreal, slightly unsettling, and truthfully a bit mundane. You can see all the other people looking through their windows across the circular room, which was fun for us since all the other London boys were in the rooms at the same time as us, but could be very extremely creepy if they’re occupied by regular people in there for X rated purposes.
Our leading man and woman couldn’t have looked more bored, it was all very robotic and timed. It looked more like an exercise routine that repeats itself. I guess that’s what you get for 2 euro!
So that was the one ~wild~ thing I did in Amsterdam. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?