the first planned thing I did in Amsterdam was a canal cruise. I really wanted to have a good overview of the traditional part of the city and my parents took one when they visited with me in the womb so I thought it was a great way to start my weekend.
I was right. the canals are absolutely gorgeous. you can’t walk more than a couple of blocks in Amsterdam without crossing one of the canals through the city. I found myself slowing down and nearly causing traffic jams on the first four bridges or so. they are just so beautiful.
the canal ride was in a boat with a glass top that sat very low in the water so you could see everything above and around you. my favorite thing learned on the tour: approximately 2000 people live in houseboats in the canals. all you have to do is pay a special rent. I have decided that M and I should try this lifestyle out for about a year.
I walked through a giant flower market called the Bloemenmarkt. they have this every day of the week! it was so colorful and really neat. you can buy all kinds of flowers and bulbs there. I thought my mom and my grandma would have loved it.
Amsterdam has a wealth of really diverse eating establishments. in addition to the stroopwafels and french fries and mayonaise (no, thank you), it is actually very well known for having a lot of different options for food. I ate at a Thai restaurant for dinner on Friday and then headed over to walk through the area with a lot of coffeeshops.
coffeeshops in Amsterdam are not what you think. I think you can actually get coffee and capuccinos at them but real live places to buy coffee are referred to as cafes. if you are looking for a café and you go into a coffeeshop you will be surprised. the smell will be your first indication.
coffeeshops are like bars for weed. I went into one to check things out. there is a bar and a menu with all kinds of different types and prices. the menu was totally confusing. if I had been there to order something I would have looked like an idiot. plus I think it would be hard to expel the concept of legality. I mean just being in there felt just a little bit illegal. like, who is watching me walk in here?
a note on legality. it is not actually legal to smoke in Amsterdam. it is “tolerated”. I have yet to completely understand this.