Home > Cities traveled > Day 117: Amsterdam

Day 117: Amsterdam

August 9th, 2011


As I walked around drunken and high tourists (mostly students) in the city center of Amsterdam at night, I found myself wondering how such a center of culture, science, and merchant trade could descend into one massive orgy of a city. It really is a beautiful city but I found it difficult to appreciate when surrounded by crowds of people looking for a party and with the “m-tish, m-tish” boom of dance music coming out of every other pub on the road. I found a lone accordionist heartfully playing “You Are My Sunshine” in the midst of the red light district and, for a few minutes, I could imagine a more romantic Amsterdam. But rain soon put an end to the music and I had to open my eyes and ears back onto the crowds and snippets of conversation like “look at the size of her ass” and “do you want to come in?” and “let’s get some space cakes”. I hoped it would be a different crowd during the day.

In the morning, I was greeted by piles of trash on the streets and more tourists, many of whom seemed to like shopping at expensive, high end stores. I walked into a museum and spent the rest of my morning looking at pictures of historical Amsterdam. If I could have taken more time to explore the Netherlands, I would have taken a local’s advice and stayed away from Amsterdam in a city like Utrecht, and only come in for a few hours to sightsee.

Incidentally, the accordion player was not a native – she was passing through Amsterdam for the night while on a camping trip across Europe. She made about 25 EUR for the few hours that she played that night. It’s nothing if you consider the hundreds of people that must have passed by her, willing to drink and smoke their money instead.

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  1. August 20th, 2011 at 19:58 | #1

    That’s too bad that Amsterdam seems to have been disappointing.

  2. from SD
    August 24th, 2011 at 07:23 | #2

    My friend told me that there are many bicycles in Amsterdam.
    But, I don’t see many bicycles in your pictures.
    Whenever I hear “Amsterdam” I remember “Anne Frank’s Diary” written by Annelies Marie Frank. I think she wanted peace and having a world without fear.
    Unfortunately, we, human beings, are still fighting each other.
    It’s sad….

    • August 24th, 2011 at 08:14 | #3

      I had considered going to the Anne Frank house/museum but someone at the hostel told me that they had found it quite depressing and I was already in a very deep, reflective mood that I decided I didn’t need to see Anne Frank’s home, where she wrote the diaries, in person.

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