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What am I gonna do?

OK, even though I'm feeling crappy at the moment I am determinedly looking ahead. So - what's good in Amsterdam that me and ciphergoth should go to? Coffee houses, museums, clubs, whatever... So far my only decision is to go on a canal boat, and not to be so stoned that we pass out all weekend.



( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
12th Sep, 2002 02:52 (UTC)
Rijjksmuseum, Carlsberg Brewery tour and the waffles are all good. And you can see windmills not far out of town.
Wouldn't recommend the hire bikes, though. For a start there are lots of cobbles in the city and not much suspension on the bikes, for another thing they seem to have brakes that work by peddling backwards, which take some getting used to.
The Sleep-In was great when I was an impoverished student, both as a social centre and as a cheap place to stay, but I guess you guys could afford a real hotel.
12th Sep, 2002 03:13 (UTC)
The Heineken (Carlsberg's in Copenhagen) tour's gone downhill recently (video presentation and a glass of beer, and no free delft china beermug for birthday boys or girls): for a real brewery tour, try the t'IJ brewery on Funenkade (it's more like a real brewery and less like a factory, plus you get some nice beer out of it). Oh, and the t'IJ brewery has a windmill on site. The other problem with hie bikes is they're a real target for bike thieves - you really need a stronger lock than the one they're rented with.
12th Sep, 2002 02:56 (UTC)
By the way, do you play "Amsterdam Sweepstake"?

It involves guessing the amount of time between setting foot in Amsterdam and being offered hard drugs by random strangers in the street.
My shortest ever time was two minutes forty seconds (on the plaza of the station, no less), and the longest was thirty-two hours...
12th Sep, 2002 02:59 (UTC)
Prostitutes :)
12th Sep, 2002 04:08 (UTC)
I admire your direct approach!
12th Sep, 2002 05:52 (UTC)
Re: :-)
I am well known for it :)
12th Sep, 2002 02:59 (UTC)
When do you leave? I've a spare copy of Joe Pauker's "Get Lost!" guide to Amsterdam, and if either of you are at K Jackson's tonight, I can pass it on.

Other useful info: pick up a copy of the Boom Chicago newsletter - it has a lot of info that stays the same from issue to issue, and the odd topical bit. There's a "Serious Drinker's Guide to Amsterdam" that used to cost a few quid, but that at least one cafe (Wynand Focking, down Pijlsteeg from the Dam square) had for free on my last trip.

The traditional canal boat tour isn't that brilliant: the view's restricted by the wooden window frames, and the multilingual taped commentary didn't synchronise with what was actually visible at the time (the Germans got the description just before, and the English speakers just after each item). Plus they'll try and sell you a picture of yourself getting on the boat. The cheaper alternative is to take the free ferry from the railway station across to North Amsterdam, which is almost rural (there's a good pub there called 'Ot & Sien'). There's a less formal boat tour that gets mentioned in the Boom Chicago guide, but it's more or less phone to arrange when and where you want to go.

"In de Wildemann", the cafe that autopope's story "Lobsters" begins in is on Kolksteeg, and is worth a visit.

Coffee houses: The Greenhouse (three branches) keeps winning awards for high quality grass, and at least one of them (on oudezijdes voorburgwal) also has a bar. The Rokerij (again a small chain) has a really nice atmosphere, especially the one on Lange Leidsedwarssstraat. Couple of nice ones on Reguliersdwarsstraat, too, while we're on unspellable streets.

Ones to avoid: the bulldog chain isn't bad, it's just somewhat touristy, as are most of those on main streets. There's some nice places on Warmoestraat, but it's pretty hellish on weekend evenings when the stag parties arrive en masse.

Food: avoid the automats, have falafels, and realise that if you're going for a rijstaafel they're truly enormous and usually sold as a two person meal. That said, if you're really hungry and like that sort of thing they're really good. The Beiaard cafe on Spui does good snacky lunches (soup, rolls etc)... Oh, and don't believe it if a bar or restaurant tells you the tap water's not drinkable. If it wasn't, that'd be a case for the public health people.

Clubs -- Mazzo on Rozengracht is okay, and Vrankrijk (the squat bar on Spuistraat, which is worth visiting anyway) has a club in back on Saturday nights. Clubwear House and Housewives on Fire are clothes shops with masses of club flyers.

Damn, I'm wibbling (and somewhat envious). Have a good time!
12th Sep, 2002 06:08 (UTC)
I'll certainly pop into K Jacksons for a bit tonight, so it would be great if we could borrow the Get Lost guide.
12th Sep, 2002 06:41 (UTC)
Cool. I reckon I'll be there between half nine and ten. I've some other Amsterdam bumf floating arounf, so I'll see if I can dig out anything else relevant.
12th Sep, 2002 03:17 (UTC)
They are rather museum happy, there's one for everything. I didn't get to the Love Museum last time I was there, but the Torture Museum was quite the eye-opener. Some of the exhibits literally so.

Have fun! M xx
12th Sep, 2002 05:28 (UTC)
Does anyone remember Fraser who used to go to LBG (he and I were shagging for a while)?

He lives in Amsterdam. If you or Paul know/like him you could go say hello if you wanted. I'll get round to visiting him myself one of these days.
12th Sep, 2002 07:50 (UTC)
The Van Gogh museum, if you haven't seen it. More masterpieces than you can count, from a poor start. There's usually a good exhibition from elsewhere too.

I liked the fiets - the ones you hire from the station would, it is true, be a complete disaster in Edinburgh, but Amsterdam is flat! And these bikes are less likely to be nicked than something good. Getting used to the 'pedal backwards' brakes takes about two seconds, and after a while you can stop saying "They drive on the right, they drive on the right, they..." to yourself.

It's worth it just to experience how life should be as a cyclist - the cars will give way to you. Oh, and look at the size of the cycle park to the left of the main station as a result...

The best cheap food I found was in a lgb bar in the red-light area, but I can't find my notes to say which street!

There's a good jewelry shop which - again - I can't find the address of. Find the church in the middle of the red light area, say hello to the prostitution info centre, then go along the canal away from the station. You'll pass the English Bookshop (= American owned, books in English) on the right and the canal will soon bear right and come to an end. It's on the street from there to the main square. Four women own it, doing their own good but inexpensive stuff.

The Boom Chicago guide is better than either their show (about one 'hit' per three 'misses') or their food.

It's worth checking if you're there at the same time as one of the bi group parties, otherwise you could always try and sneak in some of the men-only sex places, from the Thermos day/night saunas to the SM clubs :)
12th Sep, 2002 17:33 (UTC)
I actually quite like the Sex Museum. Nothing terribly interesting in the sense of seeing anything new, but a fair few ancient sex toys from various times and parts of the world, which I found interesting in the sense that it proved that people have always enjoyed sex - even in very restrictive cultures.

There is a Ben & Jerry's shop in Amsterdam Centraal station. They sell little pancake-type things which I have forgotten the name of. Anyway, they're good. Maoz Falafel is also good - they have 6 branches in Amsterdam (as well as one on Old Compton Street).
13th Sep, 2002 07:32 (UTC)
It's probably too late, but you might be interested in seeing Anne Frank's house. We went to free concerts in the park, Vondel Park? Think it was that. And Droste chocolate is my favourite.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )