Amsterdam Hotels Articles

March 21, 2010

Travel experiences: Exploring our need for out of the ordinary places

There are two things desparately conspiring to take hold of my life. One is, like all others writing on this channel, to travel anywhere, anytime, and almost anyplace. Two is debt from these travels. I don’t regret these debts at all, they just make it a bit harder to take the next trip. At least when I lean back and think of Amsterdam, I have a fairly good story to go along with that trip’s rather large debt.

I was studying and teaching in Germany one spring and wanted to visit another country before I left Europe to fly back home. I thought why not Amsterdam, I had to stop there and change planes anyway. I called to change my ticket and could only arrange to spend a day in Amsterdam. Not nearly enough time, but I thought I’d take what I could get.

I was a bit naive about Amsterdam. I had heard of ‘hash bars’, but I didn’t realize they were also known as ‘Coffee Shops’. So as I was leaving Germany a student asked if I was going to go to a coffee shop while in Amsterdam, and I am a coffee addict, so of course the answer is, “Why, yes, Timo, I believe I will be going to a coffee shop while in Amsterdam.” I didn’t understand the looks my students gave me at the time. You live, you learn. I will never misread looks like that again; the “Sweet, our teacher’s a pot head” look.

So I packed up my things bought chocolate for my family for Easter to bring back home with all of my coins that I had acquired from being in Europe, boy do they like their coins. I had no more paper money at all and just enough change to buy a couple of meals and a bus ride to the airport. Thanks to my handy dandy credit card (which is now begging me to pay it back or I will have to deal with the collections agancy), I was able to take out a cash advance to have a bit of money in Holland as well.

I got on the plane and flew the 45 min or so from Berlin. Got off the plane and decided to then look for accomodation. Didn’t realize that Amsterdam was so popular over Easter. I though people would travel some place warmer. I thought, “Well you do have your sleeping bag with you, so if worse comes to worse, there’s always the park bench.”

I had a great dinner in a brewery when I got into the city. The first meal I had had in about a week that wasn’t from a Turkish fast-food place. I decided to walk around a bit and view the canals. I found some great cafe’s, had some coffee. I also saw all of these ‘coffee shops’ littering the streets. I thought that the

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