house boats

Not what you’re thinking. Yes, Amsterdam offers many tourist-frequented festivities outlawed in Canada and most parts of the world, but I didn’t partake this time around. Family trip, give me a break.

A total of five days travelling through the Netherlands allowed me only two days in Amsterdam, which left little time for anything other than daytime strolling, frequent café breaks, and a couple bar hops.

Actually, my favorite thing to do in a foreign city (other than eat, and explore the nightlife) is cruise about it’s streets in the daytime and take in the local feel.  Plus it appears I am now big time into Americano coffees, so it works out.

“Take me with you”

Amsterdam houses

The traditional housing blows me away in Amsterdam. I love the tall, narrow structures all unique in style and form, with a layer of windows at every level and each façade a different colour than the next. In Toronto, “urban” housing means shoeboxes within shiny 20-story condos while north of the city you will find identical blocks of developer-built cookie cutter homes. If I’m going to pay upwards of half a mil, give me a historic masterpiece in cobalt blue.


The Red Light District is full of many treats for the weary traveller like live sex shows, “window shopping” and plenty of coffeeless cafes. I visited this part of Amsterdam during the day and noticed the occasional bored looking prostitute, but I can imagine the scenery becomes a little more lively come dark. I’m no expert on window shopping for women but I’m pretty sure clipping your toenails isn’t on the job description.

The hyped up stories of debauchery, hookers and pot are a very, very small part of Amsterdam and really only those held up by tourists. The city itself is the jewel, so you should make a point of taking it all in. On my next trip I will be renting a bicycle to get myself completely lost in this maze of streets.

The point where all tunnels align

The above was taken while on a canal tour courtesy of the Dylan Hotel.

Amsterdam canal

Thank-you Amsterdam.