Drugs, Sex and Rock and Roll.Take a virtual tour of Amsterdam.The cheapest fare for the six to seven-hour flight is usually a no-frills ticket on KLM airline.
For you stoners,
High Times will be sponsering their annual Cannibis cup in November, This year from the 19-23.Hotels:
The Agora on 432 Singel for $60-100 per night or
one of the numerous canal houses transformed into hotels.
Hostels such as the
Hans Brinker located on 138 Kerkstraat are cheap but expect dorm style rooms and shared bathrooms. Hans Brinker has a very interesting ad campaign touting "a free door in every room!" and "Now with Beds in every room!"Drugs: Pot and hash are sold by the gram and as pre-rolled joints in coffee shops, spotted by the white sticker with the green marijuana leaf proudly displayed in their windows. A few coffee shops sell snacks, but most just have flavored teas, coffee and soft drinks, so prepare to go looking for food.
Your main choices are cafes, pubs, traditional restaurants or fast-food joints. Cafes generally have coffee and sandwiches such as grilled cheese without a crust called a toasti. Bars or pubs serve food such as sausages, chicken satay and burgers. Indonesian and Thai food abound especially in Jakarta on the Rembrandtplein.
A new restaurant has opened in a former Protestant church. Restaurant De Engel (the angel) Its Belgian owners, who are also antiques dealers, have decorated the space appropriately with angels. One corner is a comfortable reading spot, with newspapers and magazines and photographs of the neighborhood, De Pijb, on the south side. The menu includes soup of smoked chicken, home-cured salmon and goat cheese with fresh vegetables. Its at Albert Cuypstraat 182, (31-20) 675-0544, and in the middle of a daily streetmarket, which provides much of the fare. It is open daily, well past midnight. The set three-course dinner costs $26, but á la carte choices are available.
De Jaren -Nieuwe Dolenstraat 20–22. Grand café but without pretentiousness. Three floors, two terraces and reasonably priced food.
Lokaai 't Loosje -Nieuwmarkt 32. Quiet, old-style "brown café" that's been in business for 200 years – and looks it. Does a great late breakfast.
· Lucky Mothers – "Coffeeshop" (dope-smokers' hangout)
Keizersgracht 665. One of Amsterdam's best general "coffeeshops", in an old canal house near Rembrandtplein.
· Melkweg – Live music; disco
Lijnbaansgracht 234a (tel 020/624 1777). venue hosting a broad range of bands in two halls, plus offbeat disco sessions late on Fri & Sat. (Admission f10–50, plus f4.50 membership on the door. Prices in Guilder.)
Prostitution is legal here, and the Red Light District attracts many tourists so if you want to do more than look, waiting until late night makes for a more private experience if thats what you came for. The Red Light District also has strip clubs, live sex shows, porn theaters and an assortment of sex shops.
The Rijksmuseum (Dutch master painters)
The Stedelijk (modern art)
Vincent Van Gogh museum
all of which are located in the southwestern corner of
the city on the Museumplein.
You can walk around the Waterlooplein, a cheap open-air market in the east of the city or hang around Dam Square or
the Leidseplein for those touristy famiarities like street performers
The best source of information is the Amsterdam Uitburo (AUB), in the Stadsschouwburg (tel 020/621 1211), where you can pick up the free bimonthly Pop & Jazz Uitlijst. For film and music listings, look out for the Week Agenda.
There is a public sauna called the Deco. For about $12 you get to use the steam room, Finnish sauna and plunge pool and be naked among nonchalant strangers of both sexes.
The raspberry truffles at Puccini Bomboni cost about 50 cents each, and they are truly awesome.
Amsterdam is one of Europe's premier club towns, and the Dutch are very serious about house music. Late-night action is centered in the Rembrandtplein and Leidseplein districts, both within walking distance of the city center. With Amsterdam's popular informal "after parties," Saturday night can last well into Sunday morning.
The newly cool neighborhood Jordaan is just outside the canal belt. Like all "hip" districts it has clothing boutiques, art galleries and cafes.
Melkweg means Milky Way, its a former dairy factory that is now a nonprofit arts venue. Saturday night brings huge dance crowds for dueling D.J.'s in the two ground-floor loft spaces. "Pop Arena," features tunes from the 80's and 90's, opens at midnight, while Dance Arena spotlights jungle/house/trance trends, starts after 1.
The door policy and dress code are relaxed as to be nearly
nonexistent. Basic black stretch jeans are the favored uniform, but the well dressed may be dancing next to people in football shirts and baseball caps. The mostly local 20-to-35-year-old crowd, usually drinks draft beer. There is a snack bar and a tranquil tea room, where new acquaintances exchange phone numbers. During the week themes vary from Jamaican Crossover to alternate Amsterdam punk, although headline acts, like the Wailers, require advance ticketing.
For absinthe drinkers, the wormwood-flavored alcohol suspected of inducing hallucinations and madness, which was banned in the United States and France by World War I, can be found at the Absinthe Night Bar, one of Old Center's many night spots just south of the Dam. The D.J. spins a soothing mix of soft groove and lounge sound, the wary quench their thirst with mineral water or a glass of white wine. But the bartender can also pour a measure of the "green fairy" for about $3, albeit a slightly less
potent version of what Verlaine drank.
The Bourbon Street Jazz and Blues Club attracts a casual, jean-clad crowd of all ages for nightly concerts. Weeknights often feature cover bands with a pop flavor, but on Friday and Saturday, when the doors open from 10 P.M. to 5 A.M., S.R.O. crowds sway to blues rhythms. Three glass chandeliers hanging over the bar provide an dash of glamour to an otherwise low-key and comfortably scruffy décor.
Melkweg, 234A Lijnbaansgracht, (31-20) 531-8181. Open daily, but
will occasionally close a night or two in a slow week. Admission
for Saturday dancing is $6.25, for special acts up to $20.
Absinthe Night Bar, 171 Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal; (31-20)
777-4870. Free entry. Bourbon Street Jazz and Blues Club, 6-8
Leidsekruisstraat; (31-20) 623-3440. Admission, $2.10.
Hotel de Filosoof, at Anna Vondelstraat 6, tel- (31-20) 683- 3013, with cozy rooms and downstairs reading room that converts to a breakfast room. Room, with single bed, phone and TV as well as a private bath, cost $83 a night, including cold buffet breakfast. Near the Vondelpark, about a 10-minute walk from the canal belts and center city.
Hotel Prinsenhof at Prinsengracht 810, (31-20) 623-1772. A converted canal house in the southern quarter of the city, it is close to the many shops and restaurants along Utrechtsestraat. For $45 a night it includes a breakfast (egg, cheese, bread, coffee), an rooms can be twice as big as the one at the Filosoof (all the rooms are different), but with more of a budget feel -musty rooms and dim lighting. In room sink but shared shower and toilet .FOOD
There are lots of Indonesian, Surinamese and Javanese places for very cheap meals.
De Reiger cafe, Niewe Leliestraat 34, (31-20) 624-7426, a dark place with an old hardwood bar, an excellent hot chocolate and a toasted Gouda sandwich was $4.
Puccini Bomboni chocolate shop, Staalstraat 17, (31- 20) 626-5474, a truffle cost about 50 cents.
SAUNA AND MASSAGE
Sauna Deco, Herengracht 115, (31- 20) 627-1773, charges $12 admission; massages are available by appointment. It is coed and perhaps more easygoing about nudity than many Americans might be comfortable with. (As a single woman, I felt O.K., and was not bothered.)
A fast train from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam's Centraal Station costs about $2.30, and takes 15 minutes. Trains leave about every quarter-hour.