14.02.2013 - 18.02.2013 0 °C
(I would like to thank to Iain Mallory, who supported me in writing travel blogs to document memories and share it with the public.)
Amsterdam has never been in my to go list till the time that a very close friend of mine just defined it as ‘It is beautiful city’. This was first thing that took my attention, as his comments are rare and must be taken into consideration. After reading many articles, asking questions about it to people, wondered if it is romance or lust in Amsterdam, a city of legalization and tolerance, both of two headings mixed most of the time, and picked up Valentine’s day to travel. Some sex travellers said that they couldn’t find what they have been looking for and some romantic couples said that they have had disappointments. Some loved it some didn’t.
Before going through the subject, there are some advice points, which can be missed over, if you are first time visitor to this city.
Amsterdam may not be a good option to Sole-Travel, but choosing to perfect mate to travel the city better, can be done wisely. If you feel like a traveller, and if you go with mate who feels like a tourist may not be a good idea.
The first thing you may do, could be going directly to the tourist information, in front of the Central Station. There you will find maps and city cards. There are 2 cards. One is ‘I amsterdam’ the other one is ‘City Pass’. If you would like to spend all your time in Amsterdam, ‘I amsterdam’ card would be enough. ‘City Pass’ is used also for travelling around different cities. When you get your map, even if you are good at city maps, a good advice would be to go to a bike tour, before getting your map and start riding yourself around the city. The city could be chaotic to find your way at first. Yellow Bike is fine. The closest to the info desk is the one on Nieuwexuds Kolk street #29. There are fine guides telling you directly about what you may do or you may not do. Those advices give a better idea to plan the whole trip. Also they give you a %20 discount card for your next trip or you may also give it to someone else as a present. There is no date dealine. Wok Your Way is a delicious noodle place. You can also buy as take away. To buy cheese you may visit Henri Willing located in the city center. If you really want to see the Anne Frank house, make a reservation a day before. Otherwise you may need to wait for hours on a very long queue
If you are a just a tourist, Leidseplein is a good choice to stay. All museums and tourist attractions including Van Gogh, Museum area, Heineken Experience, Hard Rock coffee, is close to that square. There is a big Bulldog coffee, which is said to be the most famous coffeshop in the city. You may buy soft drugs from another place, just come here and enjoy your time.
If you are a traveller, ‘Amsterdam at Home’ is a perfect place to feel like home. It is close to Red Light District. You may directly contact Christel, Rufus or Bas and they will help you in all ways. Even picking you up from the Central Station in the middle of the night just not to make you lost in chaotic Amsterdam nights. Thanks to them.AmsterdamatHome
To be honest, it is not a city to be visited just for 2 or 3 days. You may spend a whole week in here fullfilling your whole time with different attractions. Diamond Museum, in the Museum area, may not be a ‘must go’ place if you have lack of time. Heineken Experience is absolutely a ‘must do’ activity, to have fun, free beer while walking around to see how they make the beer with its history.
Herengracht canal is also another crowded path where you can bike through and stop by bridges to see Amsterdam houses. The reason why those buildings have different width, is because of city taxes by the canal. The narrow house pays the less where the wide house pays the more tax. Sometimes, the narrow houses you may see from the front may widen inside to the end, just to pay less tax in a big house. Don’t know if this is really true.
The logic in Netherlands, or Holland to most Americans, is simple. They say, they tolerate all freedom, rather than to prohibit it and lose control. Prostitution, same sex marriage, selling soft drugs is tolerated. According to the defition of a Dutch verb, gedogen, they are illegal but not illegal. Prostitution has been prevented from going underground, to have access to prostitutes, promote condoms, prevent mistreatment of woman to be forced to work as prostitutes. This tolerance of many years, made the leveling effects of 60’s, more radical in Netherlands. Amsterdam became the ‘Hippie Destination’ of Europe. Even during your trip to Amsterdam, if you have a connection flight, at the stop point, the people who are going to Amsterdam are directly seperated from others with its colors.
Around those days, 60’s, John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono, took up the media role in this city. In 1969, they spent their honeymoon at Hilton in Amsterdam, during the Vietnam War, spent 2 weeks in bed, without any privacy to the public, even a documentary has been made on this event, to support world peace. Bed In has been called ‘Bed Peace’.
The Bag One Suite lithographs, which were a honeymoon gift from John Lennon to Yoko Ono, all prepared by John Lennon himself during their two week honeymoon. The drawings were and still are exhibited in different museums and art galleries during time, but you can see some in Erotic Museum in Red Light District, Amsterdam. In this museum, you may also see sculptures of erotism from ancient times to East Culture paintings.
The definition of ‘Red Light District’ comes from 1890’s. In 1890’s, prostitutes were using red shades on candles and lamps to promote their work. That continued till present day. All area is full of red light windows, where prostitutes stand and particularly clothed. There is even a radio station called ‘Red Light District Radio’, broadcasting from a prostitution window in the area. The radio is also available on TuneIn Radio.
Same sex relations are tolerated, but in here you may question how tolerated they are. When you go to a sex theatre, you see same sex relationship, but when you walk through those windows, promotion is only to the opposite sex. If you would like to experience a live sex theater, ‘Casa Rosso’ is a place to drop by. It is said that most couples sharing their art, are married or in a relationship or just ‘labeled’ so, but it is obvious that most couple visitors are attending there only for short while and leave afterwards. Couple or no couple, if you like to experience this event, you may stay till the end. Entrance to Casa Rosso is 40 euros without drink, 50 euros with drink.
Another activity that you may do in the area, is to go to the Banana Bar. It is a narrow bar, with a neon banana over the door with a lady next to. It is the most famous sex club in Red Light District. The entrance is optional also. It costs 50 euros without a drink and 60 euros with a drink. It has two floors. On the second floor you will have the chance to see pole dance, lap dance or tap dance from ladies. You may order which lady you like as if you are ordering your drink. On the first floor, there are ladies as waitress, maybe with a few tricks such as sleeves, serve drinks, and showing talents called ‘banana tricks’. The cost is extra if you would like to be served on a particular trick.
The window ladies are standing like ladies. The couples walking around are disappearing around all of a sudden. It is chaotic in general. When you just stand there and watch around, go in sex theaters, sex clubs, erotic museums, prevents you labeling some acts. You may see a window lady looking to a loving couple outside with admiring eyes, or you may see some guys just making serenade in the middle of the Red Light for a window lady who has rejected them. When you look at couples you may question love, when you look at the area you may question the lust. Love is universal, an emotion of affection. When it comes to loving opposite sex, things get complicated most of the time. It is obvious that your opposite sex love gets complicated with romance only or lust only. On one hand, the complication occurs when the lady creating problem herself, where she has to communicate rather than just reflecting acts to the man. On the other hand a woman should be able to say ‘love you’ comfortably to the man as usual as she says to any other person, and the man shouldn’t get this as complication. In both scenario it is lack of communication, the man stands back distant in his own area, which is a normal act whereas the ladies are more sensible. When it comes to lust, it is an emotion of intense desire. Love can not be honest sometimes, but lust can be. In Amsterdam, there was no Valentine’s day activity, red roses, red hearts hanging around. Even on the streets, it is rare to see a couple walking with romance. What we have experienced is not ‘being in love’ totally. All we smelled in the city air was spontaneous acts, joy, the smell of lust in red light area but with respect to the community.
Amsterdam does not seem to be a love city alone, or lust city alone. One should not expect too much in here, but just getting the smell and enjoying without labeling the acts around, like has to be better done in daily life, like labeling as couples, relationship, lover, should be enough to enjoy. Legal or tolerance, passion or patience, love or lust whatever it is, Amsterdam isn't a sexy city but has the power to change your way of looking at 'daily labels'. You may think differently after tasting the air in the city. You may analyse your trues and falses once again. It may teach you to share.
While you are travelling to this city, pick up your perfect mate to travel with, rent a bike, put your music on to 60’s and 70’s maybe, experience it and have fun.It may be your once in a lifetime experience.
Red Light Radio Station