BACK STAGE AT PEPPERMINT IGUANA HQ: Gigs, Festivals, Parties, CDs, Books, Protests, travels, photography and Cardiff City FC

Friday, April 07, 2006

GETTING LOST: Wandering off the beaten track in Amsterdam

After a few thoughtful hours in the Anne Frank museum, we took a walk down the canal to Liedesplien. I suppose this would be as good a point as any to give some general thoughts on Amsterdam.

Amsterdam has something for everyone, it is a sort of cross between Venice (romantic canally type place), Milan (centre for fashion, in particular diamonds), Greenwich (some nice little craft and flea markets), Glastonbury Festival (loads of music and drugs) and which ever red light district you want to compare it with (although I am not aware of any red light district as liberal AND as civilsed as Amsterdam's) .

You can taste a bit of everything wherever you are, but there are certain centres for everything; the sex industry is focused around the red light district, the shopping is focused around the Dam Square area, and so on. If it is live music and clubbing you want, it is Liedesplien you need to head for. This is where you will find the internationally renowned Paradiso Club (where we would have seen Therapy? If we had not been so coffee’d up) and the Milkweg. Both are cracking venues; I saw New Model Army in the Paradiso in 1989 for my stag party and saw Ozric Tentacles in the Milkweg in a different year that I cannot remember, but it was a long time ago. On this trip we did not get around to going into either club but we did have a quick look around the area in day light, which was a first for me.

The area is wall-to-wall restaurants, nightclubs and coffee shops. Dominating the main square is a huge Bulldog Coffeshop. Bulldog have been around since 1975, starting out with one coffee shop but now is a huge chain with shops all over Amsterdam, like a ganja smokers Whetherspoons. We called into a cool little coffee shop called Rookies which had quite a nice vibe, before wandering back towards the hotel but deliberately not taking the route we knew so we would hopefully come across something we had not seen before.

Amsterdam, as the rest of Holland, is flat. Therefore, the city is swamped with bicycles, which somehow manage to mingle with the trams and pedestrians without anyone getting splattered, not that we saw anyway. The network of canals also means you can get to just about anywhere by boat bus. I like walking though, it means you get to see lots of things you would miss using any other form of transport, and you can take the time to stop and have a butchers at anything that catches your eye.

This afternoon we walked and took photos and found a little art market and took photos and walked and checked out some more coffee shops.

After a siesta back at the ranch we went out again and walked, and went to more coffee shops (finding one that served Strongbow, the Wild Style) and eventually floated back to bed.


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