Red Lights, Bikes & Pastries.
Bonjour mes amours,
I hope you’ve been having a lovely couple days I have been making the most of my last few days in France by spending as much time with Caroline, Magali and Sonia as possible. They have honestly been the most welcoming, helpful, friendly, sweet bunch of girls I could ask for. I am truly blessed.
But now. Back to Amsterdam!
I started my first day of actual exploring after having checked into the Heart of Amsterdam hostel. I figured having found it once (via Bike taxi…) that I could probably find it again, so off I went! I walked up and down the many canals of central Amsterdam pausing at each one to take a photo. I could not believe how beautiful it was there — I was completely awestruck.
As I sat on the edge of the canal to take the photo below, my damn lens cap fell out of my lap and rolled right into the water. Epic. Fail. I haven’t been able to replace it yet, so I’ve been putting my camera in a silk bag and hoping it doesn’t get too scratched up.
I continued my walk around and again was amazed by the sheer amount of flowers this city has to offer. When they’re not for sale in the many street stalls, markets and boutiques, they’re lining the beautiful houses/apartments in the central area. A large majority of the homes are just covered in greenery! It was like being back in Vancouver again!
I had always heard that everyone in Amsterdam rode bikes but I never imagined how many I would find sprawled across the city. Anywhere you can park a bike, you’ll find one — or ten or fifty. It’s a lovely system and I have to say I wish more North American cities were like that. I wonder if we’ll ever get to a point where we are like Amsterdam? Vancouver has made a lot of progress, but they are no where near where Amsterdam is.
I should have rented a bike when I was there, but that just means I’ll have to rent one when I go back in a few years. I’ve already been invited back to France — so perhaps I’ll throw in a trip to Amsterdam and another to Italy when I get back here. (Hopefully I’m with someone by then and can have them join me ).
I’m telling you — bikes everywhere!
I continued to wander around in circles — er well squares I guess — and eventually found my way back to the Moulin Rouge! I was so stoked when I saw it that I whipped out my camera and snapped a picture. As I did that, I saw a man come out and wag his finger at me not to take photos. I couldn’t really figure out why so I turned to my right and saw I was on the red light district.
I had heard about this place but it was way crazier than I ever could have imagined. The girls range from the young, incredibly beautiful and well sculpted to the very old, decrepit and overweight. Ladies who have traveled from every corner of the globe to come to Amsterdam where they can legally pursue their lifestyle. (I don’t know whether or not I should call it a career because I can’t imagine you can do that forever — but maybe you can?)
As I walked on through the district, I just could not look away. I had a million questions to ask them — like how did you end up working here? How much do you pay in rent? Do you have a pimp? Do you get to refuse customers? Do you make a decent living? Are you busy? Do you have a boyfriend? So many questions! But it’s not like I could just walk up to them and ask — I suppose if I would pay a certain amount I might be able to — but that just was not happening. I found it absolutely fascinating and also very sad. But really — who am I to judge? Maybe they’re really happy doing this? I guess I won’t know.
Oh! And before I forget! The craziest thing I might have seen in the red light district — was a group of school children, aged between say, 13-16? There was about 40 of them and their teacher was walking them through the district. Now I’m all for educating children about the sex trade — but actually walking them through there? I don’t know. It seemed inappropriate to me. Perhaps because I swear every single one of those boys was walking around with eyes as big as eggs.
Once I got to the end of the Red Light District — I found my hostel! Haha. It was at the ‘entrance’ of the district. I kept on walking and made my way to the Dam Square where I sat and watched the pigeons and people go by. People watching is just so amazing.
At this point I had been gone for about 6 hours and decided it was time to head back to the hostel, meet some people and start nursing my budding cold. But first… First I found a bakery… and it quickly became my go-to place in Amsterdam. I must have gone at least 4-5 times throughout the trip haha.
I picked up a custard-donut-sandwich type thing and it was fabulous. I also picked up a strawberry custard tart and it was deeeelectable! I don’t think I’ve ever had such a delicious dessert in my life!
I went back up to my Lord of the Rings themed room where I met my australian roommate. He was passed out cold from doing ‘truffles’ the night before when I had arrived at 3, so now that he was awake we chatted and decided to go for a walk outside.
We went through the district and I saw even more girls than I had when I went through at dinner time. We made our way down the next street with all of the ‘coffee shops’ where he picked up more truffles and then we made our way back to the hostel. We sat on the front stoop while he smoked a couple cigarettes and watched the two girls across the street. I felt like such a perv watching them — but again, I was completely fascinated. I saw a few men approach them and then they were sent away. I wondered why — but yes again, I could not ask. I’d really love to have a look into this world of craziness one day, and hopefully I will. Perhaps I’ll make a documentary about the global sex trade one day.
Well I think that’s it for my first day in Amsterdam! I hope you enjoyed the post I’ll be posting a few more in the next couple days – and not about the hookers this time I promise — as I’ll be traveling by bus to Italy . It’s going to be one hell of a long trip, but it’ll be great for writing . Have a lovely day y’all!