I consider myself an excellent tourist. I love going to new places, I always walk the extra mile just to get to the special spot and I am almost always good to detect the tourist scam. What I also think makes me a good tourist is that I always try to make a multi-sensorial experience out of every trip that I do. What does making a multi-sensorial trip means? That I consciously identify the basic senses that I felt during the visit. For example, there is no way that I will ever forget about the smells from the Paris subway, or that particullar scent from wine and chorizo from a tapas bar in Madrid. I won’t forget the feeling I got from eating too many wonderful pizzas and gelatos in Italy, or the bittersweet disappointment I got when I first tasted a fish and chips here in London. It’s all part of making your experience memorable.
Last week I was in Amsterdam for the first time, and certainly it was a multi-sensorial experience. First, listen for the very first time people speaking to me in dutch, and even listen to some dutch pop and rock music is quite unique. The language is so weird, maybe similar to English and German, but with such strong sounds.
Then, something I will never forget is eating dutch cheese and many waffles. I thought that it was overrated, but genuinely the dutch cheese is so good and they have so many varieties, that you can eat cheese with olives, with garlic or even with truffles.
When I was packing my things to go to Amsterdam, I noticed that the weather forecast was just a little bit colder than London, but I decided to pack my long johns (that means, my winter underwear). Definitely the person that invented them is a genius! Walking up and down, in the morning or in the night and not being cold in the… well, not being cold below the waist feels good.
Everybody knows that smoking weed in Amsterdam is legal, and you can buy mushrooms, or special brownies or cigarettes in almost every corner. You can feel the strong smell of marijuana when you go by every cafe in the city, and it doesn’t matter if it is only 8 am on a Wednesday or 11 pm on a Saturday. There is a strong drugs culture in the city.
Finally, one thing for which Amsterdam is really famous is the Red Light District, where everything is related to sex. There are many prostitutes in the red-lit windows, many sex shops and other types of shows and attractions. Certainly is a tourist spot, but Amsterdam is so much more than that. The image of a red window is not what I will keep forever from the city. There are beautiful canals, museums, parks, a tulip market, cheese stores and so much more, that I think is a shame that some tourist just go there to do everything that their budget allows them.