I arrive in Amsterdam just before noon, coming back to Europe from a funeral at home in California. Needless to say, I’m planning on having some fun on my short stay in this beautiful, permissive city. I take the train into town, which is a short, easy, and affordable way to get from the airport to the city center, and arrive in the midst of it all. First things first. Cannabis product.
I love weed, have for years. If I’m not traveling and am in one of the many places where I know how to find it, I smoke everyday. So not only am I coming home to Europe, I am coming home to that familiar Amsterdam weed. Despite that I’ve never been here before, I had certainly smoked their cannabis.
I go to Barney’s Coffee Shop, where I hope to smoke some good weed and collect my thoughts on this short layover. I buy what ended up being too much flower and sit at a table. The vibe is a little douchey, but I’m glad to see and hear only locals around me. The hip, smoothing talking Dutch destroy the stereotype of Holland in my head. I order a cappuccino and roll my first joint. Shortly after a group of British tourists, who I could only describe as Manchester United fans, walk in, killing the vibe.
I absolutely adore the “coffee shops” in Amsterdam. Not just because of the weed but because they are like most cafes across Europe in that they have a wide variety of drinks and some food. Only here they add high-test cannabis to the mix and things get quirky.
Stoned, these Brits are killing my buzz and I head out for a Dutch classic, Indonesian food. The Netherland’s colony was big in the nation of over 18,000 islands and, like most other colonizers , adopted the food of the people they oppressed. Lucky for me, Indonesian food is both familiar and wholly new. I ate Indonesian at a friends growing up, yet this is completely different than what I’m used to.
I walk to a nearby restaurant where its pre-cooked dishes and locals only. Here you choose two entrees, noodles or rice, and a side. I end up with a monster plate of food, rich in color and texture. I order a tofu dish, a beef dish, noodles, and an assortment of pickles. It is both funky and delicious.
Taking the day as it comes, I walk by a coffee shop I like the look of it. I feel like a local, although I can’t speak Dutch. It doesn’t matter much, everyone in Amsterdam speaks near-flawless English with a near-American accent. I order a flat white and stroll the streets with it. That’s when I see it.
A stroopwafel storefront. I have been obsessed with these things since I found out about them working at a coffee shop. It just might be the national dessert of the Netherlands. I’m stoned so I order some fucked caramel-chocolate stuffed stroopwafel and I enter near bliss. I walk and walk. I pass parks where I smoke again and ponder the vistas of canals.
I don’t know if it’s all the food, the weed, or the travel, but I’m content wandering around the city. I go into shops. I take in the moment. I act like a local. I think of hitting up a museum, of which the city has many, but I am too focused on physically seeing the city and indulging in deep pleasures. Near the main train station going back to the airport, I think of stopping for Dutch pancakes. I control myself and settle for a beer waiting for my flight.