Amsterdam

amsterdam

There are just days I do not know when I will have the desire to pack my luggage and start to travel again… and I really miss wearing my winter clothing.

The weather right now in Singapore is killing me. I will teleport myself to Amsterdam now if I can to enjoy the cooler weather..

City of Canals, Drugs and Sex

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I was really excited when I know that I will be flying to Amsterdam! Amsterdam is one of my favorite destinations and I know everywhere is like my favorite destination right… I want to be everywhere, anywhere except than in Singapore. Don’t get me wrong, I love Singapore. Singapore is my homeland but the weather right now is killing me. Sometime I love being away cos it means getting away from everything, taking a short break to enjoy life. I love spending time alone to read, drink, travel and etc, simply because it is peaceful.

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The weather in Amsterdam was awesome! I took a walk down the picturesque canal streets alone, immersing myself in the gorgeous weather. I was astonished with the number of good looking people on the streets and everyone was so friendly. Wow! And it is easy to know why because Amsterdam is in one of the top 10 cities with the world’s best-looking men and women. The Dutch are amongst the tallest in the world and they are notorious for their light features usually blonde and blues eyes. The Netherlands is also ranked as one of the top 10 “happiest” country. My first impression of the Dutch is they are very friendly and smiley. They speak fluent english so communication isn’t a problem here. I randomly went into a souvenir shop and even the sales assistant in the shop was jaw-drop good looking. *OMGGGG…*

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One of the things that I will always do when I am in Amsterdam is to eat raw herring. This is one of the Dutch food you MUST TRY when you are in the Netherlands. This raw herring dish is served with chopped onions and pickles. It tastes and smells fresh and salty, practically melts in your mouth. YUMS! I am obsessed with raw fish and all sorts of seafood. I didn’t care when people told me not to eat sushi/sashimi when I went to Tokyo for holidays which was less than a year after the Japan’s disaster in 2011. I ate a lot, really A LOT of sushi and sashimi and I am still kicking and alive.

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I strolled down the Bloemenmarkt flower market which is the only floating market in the world. There are 15 stalls in this block-long flower market and you can shop for flower bulbs, seeds, accessories, souvenir, and everything else that is related to the flower trade. One of the places you must go in the Netherlands during spring is Keukenhof, the world’s largest flower garden to see the tulip bloom season. The garden was opened from 21st March to 20th May 2013 this year and unfortunately, I have missed seeing this annual tulip festival by just one week. Aaahhhh… What a waste! I hope I can get this check off my to-do list next year.

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My friend also visited Amsterdam just few weeks before me and these are the photos that she sent me. She bought all these tulip bulbs from the flower market to bring back home for Mother’s Day. It is hard to grow tulips in tropical climate like Singapore but it is not impossible. She put all these flowers in the chiller during flight and yes, you can request to do so. When back at home, she place them in a cool place and water it regularly. Viola, the tulips bloom so beautifully.

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I met up with the rest of the company for dinner at my all-time favorite restaurant Castell. They serve the best pork ribs in the world! The rest I have tried elsewhere in the world like in United States or Australia, the standard comes nothing close to the barbecue pork ribs served in Castell. 

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The pork ribs are tender, juicy and flavorful. Every bite is yum, yum, YUMMMM! And you must enjoy it with a good glass of red wine. All meat lovers will definitely love this place!

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You can click to view a larger image of the menu. The restaurant is also one of the best steakhouses in Amsterdam. I didn’t try the steak because I have stopped eating beef for quite some time already.

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The food was too good to resist and I came back here AGAIN the next day after my trip to Bruges, Belgium. I know there is a lot of people who do not like to dine alone but I love it! The reason is that when you are in a group, you have to accommodate to everyone’s needs and you need to make an effort to contribute to the “conversation”. I love eating alone at times cos it is just me and my food. Nothing else! I will just take my time to enjoy my food, chew it slowly and appreciate its flavor, texture and aroma. I ordered escargots, lamp chop and a large glass of beer. SHIOK dinner! I always make it a point to have at least one good and decent meal during my trip. How can a trip be good without a good meal? I won’t deny that I love to eat and I really can’t save when its comes to food.

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Anyway.. After the wonderful dinner and a couple of more drinks we had at the hotel, a few of us went to the Red Light District. I was glad that I had company because I didn’t manage to visit the red light district on my last trip. I won’t dare to come here alone cos after all, it is pretty dangerous for a lady to walk alone at night in such places.

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The red light district De Wallen is a major tourist attraction in Amsterdam and you won’t be surprised to see a thick crowds of tourists. There is a number of sex shops, sex theaters, peep shows, a sex museum, a cannabis museum, and a number of coffee shops that sell marijuana. In the Netherlands, coffee shop is not a place for you to “la kopi” like in Singapore, it is a weed cafe to buy and try drugs. You will be handed a “menu of drugs” selling items such as space cakes, space brownies, space cookies, space muffins, space tea and etc that contain a dose of cannabis. Oh yes, doing all these are legal in Amsterdam. Smoking marijuana is common in Amsterdam and you will know when someone is smoking it because the smell is very pungent and has a recognizable odor. I think I might have unknowingly tried the space tea when I went to one of the coffee shops on my last trip. So naive! I really thought it was just tea. I have seen real life examples of people becoming stoned and hallucinated after trying small quantity of weed. So…My best advice is don’t try it! These drugs will also stay in your system and I think you might get yourself in trouble when you come back to Singapore.

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This is the ultimate form of window shopping which women sell and men shop for sex. These women are barely dressed and their figures are so great that you will wonder if is even real. You get to watch potential customers negotiating with the women and when the red curtains are closed, it means a deal reached. What goes on behind those closed curtains is up to your own imagination.

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We went to watch the live sex show at Theatre Casa Roso. The entrance fee is expensive and it costs EUR45 (SGD75) per entry. Don’t hold your expectations too high cos the acts are really dull and boring. Instead, the three of us started narrating the show and had more fun talking among ourselves. Paying SGD75 for a boring show is totally not worth it unless you are a man cos you might be the “lucky one” selected to participate in the show. Example like eat banana from ahem-you-know-where. The live sex was just some boring shows by very average couples going through the motions. The performers looked so bored and I can understand why. They had repeated the whole process umpteen times. There is no passion, no expression and I think we would appreciate the show better if there was some “sound effect”. We were also given a “dick” candy each and thats yours truly me posing with it. Lol!

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I have to emphasize this..The city of Amsterdam is not just about sex and drugs and there is so much more to this beautiful city. It is a beautiful city filled with historic buildings and an abundance of culture. I have great impression of dutch hospitality and I am greeted with smiles everywhere I go. I would say Amsterdam is an interesting city you will fall in love with..

The Netherlands, The Land of Windmills – Part 2

Amsterdam, The Netherlands 

Amsterdam is the capital of The Netherlands and it is also known as the “Venice of the North” for its canals which divide the city into 90 small islands linked together by 1500 bridges.

Charming canals but I got lost a couple of times because of the confusing canals network and layout of the city.

Canals and bicycles are everywhere in Amsterdam. Cycling is a very popular mean of transportation in Amsterdam with the average Amsterdammer owning 1.5 bicycles! Amsterdam is also one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world.

I like this white classic vintage style bicycle with the wicker basket. So chio right?

Pretty transportation to cycle to work everyday in Amsterdam but in Singapore, this type of bicycle is orbiang. Hahah!

The Chinatown in Amsterdam.

Ang moh countries always built a few Chinese restaurants, give it a very cheena name like “Dragon City” in a small stretch of road, and they already want to name the place CHINAtown and call it an “Attraction”. You can’t really find any local chinese staying there to provide the unique identity that allowed the place to be called CHINAtown. Lol!

Dam Square, one of the shopping areas in Amsterdam.

The National Monument in Dam Square to honor all the Dutch individuals who perished in World War II.

View of Dam Square in color sketch mode.

H&M stores are found everywhere in Amsterdam and I think I passed by more than 10 H&M stores. For a moment, I really thought H&M is originated from The Netherlands and not Sweden.

@ Flower Market.

Bright and beautiful flowers.

Lovely pink tulip. If you are visiting The Netherlands in Spring (around March-May), it is a must-visit to the Keukenhof Gardens which is one of the largest tulip gardens in the world.

Photo credits to Keukenhof Holland.

Photo credits to Keukenhof Holland.

Awwwww…SO PRETTY RIGHT? I wish the next time I am back in The Netherlands is the Spring season so that I can take all the beautiful flower photos. 😀

I had lamb chops for dinner at Barbecue Castell Restaurant. I tried the pork ribs in this restaurant before too. They serve one of the BEST pork ribs and lamb chops in the world! Good ambience, good food and good beer! Two thumbs up! Having a great meal is a satisfaction. What more can I ask for? 😀 This gonna be the restaurant that I will bring into Singapore IF I have the $$$. Heehee..

Enjoyed a music performance in the streets before calling it a night…. 😉