Day 37 - Amsterdam

Matthew and I did the free walking tour in the morning, which was pretty good but didn't really take us too far fromthe centre of the city (ie. Major tourist attractions). So we had lunch after the tour and then walked the long way home through canals a bit further south of the main area. The areas outside of inner Amsterdam are so much nicer than the rest, there are cafes and restaurants worth going to and a lot more residential buildings. If you take a 5-10 minutes walk away from the red light district you can feel like you're in the middle of Amsterdam's version of suburbia (even though it's a lot nicer than most other cities versions). I really started to like the place at this point, except for always having to listen out for bikes to make sure you don't get cleaned up. There are people on bikes everywhere, at all times.

In these areas you also notice there are no 'coffeeshops' because the locals actually don't really smoke marijuana very much at all, they're only about 6th or 7th in Europe for smoking weed. Apparently they are cleaning up the place a bit by being a bit more strict on the prostitution and smoking, reducing it eventually to zero. These two main 'attractions' do kind of define a part of Amsterdam though, so I'm not sure how it will affect tourism.

Matthew was a nice guy but had become a bit of a shadow so I decided to wash my clothes to make London a bit easier. There is no better feeling than having a full backpack of fresh clean clothes, maybe you need to backpack to understand...I dunno. Met an Irish girl Lorna in the laundromat and she joined us for a beer later on.

Mike, Matthew and I headed out for a few beers after a decent hostel dinner and we ended up in a jazz bar which was really good. It was themed as an old train or boat with booths and luggage racks etc, photos of the titanic on the wall etc. Pretty relaxed atmosphere and all the locals were getting into the music. After that went across the road to another bar to be eyed off by a crazy looking local, obviously looking for a fight. Fortunately another local pissed him off first, and away it went.

Ended the night as you usually do in any city, looking for one last drink or some food. The inner Amsterdam seems to close pretty early for a 'party' city, the locals actually go to Leidseplein which is a bit further out.