Sunday, September 30, 2012


Damrak - Amsterdam, originally uploaded by MorBCN.

Amsterdam welcomes you like a long lost home. Everything is easy and convenient. If your lost you don't even have to ask for directions some smartly dressed and very attractive Dutch man will point you in the direction of the hidden vegetarian restaurant you are looking for and give you advice on it as well.
A city built on sand surrounded canals and streets perfectly laid out for transportation on bicycle and cable cars. The best thing to do in Amsterdam is do as the Amsterdamers do and rent a bicycle. Cycling around this city is pure joy, because you will not be killed.. well one odd bit is that they let motorized scooters on the bike lanes who are mostly insane and I don't think they should be allowed in the bike lanes if there are just going to cut in and out like mad people.
The boutique shopping and design stores are some of the best I have ever seen. There has been a lot of care put into creating things that are useful and so beautiful that it makes me want a home so I can fill it up with these 'things'.
Of course everyone is fit, and gorgeous, so people watching is an easy way to spend some time. Watching women leave their tiny babies outside shops on their bike carriers is something you don't see in many western countries.. but also short skirts and high heels on bikes aren't something you see very often anywhere as well.
The streets are full of coffee shops (marjuana shops) that cater to different crowds. The locals don't really care much about this but interestingly they are changing the laws to make it only legal for locals to smoke in 2013 which will be interesting as most of the shops in the center are littered with tourist getting stoned all day long.
The red light district is something that still haunts me in what we think as progressive, but is ultimately a support of revictimization of women come from eastern europe as a way of escaping and sold into this industry and are stuck in this industry. The majority of women in the sex trade are not there because they love to have sex, they are there because they were molested/raped as children and don't know any different and fall into this path. The women looked very young, orange skin from over tanning, skinny but not sickly skinny, and dyed hair with way to much make up. The clientele on the street was mainly men from other countries. I do know this goes on all over the world and will go on for quite some time, and don't believe in criminalizing this, but there needs to be an awareness and understanding of every women's story as it is never a pretty one. If we get to the root of the issue we can start to get women into healing and doing something more compassionate for themselves.

On another topic I have done two days of yoga in a row at Breathe yoga studio on Overtoom street. It has been wonderful to reconnect and enjoy a normal schedule of somewhat luxury. Yoga, bike rides, coffee, and I got to see my brother William for a few days :)
I have been couchsurfing with an awesome girl here named Jolijin who has her own blog on vegan cooking here (it's in dutch) :
My next stop is Barcelona for a day and then the train up to Pamplona to start the Camino de Santiago. Wish me luck!

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