We got a summer day in Amsterdam. The real summer kind. A burning summer. We began the day with a free walking tour led by a character of a guy dressed in baggy jeans and sporting a fake Canadian accent. Meeting at the royal palace, we made our way through the infamous red light district, past the many ‘coffee shops’ (weed joints), got a brief Jewish history, Dutch history, and history of Amsterdam, found a secret garden behind a wooden door for women only, fell upon a book market and were led over the bridges and canals. Did you know there are 600,000 bikes in the 750,000 population of Amsterdam?! Walking through the city, you can smell weed on the air. It makes the air thick and slow and is much like the people who take it.
From the tour we walked the ‘nine streets’ an area of boutique shops and vintage stores. Tucked away in there I saw a synesso machine whipping up amazing coffees. But the treat was the frozen yoghurt mixed with fresh strawberries and choc flakes. I purchased an old Italian scarf at ‘Lady’s Day’ store and wanted to buy much more. But this is a budget holiday. We scoured the book market again, sat in the peaceful secret garden and went to the Jewish flea market where I found a hidden gem shirt chucked under a mountain pile of clothes. At dinner we calculated that we’d walked a total of 9 hours (and counting) in the one day. We have legs of steel.