Amsterdam is quite possibly the coolest city I've ever been to.
Sure, it's not as chic as Paris, or as regal as Vienna or even as proper as London.
But Amsterdam makes up for its shortcomings by offering a mass convergence of cultures, beliefs and priorities.
The streets are lined with the most mouth watering eateries. Traditional Indonesian restaurants complete with the traditional rijsttafel will stand shoulder to shoulder with a french fry kiosk. You can try bitterballs, which basically taste like deep fried balls of meat pot pie filling.
You can also dig in to Italian, Chinese, Indian, Thai and any number of ethnic varieties.
If you're craving more of a heaping helping of culture, then Amsterdam definitely has something to whet your whistle.
The Van Gogh museum chronicles the ten years the revered artist spent his life as a painter. From the beginning and his Potato Eaters series to the Wheatfield collection and the time he took his life - this museum gives you a closer look at what motivated Van Gogh's talents and how he cultivated his talent.
The Anne Frank Museum will take your emotions a different direction. The exhibit gives you an opportunity to touch and pass through the bookcase doorway that guarded the Annex for two years. The rooms you pass through have been preserved for all time - they still feature the small magazine clippings Anne saved and carefully glued to the wall - such a tiny way this young girl tried to cling to a normal existance during the terror of the Nazi regime.
The experience literally brought me to tears, and I imagine I wasn't the only one.
A glass of beer is one good way to turn around a morose, introspective mood.
We headed to the Heineken brewery for three glasses.
The exhibition is the beer company's attempt at reproducing the Coca~Cola Experience in Atlanta. You walk around, learn how it's brewed, ride a couple animated seat movie moments (I made that description up) and you have a few brews along the way.
Who can complain with that?
The Red Light District. I know you're wondering - so I'll tell you that basically it has girls standing in front of floor-to-ceiling windows wiggling around in skimpy bikinis and hoochie mama club wear. We didn't see any buck naked beauties, but we saw lots of cleavage and aggressively suggestive gestures.
While walking in this shady neighborhood, one of the bouncer types pointed at me and asked, "Are those real?"
I thought he was asking about the diamond studs in my ear.
He was asking about my chest.
A big shit-eating grin grew across my face and I replied with a, "Why! Yes they are!" and walked on my way.
I guess I should take that as a compliment. Right?
Just beyond the red light district is an area where you can get a beer, a bong and a vibrator - all in one city block. The area is full of those stores and I guess you just have to pick and choose depending on your vice.
I'm quite sad that I'm leaving Amsterdam in the morning.
But I sure as hell know I'll be back someday.