Amsterdam, and, Yes, My First Joint.

Catching up on another adventure – really two at once, but here I am months behind getting this up.  Let’s start with the first thing I had never done before – the more touristy one – Amsterdam.  I had the chance to go in late May due to a conference.  A little past tulip time, but it was still quite beautiful.

By the way, what a time to find out your little auto camera with the great lens no longer focuses.  I had to resort to my cell phone camera at times.  Not the best, but decent. 

The gorgeous canals and architecture…

Amsterdam was made especially fantastic by my friends Beth and Root, who had been living there a year.  Beth helped me plan every spare second I had around the conference, and with biking, museums, cafes, shopping, and great dinners, we all had a blast.

Beth and I playing with Snapchat in a cheese/wine/deli in the neighborhood Jordaan…


Life in Amsterdam…

Now, the tourist view

Beth and I started at the Heineken Brewery, which was interesting, but I’ll only put in a couple photos from that.  Otherwise Beth, Root, and I biked everywhere, museum-ed (Van Gogh!!!), and ate at vegetarian/vegan places (which are harder to find than you think – but Beth had it all scoped out.)

I did not get to see the Anne Frank house and museum.  Beth had warned me that I needed to get tickets four months in advance.  I checked at five months, tickets were open.  I checked at exactly three and three-quarters of a month, and they were gone.  I don’t think my heart could have handled seeing the actual house – the book alone devastated me.

Other history…

Signs (at the Amsterdam museum) from when many folks could not read, and other art.  I noted several of these signs throughout the city (though usually smaller).

The Ons’ Lieve Heer Op Solder’s Home

The Op Solder’s Home is the oldest museum in Amsterdam, based around house from the 1600s that has a special place in Amsterdam history.  It holds an example of how official religions were set by the government, while others were less accepted/prohibited.  In Amsterdam, the Catholic and Protestant churches kept switching as the official religion.  When that happened, the unofficial religions could not meet publicly, but authorities would not usually persecute private worship.  So church services were held in homes.  In this case (and several others in the city), a family created a Catholic church in its attic in 1663.  The home itself was already fascinating (see the kitchen and stairs, and then I don’t have pictures of the family ‘receiving hall”),  but to have a full three-story church in your attic, which is already above two-three floors – pretty amazing.

The dancing houses of Amsterdam…

Zoom in – this is the best part!  These houses have shifted over the centuries due to the posts that were sunk into the ground sinking a bit more over time, occasionally rotting, etc…  More information is found here:  I love them, but no way could I sleep in one.  I live in a 100-year old house right now, that has settled some over time forming some cracks (now fixed) and have had crazy nightmares in the past about it sinking.  But here in Amsterdam, the floors are rarely ever level.

So now, the next adventure.  My first marijuana.  I have never had a joint.  Really.  Yes, really.

Obviously, some background is needed.  Once upon a time, I used to be a goody-two-shoes from Texas (do not look up the term in the Urban Dictionary version – I was never that bad – ha, not a pest anyway), but I gave that up a bit when I moved to Miami.  Still, the concept of drugs to me was bizarre – I was already having a blast in Miami, and I didn’t need drugs to have more.  I also have been very aware that I have a hard time breaking bad habits.  Combine that with the fact I thought smoking was (is) truly disgusting, and the result:  I never tried marijuana.  Man, do people even know how much the bad stuff smells like skunk?   But my interest peaked when (1) I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and (2) I started my 2014 and 2015 adventures.  It was on my bucket list.  With it becoming legal everywhere, and the potential for marijuana to alleviate the pain, really, how could it not be?

But wait, you say, you live in DC – where marijuana is now legal!  Aha, but buying it is not, just the possession and smoking of it in private.  I could get it if needed easily for medical reasons; still, how cool would it be to have your first smoke in a coffeehouse in Amsterdam?  Oh – did I mention the irony of the conference I attended being on integrity and ethics?


My friends and my smoke.


Nice.  That’s it.  I didn’t choke, cough – or otherwise react at all.  No mellowness, no extra cool vibes, no moodiness, sleepiness, or other -esses.  Kindof disappointing.  I was glad I could smoke it quite easily – it was nice to smoke actually.  Darn – that could be a problem.   But damn, no pain relief either.  And by the end of several days of walking and biking everywhere in Amsterdam – I hurt!  I understand that many people don’t really react the first time – maybe another time would work, but I am really not going out of my way to try again, unless my dcotor says so.

So there are those adventures.  Beth made a great comment – Amsterdam is my type of town.  The markets, restaurants we ate at, architecture, museums, stores, and parks we visited.  A fantastic atmosphere (and the city does not smell like skunk.)   So much good fun had. And thanks, Beth and Root, for making me feel at home.  Amsterdam fits you well – and me too.


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