Amsterdam-home of the Red Light District (prostitution has been legal in Amsterdam since the 15th century and there are over 400 windows lit each night). There are over 250 establishments that fall under the category of "smoke shops", the most well-known shop...The Bulldog. Much of the architecture dates back to the 14th century and is characterized by brick and cobble stone.
The Common Denominator
The Red Light District of Amsterdam leaves nothing to the imagination. We have all heard stories about young ladies scantly clad adorning windows lit by red lights but I did not expect it to be such a parade. Countless numbers of tourists litter the streets and alleyways, gawking at these women (who come in all shapes and sizes and all nationalities). Some people giggle and point as they stroll by, groups of men stand at the windows admiring the wares and yet others walk briskly by with cheeks stained pink with embarrassment. Many onlookers forget the real beauty of this neighbourhood...in fact, The Red Light District is the oldest part of the city with buildings dating back to the 14th century. The cobble stone streets add charm to the city that "wears it's heart on it's sleeve."
Amsterdam prides itself on being liberal and tolerant to the prostitution, pornography and soft drugs; which leads us to the next common factor-The Smoke Shop or affectionately named, "the coffee shop". Since the 1970's, the shops have existed in a grey area. Law enforcement officers allow a personal amount of 5 grams or less on your person but it has to fall within the "soft drug" category: weed, marijuana or hash. And you are not allowed to smoke in public, other than in one of the 200 shops scattered around the city. Most hostels allow the use of these products in their establishments, as long as you have a smoking room. So, on to our final destination...hostels (some may call them bed & breakfasts) but they are usually a room that shares a bathroom with other guests on the same floor.
We drove into Amsterdam and knocked on several doors before finding a hostel in the heart of the action. It was situated along a main street known for its' hemp stores and coffee shops (Nieuwendijk). The owner was a short man, with long grey curly hair half-way down his back (something right out of the 80's...a rock legend who had seen better days), he wore John Lennon-style glasses and spoke very little English. But he was kind and offered us a room that had our own private shower. (and a frequent visitor in the middle of the night...a tiny mouse who liked to steal food crumbs). And it overlooked the main street (and the prominent and well-known Sensi Seed sign). Breakfast was included but was very basic, hard-boiled eggs, toast and coffee, every morning.
We had chosen Amsterdam as one of our last stops on our one month European vacation because at this point we "just needed to unwind" and were looking forward to letting loose. We strolled through The Red Light District and visited the smoke shops just like any other tourist but what we didn't plan on happened the night of September 25th.
I got pregnant!
Maybe it happened because of the sexuality coursing through the air at every turn past red light after red light, or maybe it was the relaxing vibe that this city oozes. But either way, I came home from a wonderful vacation with an even more wonderful surprise. And even to this today, my daughter is a very relaxed and laid-back little girl. We always say, "it's because she was made in Amsterdam."
Theatre Casa Rosso: Live Erotic Entertainment
Sensi Seeds-Largest distributor and bank of cannabis seeds.