“Ah! We in the red light district!” – Ludacris

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We arrived in Amsterdam and stepped out of the train station welcomed by a skunk-like smell. Ahhh… smells like Seattle. We walked along the beautiful canal on the street where our hostel sat. It also happened to be smack dab in the middle of the Red Light District. We immediately knew this would make for our most interesting trip yet. We strolled past the red lights trying not to make eye contact with the girls in the windows, but you kind of just can’t help but stare. It’s just so… different. Our home for the weekend sat right across from a place called Bananenbar. Word on the street is that “the banana plays a central role in the entertainment and we are not talking cocktails here!” A guy walking along the street right next to us tried to take a picture of some of the women in the red windows and was startled when the ladies starting banging and kicking the window and flipping him off. We learned quickly that we probably should avoid that mistake.

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After getting settled into our hostel, “The Heart of Amsterdam,” Shea, Alexis, Levi, one of our hostel roommates and I met up with Daniel and his friends to quench a craving for Asian cuisine before heading to a nearby bar to hang out for the night.

I must say, it never quite felt normal to see marijuana sold openly over the counters of the bars, but, there it was right in front of us. And Amsterdam catered to that crowd perfectly with munchies spots open until the wee hours of the night and vending machines in stores, on the streets, in the bars… everywhere.

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Needless to say, my first impressions left me amazed at what a different place this was. It felt like a made up place I’d read about in a book somewhere. I went to sleep excited to explore Amsterdam in the day time and couldn’t wait for the adventure ahead.

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