Saturday, September 2, 2017

Getting High in Amsterdam

All combined, I have lived in Amsterdam for two years- mostly in two month increments. I know the city well and love how much it has to offer yet I am aware that when most people think of Amsterdam, their thoughts turn to just two things- hookers and weed. This is understandable as this is home to the world's most famous red light district and finding glassy-eyed tourists coming out of coffee shops is as omnipresent as the relentless ringing of bike bells. Hookers and weed are no question a "thing" here, they are just not the only thing.

It is because of this that when friends come to visit, the first thing I do is take them past the girls in the windows and if they are so inclined to procure some of the best weed in town. Once this is out of the way, then I feel free to take them boating on the canals, to world-class museums and to the many hidden spots that make this city so wonderful.

One of the newest attractions, having opened in late 2016, is the A'dam Tower. This former Shell office building was re-designed to house a lookout tower, rotating restaurant and most importantly for my purposes, Europe's highest swing.

It's even got a cool location, sitting across the river Ij from Central Station in the hip Amsterdam Noord area and is right next to door the Eye Film Museum.

Kevin and I were on our way to the Eye when we decided to detour and check out this swing thing.  My expectations were pretty simple, there was going to be a nice view of the city and a big ass swing,  both which sounded great on this rare sunny day.

We bought our tickets and ventured into the gift shop, where along with the expected A'dam trinkets, they were also selling rubber animal masks. Why? That's a good question.

We had no answers but whatever. We continued up the stairs towards the elevator and just sitting there was a replica of the Game of Thrones Iron Throne, only instead of swords this one is made up of electric guitar parts? Huh?! Why? What does this have to do with Amsterdam? Why guitars?

Next up, a green screen with a building girder where you pose for souvenir photos. Ok, they are trying to sell you the pics. At least this makes sense.

But it wasn't until we got on the elevator with its own light show and soundtrack that it hit me. This place was 100% designed with stoned people in mind. It has to be! Who else is walking out of an observation tower with a rubber chicken head.

Mind you, the views are indeed spectacular. You don't necessarily have to be stoned. But it certainly wouldn't hurt.

The giant mechanical swing which sends you back and forth over the edge of the building is probably one of the most normal things up there. Like, it makes sense to have a thrill ride in addition to the great view.

But more questions arise at the sight of a giant red horse just sitting there. No sign, no explanation, just a big red horse. Oh and did I mention that once you are atop the horse, he vibrates at random intervals. Or maybe just the saddle vibrates, I'm not really sure. Point being, one moment you are posing for a picture and then next second, hey-ooooo.

We went to process all this one floor down,  at the restaurant/ bar, where we found a glass floor window (not sure what else to call it) where you can look straight down.

Why yes, my sneakers are actually from the  Bertie line of Steve Madden shoes, thank you for asking.

All in all, it is a cool attraction and I am seriously considering getting the annual pass as I think it would be interesting to check out the view at different times of day and the bar seems like a chill place to hang out.  Plus now, I know exactly what to do with my visiting friends after that first day's stop at the coffee shops...

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