Marijuana, Prostitutes and Anne Frank

Did my title reel you in?

I can’t believe it’s been 3 months since our trip to Europe. I can’t believe it’s April. I can’t believe it’s colder here in April than it was in Europe in January. Mind-blowing thoughts, kids.

Anyway, after our jaunt to Belgium, we packed up on New Years Eve and took the train over to Amsterdam. I was super excited, because all I had been hearing was that NYE in Amsterdam was on par with New York City.We dropped our bags at the super swanky, five-star Hotel Pulitzer and set out to explore the city.

On one of the many canals. 

Before our trip, I associated Amsterdam with three things: weed, prostitutes and Anne Frank. Because we didn’t get in until the afternoon and we already had plans for the evening, rather than spending time to go see Anne Frank’s house, I told Bryan I’d rather walk around the city. And by walk around the city, I meant I wanted to see the Red Light District.

Holy Moly. I wish I would have taken pictures, but it just felt…wrong. Then again, so did walking through the streets looking at half-naked women sell themselves in the windows. If you’ve never been to Amsterdam, that is literally what it is – it’s a whole street filled of window fronts, which women rent out to entice men to come inside…so to speak. They dress in everything from “sexy” outfits to close to nothing. When they’re busy, their curtains are closed and the red light is on. I wasn’t totally creeped out by this whole thing as much as I was fascinated. The women were of all shapes, colors, sizes and nationalities. And, there were men just openly going in and out, no shame. Fascinating.

After I got done staring, Bryan took me into a “coffee shop.” As much as I’d like to say that we picked a good flavor and got super stoned (for the experience, of course), we did not. We were only there for the night and I didn’t want to ruin my evening with smoking. So, we popped in and I looked at the menu (again, fascinating), but that was the extent.

Before we knew it, it was already 5pm, so after a quick beer and a salami sandwich, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.

Tree in the main plaza before people went nuts.

So, dinner. The highlight of the trip. Bryan booked us at the hotel for a fancy, prix-fixe meal. We were hesitant, because let’s just say, it was SUPER European. So, we get dressed up, went downstairs and were seated between two couples, which basically meant the six of us were at the same table. I could write FOR HOURS about the conversations had during dinner. The two couples couldn’t be more different. 

We had Alessandro and Kevin to our left, a gay couple who lived in San Fran, but used to live in Amsterdam. And to our right was Tammy and Todd, a couple from Southern Missouri. Todd andTammy epitomized any stereotype that exists about Americans, while Kevin and Alessandro epitomized any well-spoken, polished human being. I’ll spare details on the conversations that took place, but this should give you an idea: during dinner, Todd announced to the table that he was “GOING TO USE THE CAN!” Ugh.

So, back to the meal. I wish I had taken pictures of every course, but unfortunately, I got distracted after during the first course. You’ll see why.


After our selection of “amuses,” none of which I could stomach, our first course came out. I knew what was on the menu, Bryan didn’t. So, he dug into his plate and took a healthy first bite. I sat, waiting for his approval before trying mine.

All of a sudden, his face turned red and he stopped chewing. He picked up the menu to see what he was chowing down on. And then, the best moment ever: Have you ever tasted something so awful that it makes you gag? Not even gag, but like your cheeks puff out, and it starts to come up and you have to make an effort to swallow it down?

That’s what happened. Twice.

Being the loving wife I am, I sat by and laughed while Bryan tried not to vomit in this Michelin restaurant. Meanwhile, Todd had already licked his plate clean. Successfully, Bryan got his bite down before letting me know “not to try it.” Thanks, honey!

What was he eating? Terrine of veal and organic duck liver, quince, red wine shallots with syrup of aceto balsamic. The rest of our meal (deer wellington followed by chocolate ganache cake) was pretty painless, made better by loads of champagne and wine that tasted like marijuana. (no joke). And then, we were off to the square to ring in the New Year. 

As I mentioned, there is a huge fireworks display in the main plaza of the city. Everyone gathers with drinks, smokes and their own fireworks, and they party. Fireworks go off from about midnight until 5am. The downfall was that it was raining, so this all still went on, but just under the overhead spaces surrounding the plaza. Bryan and I grabbed a 6-pack of Heinekin tall boys and set to it.


Right before midnight, we ran out to the square to countdown with everyone else. 3, 2, 1…Happy New Year! Fireworks, human pyramids, you name it…people went nuts. Bryan and I engaged for awhile before deciding we were too drunk and too wet and so headed back to the hotel to change into dry clothes and sip champagne from the comfort of our hotel. (Did I mention it was 5-stars?) Oh, and I was worried that Bryan would get blown up by a firework on the way back.

Human pyramid.

Happy New Year!

The next morning, we boarded a plane to head down to Nice. We cured our hangovers with airport massages. Best decision ever.

What’s your favorite part of Amsterdam?

                                                                 Helene in Between


  1. oh i love amsterdam, i knew from the title of your post exactly where you were going with this one!

  2. I really really want to go there! Sounds like you had such an amazing time!

  3. oh man that looks like the way to celebrate! so much fun.

    xoxo, Amy @ Interpret As You May

  4. Love this post, especially the title. I would LOVE to go there.


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