A decade away...but made it back!

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CesarJeez
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A decade away...but made it back!

Post by CesarJeez »

Before I dive into this trip report, first a little Amsterdam back story…

I made my first trip to this lovely city in the summer of 2002. It was the last stop on a month long trip for school, and the final four days were in Amsterdam. I think our first CS may have been Bulldog.

My next trip came 8 years later in the fall of 2010, tagging along on a work trip with my wife. We stayed at Hotel V and my first stop on this journey was into Mellow Yellow.

By now, I was pretty hooked on Amsterdam, and in the fall of 2011 I stayed in AMS for about 3 weeks. First posted up on a houseboat off Prinsengracht, then a flat in De Pijp, and then a flat in Jordaan.

Trip #4 came in the fall of 2014, once again tagging along on a conveniently located work trip with the lady.

A decade and three children later, it was now 2024 and seemingly forever since I’d been to Amsterdam, or honestly even thought about it. For spring break this year, we decided it was time to get over to Europe, so we booked some time in Paris and some in AMS.

Paris was an enjoyable first stop, and we did the typical touristy things in our first several days. We lucked out with sunny weather and made use of the playgrounds scattered around the area. The excitement of eventually pulling up to Central Station got me through the exhaustion and irritability that comes with hoofing around Paris in crowded spots.

Day 1, part 1

We loaded up onto the Eurostar and started to make our way to Mokum! The kids were very excited to see a new city, and I started telling them about my past travels as we made our way. The excitement really started to hit as we rolled through Den Hague area. The dam was getting close! The children marveled at the canals and buildings. As much as we liked Paris, Amsterdam is definitely more our speed. Less people, smaller buildings, more simplicity.

We get into Central Station and grab an Uber over to where we are staying in Houthaven, newer construction north of Westerpark area. With a decade having gone by, I definitely noticed a lot of new buildings and things looked different for sure. We were a little bit off the beaten path, but not too far away.

We dropped our stuff and kids and wifey all posted up on couches and beds to rest after our travel. But I was of course ready to get out into the city! I put on my running shoes and darted over to 137 for my first CS in 10 years. I went for the Amnesia Haze, an old favorite of mine. I remember often getting this strain from CS Little, which I guess has now closed along with Mellow Yellow which was just next door. It was the perfect bud for that moment. Mid-afternoon, sun occasionally sneaking through the clouds on a 50 plus degree Saturday (Fahrenheit).

The Amnesia Haze hits perfectly, sweet and fruity and uplifting. I wanted to sit in there forever, but these were different times. I am no longer 28 and able to visit 7 coffeeshops in a row and stone the days away. I only have an hour to myself, have my family waiting on me to head out to dinner, and am about 2-3 kilometers from where we are staying. I stay at 137 for about 20 minutes and set out for the run back.

The return route ended up being one of the most magical running experiences of my life. I am a lifelong runner, and usually fire up some inspiration before putting my shoes on, so this was nothing new to me. I had been injured on prior trips and forgot what it was like to run around the ‘dam. There’s a whole lot going on between cars, bikes, trams, and people walking. In split second moments you kinda have to calculate where you are going to step, how fast you need to go, etc. The Amnesia Haze provided a calm focus so I could stay in the zone but keep my head on a swivel when needed.

Upon my return, I get a quick shower in, and we are off to Westerpark area. We get dinner at Troost Brewery and I down a few pilseners. I don’t like to drink much, but this trip called for some cold ones. The kids are enamored with the parks and it’s tough to keep them moving along when we see one! The wife and I recall taking photos years ago on the purple dinosaur looking thingy at the Westerpark playground our kids are currently playing on. Life has come full circle, and it is a beautiful moment.

Our youngest is falling apart from the fatigue of travel, but before headin back for the night we grab some groceries and “hit the Heijn”, a phrase that would be often used. We get the children settled in, all staying in the same room. The lady is an early to bed type, and she is ready to lay down and get some rest. It is now about 9pm. With the family all resting safely and tucked in, getting to bed was the last thing on my mind. I was ready to get into the thick of it! I wasn’t worried about lack of sleep or knowing that the kids would be wild and loud come 7am. I was here, and for only 4 nights, and had to make the most of it. And that I certainly did…


Trips to the 'dam: 5 ('02,'10,'11,'14, '24)
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jollylittlehun
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Re: A decade away...but made it back!

Post by jollylittlehun »

Great start. Looking forward to the rest.
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Lemming
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Re: A decade away...but made it back!

Post by Lemming »

We hear a lot about walking, cycling and tram riding around Amsterdam but running is a new one on me! Fair play!
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CesarJeez
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Re: A decade away...but made it back!

Post by CesarJeez »

Day 1, part 2

I left the hotel with no plans other than to start walking to the city center. Before prior trips I'd scoured menus, maps, and reviews months ahead of time. On this trip, it was a complete start from scratch go where the wind blows kinda vibe. While I lurked occasionally on the forum in the last 10 years, I honestly hadn't kept up with too much. I quickly learned several shops had closed, moved, changed ownership, etc.

I first rolled up a good ol fashioned non cone inefficient as fuck but I still roll them this way for some reason American dooby with the leftover Amnesia Haze and worked on this as I hoofed into Jordaan area. I stopped into a cozy little bar right across from Relax CS, didn't remember the name (this will be a familiar theme). Got a really tasty whiskey that I sipped slow and talked to the bartenders for a little. Went out into the night and in search of the right CS, and saw on the map that Dampkring was close by. I accidentally went to the new one, but since I was there I grabbed a gram of an indica called Mongo..something.

Apparently they were closing the smoking area right as I got there, but didn't see me as I walked upstairs. I was midway through a j when someone came up to clean, so I bailed. I remember the bud having a nice stoney buzz to it. I wanted something that would put me in a daze and this did it.

De Kroon was next where I went for the Sunset Sherbert indica. Dub Fire by Aswad is playing and it sets the scene. Very citrus/berry aroma to the Sunset Sherbert, and a great indica for a carefree night. The place was really active with people coming and going and most of the seating taken. This was Saturday night in a busy area, so no surprise there. On my first three coffeeshop visits of the trip, I managed to make it to 3 I'd never been to before. But for my next act, I wanted to see a place I had some history with. I was torn between Green Place and Basjoe, and ultimately wanting to walk further along the canal gave Basjoe the win.

I first came to this CS in 2011 for T&T's around the time of the Cannabis Cup. I remember meeting and hanging with a lot of members that week like Matty, USBL, Luvtick, Slip & Sal, Gapie. Good peoples. As I walk in the spot, I can't help but think, oh my Basjoe how you've changed! The reno job looks great but part of me misses the old table layout. I get some super lemon haze and take a seat in the corner spot. The seating is comfy and I'm relaxed as fuck. 2000's hip hop is playing.

I was thrilled to see on this first day that the menus still had just space cakes or muffins as edible options, just like they always have. The options and menus have not gotten too commercialized. I liked that most shops still had only about 15 strains on deck, anything more can be overwhelming at times. Aside from some spots now having digital screens, it still feels like 20 years ago in most places, the atmosphere is the same.

It's been a great first night but it's around 11:45pm and I need to get back to the hotel. I hadn't eaten since about 7pm and the stomach was rumbling, but I had really good leftovers at the hotel so I didn't get any food while I was out. I decide to call an Uber. I get scooped up and after some random hoofing after leaving Basjoe, am about 5K or so from the hotel. There is a road closed in one spot, so we instead head north toward Centraal station area. It's raining pretty good at this point, as it has been on and off most of the evening. We sit behind red brake lights for a while and aren't moving. Another 20 minutes goes by, and we're still not moving.

At this point I'm starving, and it's well beyond midnight. I need to get back. The driver considers either waiting it out or other ways around but these other routes could take a little while. I tell him I'm just gonna get out and start heading back on foot and then he doesn't have to be stuck in this. I have about 4K to get home, but am heavily motivated by leftover ravioli and various snacks. Little did I know, there was a car maybe 300 meters in front of us that had been on fire, and the road was shut down, so that was the holdup. I run about 400 meters at a time, stop and walk for a minute, and repeat until I'm back. It doesn't take too long and I'm back to the hotel by 12:47. Proceeded to destroy a whole lotta food and then stare out the window at the AMS night sky and various boats until about 1:45am. I could do this all night, but I know that morning is coming soon, so time to hit the sack. Solid first day indeed.
Trips to the 'dam: 5 ('02,'10,'11,'14, '24)
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starcatcher
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Re: A decade away...but made it back!

Post by starcatcher »

absolutely sick report, CJ, very well written: it's like being right there alongside you and all those emotions and feelings of nostalgia are coming over so clearly.

there's nothing quite like that moment of *finally* getting a bit of "me time" when the fam hits the hay and you strike out on an adventure into the unknown! :lol:

magical times my guy, magical times :D 8)
trips to The Dam: 6 ('04, '08, '09, '10, '12, '13)
courtjester
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Re: A decade away...but made it back!

Post by courtjester »

Excellent stuff.
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CesarJeez
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Re: A decade away...but made it back!

Post by CesarJeez »

Day Two

There’s nothing quite like waking up in the ‘dam. It was an overcast and drizzly day with some occasional shots of the sun slicing through the clouds. But no matter the weather, this was gonna be a good one. Coffee, yogurt, eggs, and chocolate croissants for all, and we were on our way.

In the AM, wifey hit the gym while I took the kids out to see some of the playgrounds we saw the night before. I love how there are little playgrounds tucked away in random corners of the city. Sometimes there’s not much to it, but it encourages play nonetheless. We made it to maybe half of the ones we saw, and it felt tough at times shooting down their requests to see more, but we had things to do.

We then went off for our boat tour, which was a great experience for all. We went with Those Dam Boat Guys, and they were top notch. The guide was really cool, I think maybe originally from Canada? She let both my older kids drive the boat at times, and they were absolutely thrilled with the experience. She told us a lot of really interesting things about Amsterdam I never knew. Like…

I didn’t really know the history at all about the perseverance of the Dutch in really building this city. How most of it is built upon long wooden pilings. How farmers and alike had no interest in moving to other areas with calmer land when they’d hit by storms, they basically said we’re just gonna figure out a way to fight against this water and make shit work. And they’ve done it really well for a long time.

When you’re 20 and you come over here you’re amazed with the canals and all that, but you get high as shit and that’s kinda all that consumes you is that side of the culture. Coming over here several more times and being a good bit older, I found myself entrenched in the history during this trip. The music on my late night walks was soon replaced with podcasts about Amsterdam history, interviews with residents, etc. There was definitely new appreciation and perspective gained on this trip.

Back to the boat tour…
We got to go everywhere, and she did a great job of making the 90 minute trip equal parts history, chill time allowing us to just enjoy the ride, and fitting in unique history here and there. It was a smaller boat and only 9 of us on there, which I liked better than being on a bigger hoss boat. We saw a few smaller docked boats here and there filled with water, and then picked out which ones we’d want to live in amongst the really nice and not so under water houseboats.

We got off the boat, saw some family in town for a little bit, and then headed off to the Anne Frank Haus. This was my third time going through here. I still have a photo I took of the bookcase on my class trip here. I spent a lot of time observing how my older kids experienced being there. My oldest was familiar from school, but I think they handled it well.

It was then back home to the hotel restaurant for some food, the “hitting of the Heijn”, and then time to get the fam to bed, and time to wander.

Correction from Day One…I didn’t actually go to Basjoe night one, it was my last stop on night two lol. More on that later.

After hitting 3 new spots the night before, I was ready for a familiar CS face, and a little piece of nostalgia. I scoped out menus ahead of time and saw that Dampkring (the original one, and one I thought I was going to night before) had Mexican Haze. What a great strain. I decide to Uber out to the city center, and return back on foot.

I get inside Dampkring and it looks just the way I remember it from 13 years ago, my last visit there. I accidentally wait at the drink area for a few minutes before realizing the buds are in the back…just like I use to do here lol. I of course grab a gram of the Mexican Haze, which the budtender tells me provide an immense focus, and that it did. He kindly allows me to put a band logo sticker in the top right open section of a spot covered with stickers.

Sticker 101…
1. Never cover anyone else’s sticker. Some small corner overlap is acceptable.
2. I only put them in places where there’s other stickers
3. No government buildings or historic monuments
4. Understand that nobody really gives that much of a fuck about your little sticker. You’re kind of just doing it so you can take a photo and text it to your bandmates and be like, hey look our sticker is in city XZY. Now nobody can care about us internationally as well.

We now return to the Dampkring….

I take the Mexi haze and sit at the front where you can see right out onto the street. 90’s hip hop classics are bumping. I twist one up and really enjoy my time here. I get maybe halfway done with the joint and realize I don’t need to keep smoking, I’m all set. This is a great sativa because it’s uplifting but from a zoning in perspective. Your mind isn’t too hyperactive, no paranoia or anything like that. It’s really one of my favorite strains.

I roll up a J of the leftover Mexican Haze for a later time, and then I’m off. I do a lot of wandering and spend a lot of time walking along the respective “grachts”. In thinking of what’s further south of where I am, I regret not making it to De Pijp on this trip, just not enough time. I remember daily visits to Flinck Café the week I had stayed there and I loved Club Media. Will definitely get out there next time.

Random Story…on a Friday night back in November 2011, my friend and I were leaving a bar, maybe close to 2am, and we saw a dude casually throw a Molotov cocktail into a trashcan and walk off like nothing happened. It wasn’t a huge explosion, but enough to get everyone’s attention that was nearby on the street. We then went into a bar that was about to close, and they had “Sweet Caroline” playing on the stereo as a last call encore song, and the entire bar was belting it at full volume. People were standing and dancing on the bar, it was a great moment.

For what happened next in my evening, you can basically cut and paste my writeup from Basjoe on my first night…because I actually went to Basjoe the second night and not the first, after leaving Dampkring (OG one) and doing some wandering. Whoops. You see, when you are sleep deprived and high, you get shit mixed up. I get the feeling there are more than a few travelogues with hazy calendar dates mixed in, and that’s quite alright.

*However at Basjoe..something I did but didn't include in my writeup... I of course walked in here pretty blazed, but probably more exhausted than anything. I remember walking in, and just staring at the menu but being unable to really process anything in the moment. I was reading words but nothing was really registering. I probably had my mouth hanging open like Fuller does in Home Alone when Joe Pesci is first talking to him at the front of the house. I don't think I drooled at least. Budtender asked if he could help, but I wasn't really ready to talk or order yet. But I was on the spot communicatively. For some reason no one will ever know, including myself, I asked to look at the white widow. I had no intention of getting white widow, I don't think at least. Was this an awkward social survival technique to buy more time to look at the menu? Maybe? I looked at the WW and then randomly got a gram of super lemon haze. And so that's how I arrived at getting SLH, an indecisive web of twists and turns so not as to hold the line up.
*While sitting in Basjoe, some really loud people come in wanting to use the bathroom. The budtender says you have to purchase something to use the bathroom. The fellow pee pee hopefuls get super technical and questiony with the bud tender asking stuff like,"well how many people can use it for a purchase here, what is the minimum purchase, etc?" This of course is a poor location choice for bathroom bartering, but the bud tender handles it peacefully from what I could see. The group leaves, but then some time later the loudest and needed to pee the worst guy comes in, pays the bud tender in a quick exchange of currency, uses the can, and is off on his way.
*Random Basjoe Memory Time! - In a TnT here back in November 2011 other ACD'ers, a guy nobody knew popped into Basjoe and came over to hang with our our group. Or at least we thought. He barely said anything and a joint was passed his way almost immediately. He took a pull or two and passed. I don't think he was a smoker, and he whitied REAL quick. He was on his way outta there pretty fast, and I don't think he even sat down or told anyone his name. He may have been in the CS for just a few minutes, if even that long. It was a bizarre moment. I always wondered...was he there to meet up with ACD but just got blasted on maybe an empty stomach or low blood sugar? Was he just someone who came into their first coffee shop experience ever who was handed a lit J basically right after setting foot in the establishment, before he could even order or get his bearings straight? Was he some drifter who was already out of his mind? As a group I think we assumed he had been drinking before, and the mixture of the two caused the whitey.

I head home from Basjoe on foot, ready to be back at my spot well before nearly 1am as I was the prior night. I get in a little before midnight, chill for a bit and then hit the hay. It was a packed and great second day.
Trips to the 'dam: 5 ('02,'10,'11,'14, '24)
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HitTheNorth
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Re: A decade away...but made it back!

Post by HitTheNorth »

Great report mate. Loving reading your little asides and memories alongside the trip itself. Thank you
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CesarJeez
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Re: A decade away...but made it back!

Post by CesarJeez »

I know I'm not including a lot on strains and CS's, but thank you all for reading and commenting! Hope to post a writeup for days 3 and 4 soon.
Trips to the 'dam: 5 ('02,'10,'11,'14, '24)
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jollylittlehun
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Re: A decade away...but made it back!

Post by jollylittlehun »

Really good read. Thanks for posting
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starcatcher
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Re: A decade away...but made it back!

Post by starcatcher »

CesarJeez wrote: Mon 8th Apr 2024 01:07 am Was he just someone who came into their first coffee shop experience ever who was handed a lit J basically right after setting foot in the establishment, before he could even order or get his bearings straight?
:lol: :lol: :lol:
trips to The Dam: 6 ('04, '08, '09, '10, '12, '13)
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