I was not in Amsterdam for a bachelor party. It was a part of this Eurotrip-thing that I am currently vagabonding on. This bit of the adventure was supposed to be intentionally different. I was not completely on my own but instead, with a set of friends from Texas. Together, we were six and that’s six times more than my original crew. The whole ambition of this holiday was tenporarily rearranged. There is a stark contrast between traveling alone and traveling with a group. Traveling alone is more about doing things, quantity, where as travelling a group is more about spending time with close friends, quality. When I am alone, I cannot fathom the idea of doing nothing but when I am in a group, it’s more lax-ed. It’s more about conversations, laughter and company, with this fancy country thrown in the background. It’s a healthy combination of lethargy and excitement that has its own sense of smile. But, for optimal enjoyment, it’s crucial to be with close friends. If you’re not comfortably close to your group than the double dose of discomfort dis-configures your sense of fun. While I was with a delightful group of people, I didn’t know them as well as they knew each other. And then, I felt I was intruding. That doesn’t help, now does it?

I am not a believer in this ‘love at first sight’ business, but the tingling I felt when I first glimpsed Amsterdam was serenely pleasing. There was this signature about it. And it had nothing to do with Red Light fantasies or with excessive freedoms of intoxication. It was just that Amsterdam seemed so proper, so defined, so precise. There was this beautiful combination of water, roads and bikes. The openness of Dutch culture echoed through the city with a stamp of  “highly progressive”. The mass reliance on the greenest means of transport – bicycles – is refreshing and so well, practical. The arrangement of canals and stone-streets, and the minimalistic commercialization of the city is pride-worthy. There were not too many touristy sites and sounds. As a group, we explored the city on foot and bike, did the pub crawl, ‘visited’ the ‘coffeeshops,’ tried to pronounce Dutch street names and also drove into the country-side. We tasted Holland’s cheese, went “window shopping,” tried to comprehend the logic behind wooden shoes, and ate a ton of hot dogs. We learnt how beer is made, and why Heineken is the best beer in the world. I will be back in Amsterdam sooner than later. I want more of it. I want to live here and really get immersed.

The most betwixting part of Amsterdam was the languge. It seriously sounds complicated and hard to speak. The street names are bombastically, harrypotter-esquely epic. Vondelstraat. Vossiusstrat. Paulus Potterstraat. Utrechstse. Domselaerstraat. It sounds so baldardash-ly brash and is probably my least favorite part of the city. But, they also speak excellent English. They are friendly (besides the bike rages – I was more scared of the ripping bicycles than the modest cars). I attempted indulging in one of the multiple museums. The Van Gogh Museum, despite my lack of sobriety, was a complete waste of time. I even spent 5 extra Euros on an audio guide to get a deeper understanding of Van Gogh’s paintings but I still found it all a little too pretentious. Maybe, I am just not tuned to that kind of art.

All in all, Amsterdam is definitely more of a bachelor-party paradise, but it also has a distinct Dutch culture to offer. Every city has its own way of doing things and I love how Amsterdam does its thing. Kudos kudos.

P.S. Local Beer = Heineken = truly awesome.