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notsofasteddie, December 19, 2010 in Toking Traveler's Tales
The 2018 Amsterdam Cannabis Cup had some stiff competition. Here’s who came out on top.
By Chloé Harper Gold
This past weekend, we traveled abroad to the Netherlands for this year’s Amsterdam Cannabis Cup. The competition brought attention to dozens of hard-working and inspiring people—growers, innovators, and company owners. Here are the seed companies that are the winners of the 2018 Amsterdam Cannabis Cup:
1st Place: Gelato 41 by Field Extracts x Connected Cannabis
Sean Cooley/ High Times
2nd Place: Headbanger by Nature Boyz x Karma Genetics
3rd Place: Sour Power OG by Karma Squad x Flawless Extract
1st Place: Biscotti by Connected Cannabis
2nd Place: Rainbow Rider by Karma Squad
3rd Place: Smarties by Kush for Breakfast
1st Place: Wedding Cake by PhenoFinders Seeds
2nd Place: Spumoni by The Plug Seed bank x Alien labs
3rd Place: Gelato 41 by Connected Cannabis
1st Place: Gelonade by Connected Cannabis
2nd Place: Purple Strawberry Sherbert by PhenoFinders Seeds
3rd Place: Purple Lemon Punch by The Plug Seed Bank
Sean Cooley/ High Times
Pride of Amsterdam: city's oldest gay bar celebrates survival The orgies have gone, but bingo night still draws the crowds: how the Spijker bar has defied the decline of the city’s gay scene
Wed 25 Jul 2018
Canal’s treat ... Participants dance to music on a packed canal boat during Pride Amsterdam. The Spijker Bar, the city’s oldest gay bar, will have its own boat this year to celebrate its 40th anniversary.
“There’s not a single place I haven’t had sex,” reminisces LGBT campaigner and former porn actor Gerrit-Jan Wielinga, 47, showing me around Amsterdam’s oldest gay bar, the Spijker, which turns 40 this year. From 2000 to 2005 he worked as a bartender here: a place where lifelong friendships were made and sex and cheap beer were on tap.
Since those days, the Spijker has hardly changed. The small, dimly lit bruin cafė, with its blacked-out windows, red lights and erotic art, still has its vintage pool table at the back and an open fire. Spijker’s trademark twin TVs behind the bar – one showing porn, and one with cartoons (today it’s Snow White) – have been there since the 80s. Punters would sometimes do a double take, Wielinga remembers, when they recognised him in the onscreen action.
Upstairs, though, the voyeur mirrors around the urinals have gone and the famous dark room is now more of a cupboard – illustrating the bar’s shift from prime cruising spot to a place to meet friends.
The interior of the Spijker. The decor has not changed in years, although the bar’s primary function has shifted from cruising to a place to meet friends.
Photograph: Courtesy: Deborah Nicholls-Lee
The city beyond the bar echoes this change, with mass tourism now engulfing Amsterdam’s gay scene, and gay and straight visitors partying side by side. Since the late 90s, budget air travel has attracted stag parties and other young weekenders, drawn to the red light district and coffee shops, creating a lucrative market for property investors and squeezing the gay bars out.
Ted Scheele, 67, and her husband Pim, 78, have been coming to the bar since the 70s, when Spijker catered mainly to the leather crowd. “In the beginning, people came here and they did not tell the outside that they were gay. This [place] was very safe, very private,” she says. Today, it is the open friendliness of the bar that makes it special. “Many gay people bring their sisters, their brothers and even their mothers! Even with the videos, they don’t mind – they see actually what it is to be gay.”
When the Spijker opened on Amsterdam’s Kerkstraat in 1978, the area was bursting with gay bars and hotels, and the Leidsestraat – cutting through it and book-ended with gay discos – was nicknamed the “Rue de Vaseline”. Spijker was known for its most beautiful butt competition, in which the winner received a 100-guilder note between their bum cheeks. In 1983, when the bar came under the ownership of theatre enthusiast Raphael Brandow, it even opened its own 65-seat repertory theatre, staging experimental pieces as well as jolly musicals.
When the Spijker bar opened on Kerkstraat in 1978, the area was bursting with gay bars and hotels. Gay tourism is now more concentrated on festivals and events.
Photograph: Deborah Nicholls-Lee
But the Spijker was hit hard by the advent of Aids in Amsterdam. “One by one, they dropped dead like dominoes,” remembers Pim. “There were times when there were [just] five people in the bar, standing there like skeletons in their leather pants.” Then a GP in the red light district, he estimates that between 1980 and 1986 his practice lost around 150 patients to the disease.
The epidemic demonstrated the importance of the Spijker community and brought its customers closer together. Under a new owner, New Yorker Tony Derosa, the Spijker responded to the Aids crisis and re-engaged a reeling community by organising safe-sex parties during which marshals would circulate carrying trays of condoms and making sure the house rules were observed.
“We were a family and it was a support system,” says Mancunian Paul Tarrant, 57, the Spijker’s current owner, who started at the bar as a cleaner and condom distributor in 1995. “In those days, people needed people to confide in.”
Didi Licious hosting Saturday night bingo at the Spijker. The event draws the bar’s biggest crowd. Photograph: Courtesy: Deborah Nicholls-Lee
Today, the gay heartlands of the Kerkstraat, the Reguliersdwarsstraat and the red light district are struggling to survive. Since 2010, gay bars such as Argos, Bar Arc, Bump, Café April, Café Soho, Cockring and Havana – to name a few – have all shut up shop despite an action programme launched by the municipality in 2009 to re-establish Amsterdam as the gay capital of Europe. Bankruptcy is the biggest cause, but drugs busts and rent arrears have also forced closures. Now touristy bars, restaurants and karaoke joints serving a mixed crowd have taken their place.
The younger gay people don’t need gay bars any more. They have empowerment now
Paul Tarrant, owner
Just one gay sauna remains, NZ, co-owned by New Zealander Richard Keldoulis, also the manager of Church cruise club. “We [the gay community] had 34 venues with dark rooms when I came here [in 1990],” he says. “Now we’re down to, I think, eight or seven.”
Amsterdam’s cruise bars never really recovered from the Aids epidemic, he says, which knocked out a whole generation of business people and tainted the sex industry. Cruising patterns have since changed and the sector has failed to adapt. “Gay business has stopped being inventive and new and fashionable … There’s a lot where you go in and they’re still playing Eurovision … I don’t think we’re giving people what they want.”
A typical artwork by Touko Laaksonen, aka Tom of Finland, who once drank at the Spijker.
Illustration: Illustrations © Tom Of Finland Foundation
It’s a trend mirrored across the globe, with gay meccas such as London, New York and Tel Aviv all reporting a diminished gay scene. In Soho and Vauxhall, London’s vanishing gay villages, and in New York’s “gaybourhood” of Chelsea, gentrification and rent increases have made it hard for independent gay clubs to compete with the budgets of large property developers and their more profitable super-sized ventures. A once-thriving alternative scene has made way for luxury flats and a homogenised entertainment district.
Gay dating apps such as Grindr and Hornet have also made gay bars increasingly obsolete.
“In the 70s, 80s and 90s, you needed to get out of your house; you needed to go to a park or a bar or a discotheque,” says Wielinga. “I remember all those long nights, hunting men like crazy … With the apps, you can have sex with your neighbour.”
Tarrant believes emancipation is also a factor in the scene’s decline. His regulars tend to be over 40. “The younger gay people don’t need gay bars any more,” he says. “They have empowerment now.
“The typical 90s gay scene is changing,” agrees Janine Fluyt, spokesperson for Amsterdam Marketing, but says Amsterdam is still known as “the open, tolerant and inclusive city, where everyone is welcome”. Gay tourism is still thriving here, she says, but is now more about festivals such as Milkshake and Pride.
In this changing climate, the Spijker has done well to outlive so many of its competitors. To celebrate its 40th anniversary, the bar will have its own boat in the canal parade on the 4 August, the highlight of Pride Amsterdam. This year the theme is “heroes”, and the Spijker crew will be commemorating the bar’s early days by dressing as gay icons of the 70s, including Tom of Finland, who once drank at the bar.
The orgies are no more. Now it’s bingo night, hosted each Saturday by drag act Miss Didi Licious, that draws the biggest crowd. The strength of the Spijker, says Tarrant, has really always been the social aspect rather than the cruise scene: “You can come in here on your own and you don’t know anybody and they’ll say, ‘Hi, how are you doing?’ … It’s just so friendly.”theguardian
Amsterdam Pride’s Canal Parade is one of the most unique Pride parades in the world.
All on water, 80 boats from the Dutch community take to the water to celebrate Pride.
The theme this year was ‘Heroes’.
This meant superhero costumes, Wonder Woman kissing Catwoman, and many shirtless guys and girls.
Gay Star News was there in the middle of it all, live streaming on Facebook.
Take a look at some of our best pics, as well as a few from Instagram, here:
Instagram/Bianca Del Rio
July 25, 2018
Arnhem girls to Zeeland chatterboxes: here’s 11 Dutch regional food specialties
Life & culture
August 17, 2018
Last year PostNL brought out a series of stamps featuring Dutch regional foodThere are lots of places in the Netherlands that have their own culinary speciality. And so as not to allow any misunderstanding as to their provenance, they tacked the name to the product. Here’s 11 local delicacies from all over the country in no particular order of preference. And before you mention it, no, we have not included cheese. There are simply too many of them.Amsterdamse uien
Succulent yellow pickled onions, Amsterdamse uien are so named because they were a popular snack sold by Jewish street vendors in the working class areas of Amsterdam.The onions are pickled in vinegar and herbs and saffron or curcumin are added in, which gives them their distinctive colour.Bossche bollen
They are the devil’s food, of course, or what else would you call a big puff pastry ball filled with whipped cream covered in chocolate. They were thought up in Den Bosch by a baker called Lambermont in the 18th century and are still going strong, selling in their thousands at Jan de Groot’s bakery in Den Bosch.Haagse hopjes
This coffee flavoured hard candy is the brainchild of Baron Hendrik Hop who lived in The Hague in the 18th century. A coffee addict, he went to sleep (!) after a heavy night’s coffee drinking, leaving a cup of coffee with cream and sugar on a heater where it hardened. The taste appealed to him, his neighbour happened to be a confectioner and the rest is history.
Photo: rs-foto via Wikimedia CommonsTexels lam
A breed specific to this Waddeneiland, the Texel lamb eats slightly salted grass and breaths slightly salted air which gives it its distinguishing taste. Rumour has it that former queen Beatrix is a fan and that she used to feed Texels lamb to visiting dignitaries. The lamb is allowed to frolic in a Texel field for 100 days, leading a happy, stress free life which, according to the local butchers, makes it taste even better and makes consumers feel better at the same time.Gelderse rookworst
The origins of the Gelderse smoked sausage lie indeed in the province of Gelderland where 19th century farmers had to find ways of preserving the various bits of the pig they slaughtered and decided to smoke their sausages. Every year sausage makers, mostly from Gelderland, compete in the national Gelderse rookworstwedstrijd in Arnhem. Gelderse rookworst is not a protected name so everyone can make it and lots do. But consumer organisation Consumentenbond tested 16 and found they all contained too much salt and fat, so beware.Arnhemse meisjes
We stick around a bit longer in Gelderland to savour the delights of Arnhem girls which, before you ask, are a type of biscuit made from yeast dough and sprinkled with sugar. They are called Arnhem biscuits in foreign parts and Roald Dahl liked them so much he put them in his Revolting Recipe cookbook.Zeeuwse boterbabbelaars
A hard candy made with sugar, butter, water and a little bit of vinegar, the first Zeeuwse boterbabbelaars were commercially sold in Middelburg in 1892 by JB Diesch which is still churning them out today. A babbelaar is a chatterbox and the story goes that the sweet was much in demand at gatherings of chattering ladies who had them with their tea.
Photo: Els Diederen via Wikimedia CommonsLimburgse vlaai
A Limburgse vlaai is a piece of a round bread dough of around 30cm in diameter topped with different fruits or rice and covered with a latticework of dough. The bakers of Limburg are lobbying for a European quality mark to ban inferior products which they say are bringing the name of Limburgse vlaai in disrepute.Zwolse balletjes
If you want to buy Zwolse balletjes you will have to travel to the city of Zwolle in the province of Overijssel to buy them. It’s the only place that sells the real thing. Amazingly, these sweets are still made and sold on the same premises as when they were first invented in 1845. Made from sugar dough and with different flavours added to them, the Zwolse Balletjes’ exact formula is a closely guarded secret.Utrechtse Vockinworst
So what is a Vockingworst except something that sounds rude in English? It is a dark grey coloured liverwurst named after one Paul Vocking who invented it in 1891.Groninger eierbal
This one will be familiar to many: it is a Scotch egg. Groningen is famous for this deep-fried, egg and ragout filled breaded ball. It is typically sold in snack bars alongside berenhappen, frikandellen, kapsalons and other Dutch favourites.dutchnews
Speaking of instagram. You all have very interesting pages in instagram and history. It seems to me that the same instagram accounts should be popular. You should, I do not know, turn to some kind of service, that would get instagram followers. It will be very effective. In addition, this service provides real live subscriptions.
The Rijsttafel Roundup: 10 Indonesian Restaurants in Amsterdam – Rated
20 August 2018As all Amsterdammers know but many visitors don’t, Indonesian food is widely eaten in the Netherlands due to the two countries’ colonial history (too complicated to go into here, but Google it). So when in the Dutch capital, checking out one of the Indonesian restaurants in Amsterdam is a must. Don’t leave the city without trying a rijsttafel (literally: “rice table”): dozens of small, shareable dishes ranging from mild to spicy, in all colours of the rainbow, served with rice.
Although something of a Dutch invention (locals in Indonesia aren’t eating rijsttafels), it’s a great way to try lots of dishes in one meal. Satay skewers – generally chicken and goat – are a staple, as are various curries (meat and fish), boiled eggs in spicy sauces, vegetables in peanut sauce (wonderfully named gado-gado) and fried bananas. But there’s much more besides, depending on the particular restaurant’s selection of rijsttafel. Of course, if you’d rather stick with just one dish all to yourself, these places offer plenty of Indonesian specialties as starters and main courses, too.
Don’t leave the city without trying a rijsttafel (literally: “rice table”): dozens of small, shareable dishes ranging from mild to spicy, in all colours of the rainbow, served with rice.
In this article, I’ve focused on the Indonesian restaurants in Amsterdam, where you can turn up for a proper sit-down meal with wine (or whatever your poison may happen to be). And, believe me, you’ll need a decent-sized table just to fit all the dishes that will inevitably appear if you order a rijsttafel. But there are of course plenty of tokos offering takeaway Indonesian food in Amsterdam, or holes-in-the-wall where you can sit down to eat a quick meal without alcohol.Blauw
For a long time, Blauw was my favourite Indonesian restaurant in Amsterdam. I liked its split-level interior and bold décor that eschews the kitschiness that often goes along with Asian restaurants. I liked the fact that it’s a bit of a trek – down at the bottom of the Vondelpark on the Amstelveenseweg – which meant it wasn’t full of tourists. I also loved its rijsttafel, which comprised a huge selection of boat-shaped dishes ranging from mild to super-spicy.
But the last time I went it had gone down a notch in my estimation – the dishes still tasted good, but were lacking in heat. In both senses of the word. I heard on the Amsterdam restaurant grapevine that several of Blauw’s original chefs defected to Ron Gastrobar Indonesia (more on that below) when it opened. Who knows? Blauw’s still definitely worth a visit, but it’s not what it used to be.
•Rijsttafel Rating: 4/5
The boat-shaped dishes of the rijsttafel at restaurant BlauwTempo Doeloe
More central (it’s on the Utrechtsestraat) is Tempo Doeloe, where the dishes come on three different trays – starting with the mildest and ending with the hottest. I’ve been to Tempo Doeloe several times (although admittedly the last time was a while ago) and it’s the one restaurant that’s still preparing the odd dish that’ll make steam come out of your ears.
The final two dishes are nuclear – you have been warned. Also worth a warning is the service: don’t expect to be seated quickly (even if you have a reservation); don’t expect a lot of smiles (at least, not genuine ones); and don’t expect free tap water. The food here is great, but the overall experience leaves a little to be desired.
•Rijsttafel Rating: 4/5
Just a fraction of the spicy rijsttafel at Tempo DoeloeIndonesian Kitchen
The rijsttafel at Indonesian Kitchen may be on the pricey side compared to other restaurants in Amsterdam, but then again it is slap bang in the middle of the Canal Belt – and besides, you do get quite a lot of bang for your buck.
After a trio of starters, a spicy fish soup, and some chicken and goat satay skewers, you’ll move onto the rijsttafel proper: a collection of eight small, spicy dishes to share. There are classics like beef rendang, gado-gado, and a spicy chicken curry, which are nothing special.
But there are also some less obvious dishes that steal the show: shell-on king prawns came with a tasty sambal that lent a welcome hit of chilli, for example. Meanwhile, lamb cutlets were still pink in the middle and served with a sweet soy sauce much like the goat satay earlier. A good pick for tasty Indonesian food in the heart of the Canal Belt area – if you can handle all the tourists.
•Rijsttafel Rating: 4/5
Spicy shrimps on Indonesian Kitchen’s rijsttafelRon Gastrobar Indonesia
Chef Ron Blaauw already has a series of restaurants in Amsterdam showcasing everything from French cuisine to Oriental specialities. But it’s worth taking a trip to Oudekerk aan de Amstel (around a 40-minute cycle ride from the south of the city centre) to try the rijsttafel at Ron Gastrobar Indonesia.
And here, Java-born Chef Agus is in charge. His satay is to die for – the chicken and goat meat perfectly moist yet charred on the outside, and the sauces spicy yet sweet. Both the eggs and the fried shrimps have the perfect level of chilli heat. And all the curries are succulent and distinctly different in flavour. The wine list and service are what you’d expect from a fine dining restaurant, but the prices are surprisingly modest. My only criticism is that I’d have liked it if a few more of the dishes were on the spicy end of the spectrum.
•Rijsttafel Rating: 4.5/5
Ron Gastrobar Indonesia – worth the bike rideSampurna
In contrast, old-timer Sampurna is right in the centre of Amsterdam, just off the bustling flower market on the Singel canal. Yes, it may be full of tourists, but the food is still good and reasonable value given the location. It’s been in business for over 25 years – so they must be doing something right!
•Rijsttafel Rating: 3/5
The first time I went to Kartika, we were forced to order our food before we’d even sat down, and were hustled out the door less than an hour later. But because the food was actually pretty good, I ended up going back.
The manager there called me out on what I’d written the first time (he actually remembered me, amazingly), which was awkward but at least we both got to say our piece. Suffice to say that the second time the service was much more leisurely, and the food was just as good. Beef rendang had excellent warm spices and a rich sauce; gado-gado was fresh and fragrant, not cloying with peanut butter as is often the case.
Two chicken dishes were good and distinctly different from each other: a hotter version in a thin, chilli-based broth; and a milder version in a sweet, soy-based sauce with plenty of aromatic anise. And Kartika also serves one of the cheapest rijsttafels in Amsterdam, which is good to know for those on a budget. No reservations nor free water, however.
•Rijsttafel Rating: 3.5/5
The record-time rijsttafel at KartikaMama Makan
What distinguishes Mama Makan from almost everywhere else on this list is its atmosphere. Its fresh botanical interior, its extensive wine-list, its rijsttafel served in traditional “courses”: this is an Indonesian restaurant you want to take your parents to.
The food arrives in five rounds, which gives the meal a nice leisurely pace that’s often lacking when eating a rijsttafel. When it comes to the dishes themselves, a couple are excellent: the chicken satay was one of the best I’ve tried, and the spicy shrimps and seabass with shallots were big hits.
The dessert was also a tropical revelation of fruit flavours and creamy coconut. However, much of the rest of the food leaves a lot to be desired – in general, I got the impression the kitchen was playing it very safe for its cruise-ship clientele. This is Indonesian cuisine for people who don’t like spicy food. There’s nothing wrong with that (and it’s a question I’m often asked) but it’s not for the chilli addicts.
•Rijsttafel Rating: 2.5/5
Editor’s note: I was invited to eat at Mama Makan by their PR agency, so I didn’t pay for my meal.
Excellent satay at Mama MakanJun
The first time I went to Jun I didn’t order the rijsttafel, which in hindsight was perhaps a good thing. I went back a couple of years later to try it, and was disappointed to discover how few dishes are actually included compared to other Indonesian restaurants in Amsterdam. Those that came were lacking in spice (I was told the Dutch clientele generally ask for the dishes to be milder) and a bit of variety – there was a predominance of chicken. However, I did enjoy Jun’s soto ayam – a chicken-laden broth that’s aromatic with lemongrass, ginger and turmeric. And the service is very friendly.
•Rijsttafel Rating: 3/5
•Website: restaurantjun.nlSama Sebo
Sama Sebo is one of the oldest Indonesian restaurants in the Netherlands, having been serving customers from its kitsch brown-café location for over 35 years. So you’d think, after all that time, that they’d know when they’re doing. You’d be wrong.
We’d no sooner got our wine than the dishes started arriving – suspiciously quickly. It felt like we were part of a production line of tourists being fed our requisite dozen or so plates before the next busload arrived. The dishes were variations on bland, cold, dry, and whatever the opposite of spicy is.
I get that restaurants dumb down the spice levels for the western palate, but seriously – this was so dumbed down it was fake news. The pork satay was (reliably) about the best thing on the menu, but the other meat dishes lacked much of the flavour of warm spices that you’d expect from that part of the world. The gado-gado and green beans were limp, sorry shadows of their former selves, and the side dishes lacked anything to pep up the main event. The sambal with shrimp crackers was the only thing that didn’t disappoint.
•Rijsttafel Rating: 1/5
Rijsttafel at Sama Sebo: best avoidedCafé AMOI
I have a confession to make about Café AMOI: I’ve only actually tried three of the dishes there (I ate them as part of a food tour with Eating Europe), but I liked them so much that I wanted to include the restaurant here.
Namely, AMOI served possibly the best gado-gado I’ve ever eaten in Amsterdam: the vegetables freshly cooked to al dente perfection and the peanut sauce sweetly savoury.
I also tried the corn fritters, peppered with kaffir lime leaves and dipped in a spicy sauce, as well as the traditional Indonesian spekkoek (spiced layer cake). It was enough to make me want to go back and order a lot more next time.
•Rijsttafel Rating: not yet rated
•Cost: dishes sold separately for €5.50-13.50
A general observation: When I first started visiting Indonesian restaurants in Amsterdam around a decade ago, the chilli could blow your head off. I’m not sure whether my taste buds have been assaulted with so much capsaicin by this point in my late 30s that it now takes a lot more to make me sweat, or whether the spice levels in the dishes have been taken down a few notches.
Perhaps it’s a bit of both. But either way, if your chilli tolerance is low then don’t worry – there’s plenty on a rice table that you’ll be able to eat comfortably. And if you’re a chilli fiend, I can only sympathise. I miss the burn too…amsterdamfoodie
Post by Kenshiro »
Day 2Strange first wake up in Mokum....where am I? why I am I fully clothed? why is my hood up? why have I slept like Agatha Christie`s Hercule Poirot in an open casket style burial pose???....oh I`m in Amsterdam...in the Bulldog....riiiiiight.
Feeling rather blurry eyed this morning after the long first day, much consumption and sun..I must shake this and get going! It must have been around 9am as I remember feeling annoyed for waking up so late!, A quick unwanted flashback from walking through the dorm room in the dark late last night fills my memory.....I remember seeing what I can only describe as how my rather intoxicated self saw in the darkness...a naked body of a sumo wrestler hanging out of a lower bunk...completely weird but I remember the pale skin tone shining bright in the pitch black, pretty much shitting myself and also being concerned that said body was dead!...turns out it was some middle aged solo traveller...more on him later....
A quick scrub and cloth change later, I`m heading out with my vapes and in desperate need for that oh so essential elixir of life....please someone provide me with that dirty dark energy water of the gods!
I head into the "Lounge" downstairs and there's your usual standard fair of hostel breakfast consisting of cheeses, meats, cereal, some fruit and sliced bread - what is with that sweet bread? I cant stand the stuff its awful even by UK standards! Looking over at the bar and my eyes are fixated on the shiny steel silos of survival juice.....The Bulldog have these weird tartan disposable cups for hot drinks that make you feel like you`re at a kids birthday party minus the streamers and cake ( Or Jelly and Blancmange).
It isn't the best hostel coffee I`ve had but it isn't the worst either...I fill another party cup and head out onto the terrace for the W&B.
Stepping out onto the canal-side terrace and the sun is absolutely beaming down, the one and only Ed the Head is present chatting to a female hostel resident who seems to be on the dog end of her trip - her sad vibes are creeping towards me and I don't like it haha
* I remember chatting to Ed for a bit and blasting a bowl or two of Lemon Bubble which was really good, making a note to myself to pick some more up this week as it is the first time trying it and I always seem to only see the Silver Bubble on my previous trips..after this, my memory and lack of notes taken on this trip evade me( I think that either OHMF got to La Grotte before me and we arranged to meet there or he arrived on the terrace and we left together? who knows!? I was hoping OHMF would complete his 2nd day TR to assist my memory!) Anyway.....
Bidding Ed fair well for the day sure we will cross paths again on the boat later...Grabbing the bike feels quite alien, I`m so used to being a foot soldier!- Pedal powering my way over to Haarlemmerstraat, La Grotte is easily located and the bike locked up....OHMF has 3 eggs and 2 toast and I like the look of it! I`m not particularly fussed on the inferior breakfast meats that NL tries to pass off as acceptable fayre...especially the piss poor excuse for sausages that they have- I'm not a big meat eater anyway so eggs seems a good option.
3 eggs, 2 toast and an espresso ordered some stash gets attacked and some loose plans for the day made- La Grotte is such an easy option and whilst it isn't gourmet it is very fit for purpose, open relatively early and somewhere you can consume! The staff are also good here and aren't pushy at all.
OHMF and I make a plan to do a quick scout around some shops to nose some wares before the Haarlem trip today- we randomly end up heading west on Brouwersgracht towards Coffeeshop 137, nothing really stands out so we make a move back to Haarlemmerstraat.
OHMF wants to have a nose in "Coffeeshop Amsterdam" I`m up for it as they will have something on my strain list "Dr.Grinspoon".
upon entering the young fellow adorned with slick hair and hipster looking glasses greats us and offers his help, OHMF takes a look at a few things and asks what the best strain is at the moment the BT replies " Thish is C5 Haze-sh, I know you cant get Haze-sh in UK huh!" We both let out a wry smile.....I ask to see the Grinspoon - It looks a little dry and seems to be a few euro cheaper than it is normally advertised (16 instead of 18).
The young hipster BT then seizes the opportunity to enforce more of his infinite canna wisdom on what he thinks are two unknoweldgable UK stoners - he then makes this bold claim "yesh the schtalks have a high THC content so you need to grind the schtalks and the schtems and schmoke them too"
OHMF as am I in utter disbelief look at each other in a "did he actually just say that?!" way...I try not to acknowledge the BT because it`s bad and potentially harmful advice to give someone- BT then pipes up with "you can schay yesch or yah you know?"
I purchased the Grinspoon but we still left in a state of half disbelief and half hysterics I made a promise to myself never to buy product from there again (Never liked that shop anyway!
We decide to find a friendlier and more sensible establishment so we hop on the fiets and head a short ride to Siberie - I always give this place a chance and usually find it falling short of expectations certainly in comparison to one of it's partner/part of the chain shops in Supermarkt.
A few tubs are nosed and I opt for the Chocolope as the buds are big and tub gives a decent smell, sadly she doesn't quite live up to expectation in the flavour department (This seems to be a common denominator of a lot of older big name strains that were always reliable in Amsterdam, I guess mothers and genetics have been lost over time and/or breeder left for pastures new and took with them?)
A quick blast of vapes and we're saddle cemented onto our next botanical retail environment- Boerejongens Centre
Being fairly new to the Boere chain of shops I've only made a small number of purchases but have been pleased...mostly.
There are quite a few bits I want to try and know I will be walking out with a few purchases today!
NL5 XHaze - this smelled and looked amazing so I grabbed a bag (This strain seems to have disappeared from most menus now after being found nearly everywhere for years and years) it was a delight to consume - nice effect, good complex taste profile from both of it's parents and gave plenty of vapour production.
Pineapple Haze - There was some tub smell and the buds looked decent but sadly there wasnt any strength or flavour transfer from this example. shame.
Jack Herer - This was lurking at the bottom of the menu for a mere 9 euros. I can honestly say this is one of the best examples I`ve ever seen of the strain, dense structure with plenty of taste as you expect from Jack Herer and it was fairly hard hitting! certainly one of my favourite buys of the trip.
Making moves now to catch up with more of the crew ready for the Haarlem expedition we head north for the centre closer to the station. Parking our bikes close to Voyagers we bump into Choppermike who has just arrived - he explains he needs to go get a rental bike says he`ll catch us later..does a 180 turn and disappears into the Mokum bustle.
A rendezvous with Nugs is organised and we meet him along a canal close by.
ACD crew starts to assemble and I cant quite remember who was there altogether but I remember there was a farily good crowd of us! The time has cometh and we all march for Centraal to rail our way to Haarlem.......
IIRC we all end up on the first platform and end up walking to the westerly end where another platform begins...we can see the train is there and ready to leave any minute - most of the group dash for the train and as Nugs and I start to pick up pace OHMF in a semi dazed/own bubble states that he needs a drink and just peels off into a store/establishment on the platform?!? most of the group hop onto the train and I think we and a few others hang back for OHMF. The next train is boarded and we`re on our way to Haarlem.
My mind is still undecided on Haarlem at this point, I have only visited there once on my first ever trip to the Netherlands and I know I liked the product and coffeeshops but I just didn't find the city itself particularly pretty or memorable in a positive way. I`m still eager to return with more of an open mind and some expectation at least.
We arrive and alight the train into that oh so random square/bus station interchange- we cross over to Willie Wortels Sativa and some of the crew are still there, I decide to give flower purchase a miss here as we have other shops to visit and nothing jumps out at me...marching onwards we all end up at Willie Wortels Indica shop - bigger establishment with quite a large bar and seating area, a rosin squishing session soon proceeds with various members of the crew buying the pressing packs and furiously squishing away hashes and Flowers.
I`m still feeling a bit stoned over and generally a bit meh so park myself at a table and get chatting a few members- IIRC this was Jaybee420, Smirks, Pierre and many others! My stash starts getting some attack action but I decide to make a purchase here- White Widow gave some good tub appeal and was dirt cheap so I bought a gram.....but boy was it underwhelming on every level!
Some of the crew hot foot it off to the next destination and a few stragglers hang back after a few more drinks then head onwards to the next stop which is Willie Wortles Sensemillia shop, on route and I start to feel like a part of me is missing? The bike! Damn I`ve started to notice how useful and utterly zen riding a bike is around clogsville (wish I had it now!)
it`s a fair old walk to the next place and Nugs expresses his desire to head back to Mokum I agree and make a point that I also want to leave soon. (I`m pretty sure when we left here we bumped into Kermit and someone else??)
agreement made that this will be the last shop before returning to Disneyland we arrive at the shop to a queue that is as long as the tall stairs here! We make it up and there is a tiny BT booth serving a lot of youngsters as well as our group. My turn now comes and the Diesel whore in me has me reaching for that Sour Diesel 9 euro deal, the BT explains that there are some seeds in it though
I risk it and we all head through the large room which reminds me a little in shape and size of the apartment from the film "Big" with Tom Hanks, we make our way onto a fairly large roof terrace area which at present is a great sun trap..granted it doesn't have the best view being on the rear of the building next to the road but it sure is the best spot of any establishment I`ve visited in Haarlem.
Another stash attack underway and the Diesel is pretty awful- seeds, Somari genetic profile, general budget weed! I find myself trying to plough through it and the White Widow but they are both sickeningly bad!
Enough of Haarlem we head back for the train and make our way back to Mokum to get ready for Spidergawd's Memorial Smokeboat.
Quick freshen up at the Bulldog and then it's a short stroll down to the boat meet up, a few bowls are had on the canal side and we notice there are some people on the boat, a young couple?
More ACD heads arrive and we all wait for Macky to turn up...knowing there's some mix up because people are on the boat that we've booked out.
Macky isn't impressed and rightly explains this our boat and it's all been arranged.
The confused captain apologizes and has to embarrisngly kick the young couple off the boat and explain they'll have to be on the next one.
With that sorted ACD pile onto the boat, there's cool boxes at the back stocked with beers and soft drinks. Plenty of tables and seating on the back of the boat too. the dab crew start furiously ripping glassware from bags and setting up like made scientists.
The boat sets off and the blissful session ensues, I remember being given a beautiful dab of something that blew the cobwebs off and brought me back round, it was a most welcome effect. Staring out of the window at the great sights of boats on the IJ and the Mokum architecture slowly fading away I remember that this is my first boat experience in NL and what a great way to do it! In memory of a legendary ACD contributor Spidergawd.
In a zoned out state and having a moment with the great surroundings, I can't fully recollect everything on the boat however I do have a foggy memory of Ed the Head bouncing around and sorting people with drinks only to accidentally knock over Max's syrup/lean filled drink!
Also remember the boats advertising sign being knocked off my a low hanging bridge and everyone laughing at the captain for his school boy error.
With the boat now back at the RLD boarding point I can't remember what we all did? Not sure if we all headed to Batavia for another session and some shopping?
Later on that evening Nugs, Mofo and I head for the Skylounge on top of the Hilton....armed with backpacks and wares we head up the lift and out onto the rooftop terrace, there's a DJ spinning some form of upbeat house music and the place is packed with affluent, well dressed dutchies......then there is us 3 looking a bit rough and ready with backpacks and not dressed to impress at all!
The plan is to consume some vape bowls up here but it's very busy and no sign of anyone else consuming herb, Nugs tries to tactfully load the Pax but looks like the most shady stoner stereotype ever, flicking his eyes up and down and then trying to conceal what he's doing every 20 seconds or so by resting his hands hidden in a suspicious manner.
We had ordered some beers for table service when we arrived but 15 or so minutes has passed since we sat? A group of girls sat next to us vacate after the Pax fumes start to drift over (it absolutely reeked!) We agree to wait a few more minutes for the beers before pissing off, convinced by now that this was a subtle hint to piss off as we weren't welcome! Back down the lift and we head onto the platform next to Sea Palace for some successful consumption.
Quick flashback just happened and I think me and Mofo might have visited Family First coffeeshop somewhere in the evening.
Pretty sure we ended up having a canal side session outside the Bulldog before retiring for the evening.
Another long day...time to hit the hay.
Day3Another hazey wake up, another blurry Mokum headed morning.....I can't remember what time it was but only that is was later than I had wanted to get up. People are shuffling around the room and behind my bed I can hear someone messing with something....I turn my head and see the middle aged traveller, he's about a 3rd of the size I had envisiged on the evening before...wearing a khaki waistcoat with various pockets and he's adjusting some huge camera chest scaffolding contraption (this thing was about a foot deep and 3 feet long?!)
On said contraption is 7 cameras.....7....fucking...cameras?!?
He throws me a dirty look and I decide to get up uncomfortable with his 24 hr photo presence looming over my bed head....odd.
I remember I had been messaging RoMoney as he had landed the day before but got in quite late, He's on route to Utopia this morning and I explain Mofo and I are heading for La Grotte and will swing by later.
Steed speed in full effect La Grotte is reached in no time and breakfast is ordered, bags busted out and vapes firing up.
A shorter breakfast session today and then I'm pretty sure we hit some shops before Utopia but I've lost all my notes now and can't remember!
At Utopia there's a small crew of ACD (Buggered if I can remember but pretty sure it was Lemming, Bunny, Smirks, OHMF, 2 sticks, and more)
A small session is underway and I'm sat with my back to the window with the sun streaming in against it like content shop cat.
Ro whips out a small bong he's just bought and puffs a few hash bowls.....ChopperMike arrives and clumsily knocks the bong over made breaks it
CM in total disbelief apologizes profusely and promises to replace it right away so off he pops out of the door!
During CM's absence some of the crew what to move and discuss eating, shopping etc. Before the 4:20 meet up at 420 cafe. A few move on whilst we hang back for the others and CM.
The wanderer returns with a similar bong again apologizing....then almost knocks the new one over hahaha.
Nugs & Mofo have a plan to go high-yaking in Utrecht today and are trying to sway me but I'm having none of it, I'm stubborn on staying put in Mokum....they head for the train and I then remember heading off on a scouting mission and head for Coffeeshop Supermarkt with a plan to meet at 420 cafe later.
A few spins of the pedals I'm there in no time, I love this shop for it's basic decor and decent product, it's no frills but not rundown or shabby in anyway.
Nosing the menu I opt for some Thai, Purple and Critical Mass (the plan being to combust the first two with my sensitive lungs another time)
Then it's back on the steed and over to 420 Cafe.
Bike gets parked up on the Damrak and I jostle my way into 420 Cafe, the crew have commandeered the large table at the back....man this place is smokey...like tobacco smokey..yuk.
I buy some more 420 Diesel... it's super orangey but sweet enough that it has those clear sour notes without any offensive musk spoiling the profile (unlike that dirty ODV3/4 strain business!)
I sit and chat for a while with CC, Ed the Head, Lemming and a few others..Ro is furiously trying to herd everyone back together as gaps appear on the table with stoners meandering off left right and centre
I decided to grab some fresh air as the smog is killing me off and walk back out onto the Damrak when my phone rings.... It's a call I have to take and totally lose track of time..after the call finished I totally forgot what I was doing or where I was supposed to be in my foggy state and end up jumping on the bike and heading west in the canal rings?.
On my jaunt I find one of my favourite spots in Mokum, Hans Egstorf Bakery. This place does some amazing bakery good and sandwiches as well as fresh OJ. If you like it authentic come here it doesn't get much better! (Shits all over Albert Heijn baked goods) They'll gladly heat up any cookies etc. for you but be quick on the sandwiches as they sell out fast!
Outside you're on Spuistraat and there's a nice little fold down bench on the side of the building here you can munch away and people watch, this little street intersection although without water is still a great little slice of Mokum in a snapshot.
Cookie devored I'm now on a 1 man, 2 wheel mission to hit some new shops....
Suddenly I'm more north westerly and approaching CS Funky Monkey, having not visited before I decide to give it a whirl.
Upon entering there is a booth type set up and a door to be buzzed into the main shop, I look at the menu and there are some interesting bits but prices are pretty high across the board.
I smell a tub of "Blueberry Haze" which smells amazing then my eyes locate the OG Reek'n and that really stands out, so much so that I just buy the Blueberry Haze without thinking about what I'm doing.
Walking into the main shop area and it's pretty well decorated with a giant partial dartboard painted on one wall, there's a pool table and generous amounts of seating. It is a little dark in here but the positioning on the canal is also quite nice...but why is it empty in here???
As I sit down I open the Blueberry Haze bag and it doesn't smell like the tub did uh oh!.....it smells like synthetic flavouring and the bud has an obvious chemical adulterant covering it! I try a small bowl but quickly ditch out of the vape as it's hot, harsh and fucking disgusting!
I throw a scowl at the BT and scrunch up the bag and bud in the dirty ashtray so it can't be sold again.
The OG Reek'n however was really nice, plenty of citrus- diesel notes in smell and taste but leaning more on the Lime side of citrus, it has a fuel profile but with distinct spicy tones and a floral finish...actually a very good buy...but for now Funky Monkey are on the burn list for that sprayed Haze crap...shame on you!
On my way back to the centre I hit up coffeeshop Tertullia,
Inside on this boiling hot day this plant filled shop is like a sweaty greenhouse, stiflingly humid and we'll generally minging on the compost bin scale of moist and smelly.
A few bags viewed and nosed but they all seem sweaty and pissy grass smelling, more so than usual... there's one last strain to smell - Himalayan Gold, plenty of musky undertones but a definite pungent flavour coming from it...I buy a bag and leave for the centre.
From here I vaguely remember heading back across Dam square to the hostel and buying the worst pizza slice ever from the RLD very close to the Sensi seeds shop.
By this point Mofo and Nugs are on their way back from Utrecht and the rest of the crew scattered across the centrum somewhere.
I head for the rooftop terrace in the Bulldog to chill and blast a few bowls in the vapes.
Things again become patchy on the memory front, a session at Batavia definitely happened and I think this may have been the night of "James Sunglasses", syrup, dabs, beer the usual ACD buffet in the batcave.
I recall stumbling out hungry as hell and having some favourite chicken...my word that chicken was good! May have also had a cheeky FEBO cheesy parcel for afters!
Another canal side session happened for sure with me and Mofo watching a red light window across the canal from the Bulldog, I thought it would be amusing if we kept count of how many punters went in and out and how long between punters there was within a 40 minute period. Giggling and cheering away to ourselves we saw some crazy stuff - one guy certainly got his money's worth and was in there a good 20 minutes, he left she started to fan the door gross!
There were some punters mearly minutes apart, I can't remember how many she got through but it was a fair few in that short time!
Then the first guy we had seen go in and out came back and started giving the woman some change?! Maybe he went to get cash out or came back to tip??! He'll knows but it was all very amusing.
A few random homeless people start talking to us and are quickly sent on their way....shortly followed by some European girls who couldn't have been much older than 17 but they were clearly on some form of class A's, I was so stoned at this point I couldn't stop giggling..no idea why they wanted to chat to us for so long but I just felt awkward with the state I was in and the fact that both Mofo and I were old enough to be their fathers!
The more Mofo made small talk in response to there obvious high school intellect and conversation style, the more I giggled and the more I tried to contain it the worse it got...turning into sniggering and spluttering.
They eventually left or we started to get up I can't remember but it was a sure random encounter that only Mokum and The RLD could deliver to such a strange standard..... That's enough AMS for one night, time to hit the sack chaps.
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