Space Cadets —

Amsterdam has a vendetta against me. I swear it does. It was the first place in Europe I ever went; I was fifteen years old; I nearly froze to death. Eight years later I returned at the behest of a good friend. It sucked…again.

Our adventure began on a Sunday morning at 8am. Everything was packed and ready to go. We had food supplies to feed a regimen and enough blankets and sleeping bags to keep us warm in an arctic winter. Skillfully we managed to transport all of our gear by public transport to the car rental place, which, I tell you, was no small feat. When we arrived to collect the car I opened my backpack only to realize I had left my passport, residency card and drivers license at home; home was an hour away by train. This in and of itself would not have been a tragedy had not we agreed to transport two other people to Amsterdam by BlahBlah Car. I made the trip home to rescue my missing documents only to be told when I returned that I needed my American license in addition to prove my eligibility to drive.

In a panic I rushed back home and tore apart my room. My license was nowhere to be found. Fuming, I stormed out of the house to reconvene with Elisa and the fellow from Europecar who had driven us half way across the city. After considering how to approach this problem we reached a decision to try another rental shop (seeing as there was no hope of me renting a car from any of the big chains without an American license to show that I had, indeed, been driving for longer than a year). Finally, double the price, triple the stress and one 20 year old Renault later, Elisa, I and our two BlahBlah Car passengers were on the way to Amsterdam.

A view of Amsterdam
Sunday morning streets in Amsterdam

Let me fast forward and save everyone a recounting of the creative English-Spanish-German exchange that happened. Suffice it to say, they wanted us to drop them at their hotel on the other side of Amsterdam, we refused, they complained, I got stressed, and we booted them out at the main train station.

My friend in Danish clogs
Bigfoot IS real!

Five hours behind schedule, Elisa and I arrived at out campgrounds. Excited, we jumped out to meet the 5-degree weather and enjoy some beers as we set up out tent. There was only one setback: the tent was missing its center support pole. You will have to use your imagination to imagine the silence that descended following that realization. All our illusions of our competence in adulthood were whisked away in the icy wind. Our solution to combat our disillusionment? Well, we were in Amsterdam – we got high.

Amsterdam Coffee Shop
A lovely little coffee shop in Amsterdam



Perhaps we may not be competent adults yet, but we are certainly self-respecting twenty-somthings and we had to pay homage to the city of Amsterdam the right way.


Several crepes, one entire pack of Digestives, and countless glasses of wine later we found ourselves starting blankly into the night on a corner in the Red-Light District.

My friend at a cafe
Soaking it all in

Elisa and I looked at each other, wondered how long we had been standing there silently together and abruptly turned around to venture back and sleep in the trunk of our tiny, 20 year old Renault.

We figured that the weekend could only go up from there.