Amsterdam is a cultural epicenter of awesome.  Sure, certain acts deemed unlawful in the states take place here, but in no way run rampant.  Despite the legality and presence of marijuana and prostitution, the city as a whole is gorgeous, historical, and safe.  Residents are more open-minded, whether it’s apparent in fashion, through the vibrantly colored men’s trousers, or the idea of saving the planet through the widespread habit of bike commuting.  Amsterdam to me is hopeful and progressive.  Any area known for cheese automatically wins my vote.  In fact, that and a fondue pot were my chosen souvenirs of the day.

Not only does Amsterdam appeal to me for its modern and accepting ideas (as well as cheese), but also the city itself is just beautiful, from its quirky, lopsided buildings, to its multitude of tree-lined canals.  Treasures exist around every corner in the forms of bakeries, novelty museums, cafés, and specialty shops (ie. Absinth, hemp, clogs), and when one sets out to find one, they discover even more.  From the cobbled sidewalks to the colorfully decorated bikes, everything shone brighter in the presence of the warm and welcomed sunshine.  It’s definitely the kind of city to spend more than only a few hours in.

This wasn’t my first time to the city.  I had been there a couple years before during an Atlantis gay charter cruise I worked on…what an awesome experience that was!  It just so happened that we overnighted there for gay pride weekend.  It was definitely memorable, but like I said, more so for its beauty than its Red Light District.  Growing up in a country where I was not surrounded by images of explicit nature, my first time visiting I experienced a few “whoa” moments, but accepting those situations as cultural differences and learning to look past them I grew inspired by all else Amsterdam has to offer.

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