Onward: Euro Dreaming…pt. 1

I’d like to think that this will be my year for continuing forward; moving ahead. So here’s a new blog series: Onward. The focus? Travel!

I’m incredibly excited to share that I’ll be traveling to Europe in just over a month for a visit to France/Belgium/The Netherlands! One of the things I’ve been itching to do on Pepper and Lace is explore my other interests, and that majorly includes traveling to any and every place I can get to! Don’t worry, food is still my one true love but hey, travel lets me explore and taste more delicious things!

In anticipation of this trip (and hopefully many more) I’m doing some travel dreaming. In this series, I’ll focus on things I’m looking forward to doing and sights I’m interested in seeing and then hopefully share some insights post-trip about everything. Let’s go, shall we?


AMSTERDAM

14932070360_463f396748_k
Image Credit: Adam Smok via Flickr

We’ll be in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam in March. Known as much for its lovely, winding canals and historic monuments as for its Red Light District and ‘coffeeshops’, Amsterdam is a study in contrasts.

Colorful Buildings by Mori
Image Credit: Maurizio Mori via Flickr

The lively culture pervades the city and I can’t wait to wander the lovely bridges and canals. Even better, traverse the city by bicycle as Amsterdam is one the bike-friendliest cities in the world!

Bike by Brenn
Image Credit: Moyan Brenn via Flickr

Another interesting aspect of Amsterdam is that marijuana is legally allowed in certain areas. These spots are known as “coffeeshops” and you won’t find lattes here (well, you might but that won’t be all). A typical cafe or koffiehuis (coffee house) is where you’d find your run of the mill coffees and cappuccinos. Coffeeshops specialize in a different product. By strictly regulating the legal sale of Mary-Jane, the Dutch government has had fewer drug-related problems since the 1970s than many other places where it’s illegal. In fact, many Dutch citizens don’t even smoke and it’s mostly tourists frequenting the coffeeshops.

Coffeeshop by Leon G.jpg
Image Credit: Leon G via Flickr

Finally, Amsterdam is famous for its Red Light District and party hardy culture. Prostitution is legal and regulated by the government which I find quite interesting. On the one hand, I figure many of the people are in this business because they have few other choices. On the other hand, they’ve formed unions and have government protection, so who am I to say what their choices are.

Red Light District by Greenville
Image Credit: Pelham Greenville via Flickr

In any case, the area is apparently quite touristy (surprise, surprise) and as it’s very much a part of the city, it will be a stop on our trip. Plus, I’ll admit to a fair amount of curiosity surrounding the less glamorous elements of Amsterdam since its so different from anywhere else I’ve been.

Other things I’m excited about? Stroopwafels, cycling, art and tulips!

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Any recommendations on where to go and what to see? Leave me a comment, I’d love your input. Can’t wait for March to roll around!

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