I'm not sure how we managed this, but we did survive New Years Eve in Amsterdam. That city is CRAZY during NYE celebrations. Seriously. I might admit I wanted to hide in a corner a few times. But I won't. People lit half sticks of dynamite and other types of fireworks right in the middle of streets, sidewalks, and squares all day long. So, not only did we have to try to dodge the many bicyclists, but we also had to make sure we didn't step too close to someone holding fireworks. One store owner described it as World War III. And that is exactly what it sounded like while walking the streets.
Not only was it crazy, but we were all miserable. It rained from about 6pm until the time we left at 2am. We were wet, cold, and miserable. The ones that weren't bothered by the rain were either drunk or high. We weren't neither of those obviously.
This was before the rain started. We were still happy. ;)
First thing we saw when we got to Amsterdam was this. Yep, we went in. Another crazy thing for sure. I won't post pictures, obviously these pictures would be x-rated and most of them gross.
One of the many 'coffee shops' in Amsterdam. 'Coffee shop' really means 'pot shop'. Go into any coffee shop and legally buy and smoke marijuana. Nearly every street you can find at least two coffee shops with a line waiting to get in. And you can smell it everywhere. We saw many people rolling their own joints (is that even the proper name for that?) and had one person ask if we wanted marijuana. Yes, it is legal to smoke marijuana in Amsterdam. Last we heard you had to be a citizen to smoke it though. They give you a special card that allows you to purchase it. Even if it were still legal for anyone to smoke it, we definitely weren't interested to partake.
James and I infront of the Christmas tree in Dam Square. This is the same square we were packed in at midnight.
Kelsey and I enjoying a drink in the cafe at the Ice Bar. In the Ice Bar nearly everything is made out of ice... even your cups. Sadly, the bar was booked for NYE, but we got to enjoy a few drinks in the lounge... where it was nice and warm.
James with Kelsey and Jeremy in the Lounge at the Ice Bar.
Yes, you might have to take a boat to get to your front door. One of the many canals in Amsterdam.
We warmed up in a Pizzeria where we found wine bottles hanging from the ceiling. It was nice in toasty in there, but the pizza was nothing compared to the pizza in Italy.
Amsterdam's famous Red Light District. I posted this picture on my facebook page, but didn't realize why I got no comments on it. No one knew what the Red Light District was. Yes, its what you are probably thinking. All those red lighted windows are filled with girls you can buy. Prostitution is legal in Amsterdam. Walk these streets and see girls nearly naked dancing in the windows.
After being wet and cold for a few hours from the rain we found a really nice bar in the Victoria Hotel and had a few drinks. This place was small and cozy but busy. The drinks were fabulous. And we warmed up right in time to go back outside in the rain for midnight's celebration.
The Dam Square was packed full of people ready to celebrate. People were lighting fireworks in the middle of crowds and throwing back a few more drinks of liquor before midnight.
Kelsey and Jeremy ready to
get out of the rain ring in the new year.
Awe... the first kiss of 2013.
We were soaked by this time!
Happy New Year!
Leaving the crazy party goers and heading back to the bar again. We hung out there for a couple more hours till it was time to make our way back home.
Edited to add: Our kids did NOT come with us on this trip, for obvious reasons ;). We have some amazing friends that are willing to watch our kids so we can enjoy some free time. And we took a tour bus to Amsterdam so that we could drink and didn't have to worry about how we were getting home... Though the rain really sobered us up quickly :)