You read it right ladies and gentlemen, Amanda and her two girlfriends not only ventured to Amsterdam but also slept in a cloud of smoke right in front of the infamous Red Light District. Go
big red or go home. But before we get to the fluorescent windows filled with perky women, I’ll quickly recap on our endeavors before Holland.
My dearest friend Allison visited my city of Cádiz and I didn’t have to spend Christmas along. We headed 30 miles north to Seville to really begin our winter vacation. The city was absolutely inspiring and full of life, and I would recommend it to anyone looking to travel to Spain. Most importantly, this was also the first Starbucks stopover of my 10 day vacation, as I have been lacking some delicious chai for many months now; it’s the little (and ridiculously overpriced) things in life, you know?
Allison and I boarded a coach bus to Madrid where we would really begin our adventures, as we were meeting up with our group of girls that formed when we all studied abroad in 2011 in Galicia, Spain. This is how this entire trip began about, as there are three of us currently teaching in Spain and the other four are in their respective countries. Allison was the first to fly so she had the chance to visit Seville and Cádiz before we started the grand feminine reunion. New Years Eve, tapas galore, heaps of gossip and insane memories filled our six day sin Madrid. We even got the chance to see a charity fútbol game at the famous Real Madrid soccer stadium for 5€!
Holland was calling us, so we split up as the others also had their own getaways planned. Three of us girls booked a historic hostel that was in the city center and we were able to walk to everything. Great dutch food, friendly faces and English spoken everywhere, it seemed we couldn’t find anything wrong with this city. We did the tourist bit; ice bar, the famous sex museum, red light district gawking, etc. The latter was unsurprisingly the most culturally shocking part of this experience, and we even found there was a “second-rate” red light district on the other side of the river just two minutes walking. This consisted of heavier, darker-skinned prostitutes and a audience/clientele to match. Although the women in both “neighborhoods” were following the same habits in their respective window slots (painting their nails, texting, phone sex for extra cash, teasing the street), it was very obvious the prices, quality and circumstances would be substantially inferior here to that across the foot bridge. Nonetheless it was a very interesting and eye-opening experience. We were told that Amsterdam is “cracking down” and restricting the whole process more and more every year, however I’m not sure how they would do that without simply making prostitution illegal once and for all. There were men scattered throughout the streets dressed in normal street wear to protect the women from any potentially unsafe confrontations but that was all I noticed in regards to “controlled prostitution.”
This vacation was much-needed and I am so entirely grateful to have been able to aprovechar (to take advantage of something) my time in Europe and see my amazing amigas. We found one another in Europe and were able to reconnect in the same place. Traveling is something that changes you, forever, inside and out. Those that have truly done it will be able to tell you the same, as it has no price, just wealth.