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.

Somehow, don’t ask how, we managed to transport all of our gear by public transport to the Euro Car rental shop, 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. Shit.

Maybe this would not have been a tragedy had not we agreed to transport two other people to Amsterdam by BlahBlah Car. Unfortunately, that was the case. Panicking, I mentally rushed the train home so I could rescue my missing documents and get on the road.

Sadly, when I returned I learned that only my American license was valid, not my German one. And guess what? All I had was my German one.

Telling myself to keep it together, I rushed back home a second time and tore apart my room. My license was nowhere to be found.

Fuming at myself, I stormed once again to the other side of the city where I was greeted by a total of two sour germans, one pissy spaniard, and one unhelpful sales clerk. Double shit.

Completely out of ideas, low on time and money, and with only one semi-valid drivers license between four people we finally found a rental agency that would rent to us. (With the above mentioned criteria, imagine how luxurious the car we got was. Whatever you’re imagining, what we had was definitely worse.)

Regardless–  finally, at double the price and triple the stress we had our  20 year old Renault and we 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 post moratorium that happened. Suffice it to say that: they were man so they wanted us to drop them at their hotel on the other side of Amsterdam, we refused, they complained, we complained, I got stressed, and we booted them out of the car.

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 minor problem: the tent was missing its center support pole. You will have to use your imagination to visualize the thick silence that descended.

All our illusions that we could competently “adult” 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.

Published by Jessi Devenyns