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Things to do in Amsterdam - The Pig E-zine
Issue 46 - May/June 2012



Marijuana or Mushrooms?

Matt Smith - Flying PigFor many visiting Amsterdam the word marijuana, or one of its thousand slang terms, appears somewhere on their itinerary. For now at least, it's completely legal for consumption inside one of the many coffee shops around town. I feel fairly confident that if you're reading this, there's little to no chance that the effects of this plant are a mystery to you. Nonetheless, your time with 'Mary Jane' will certainly vary - depending on what you buy and how you choose to ingest it. In general however - you're probably in for a happy time.

Along the ride, you may encounter silliness and frequent laughter, relaxation and lack of stress, the sensation of food doing an erotic dance on your tongue, magical thinking, and/or euphoria. In fact, the only downsides that come to mind with pot are strong urges to nap, overspending on tasty treats, puppy-like amusement with simple things, a slight chance of confusion and occasional paranoia if you let it get away from you. Even the cons to this drug seem like things that are not only acceptable, but absolutely encouraged on vacation. So feel free to give it a go while you're in town. You've probably been down that road before anyway.

magic mushrooms
a typical trippy mushroom

Amsterdam does however offer another substance for the more adventurous: Magic Truffles (basically psychedelic mushrooms). Truffles are a very different kind of experience, one that can be profound and even life changing. I do put them in the same spectrum as marijuana, but in a vastly different location. On a 1 to 10 scale of intensity, weed is generally 4-7, whereas truffles would rank on the Moon.

Perhaps it's because it's legal or because you've heard stories, or even because as a child you always dreamed of growing up to be a psychonaut – any which way the reasons are irrelevant. What matters is that you're in Amsterdam and have decided to try them. I applaud your curiosity and willingness to peek behind the curtain. I honestly think it'd be a better world if more people had a positive trip or two. That being said, it'd be reckless to turn you loose on the town with a handful of fungi and no guidance. As a veteran of such things, I'd like to pass on some sage wisdom.

BE WARNED: What's detailed below is a good trip, a happy one. Like many things in life though, truffles can have a dark side. A bad trip can be hours of mental and emotional chaos, taking you on horrible trains of thought that you just can't hop off. It could leave you with a wounded psyche, feeling depressed for days and with an utter hatred for the drug. I am however of the opinion that this is easy to avoid and here's how:

  • If you're already doubtful or scared you'll have a bad trip, DON'T DO IT. You will have one. It should feel right.
  • If you're being pressured or are in any kind of sad, depressed, or negative mindset already, then skip it. These feelings will show up in the trip, and be far more intense.
  • Always remember that you're not stuck in this altered state, and the effects will wear off in a few hours.
  • Go somewhere natural and beautiful like Vondelpark for the experience.
  • Only do it in the company of people you're very comfortable with – people who would never judge you … even if you say silly things or pee your pants.

Now for the fun part. This is your brain on a normal day: 0

And this is your brain on truffles: ☺☼♡☮✰♘❄☺

Past the initial waves of uncertainty and wondering, comes forth a stampede of giggles - once it's all kicked in. It's the kind of pure and authentic laughter that can actually cause your sides to be sore afterwards. You're viewing the world through more objective eyes and you'll come to realise that so many of our behaviors, thoughts, and ways of life are infinitely comical.

You're watching now from outside the box, a place where the concepts of you and your ego don't really exist. The feeling of I melts into one of us and you'll feel connected to the people around you, and the whole universe in ways previously not thought possible. You become enlightened about things you didn't even know - you didn't know. You're awestruck by the vibrant, undeniable beauty of everything around you, sometimes feeling like you're really seeing this flower or the clouds or people laughing - for the first time.

These little things that grow all across the planet have taken your solidified idea of what life is and dissolved it into deeply funny thoughts and pretty colors. For me it's as close as one could ever come to being a child again. You're seeing everything as if it's brand new, with no definitions or rules attached, just like you did as a kid. Anything can be any way you want it to be and every little particle in you surges with love and happiness.

It's called a trip because it's literally a journey of the mind and can be as much inward as outward. You've got this new super-vision with which you can look at yourself, and you can peer as deep as you'd like. Your motivations and habits become clear, and you now have the power to reorganise yourself. You may even excise those parts of yourself that you don't fancy. When done right, you can come out feeling giddy and as though you've had intense breakthroughs - normally only apparent after years of psychotherapy.

It's quite educational and one hell of a way to spend an afternoon.

- Matt Smith

Places that have treated me well:
For weed – Coffeeshop Greenhouse Amsterdam open in new window , Oudezijds Voorburgwal 191 and Dolphins, Kerkstraat 39
For truffles (ask for their recommendations for you) - Smartzone open in new window, Sint Annenstraat 19

Please note: We cannot be held responsible for or guarantee the trips taken by our writer. Mushrooms and Marijuana are the choice and responsibility of the individual during their time in Amsterdam.



Music Reviews From The Flying Pig

MusaThis E-zine's Top Album Suggestions

This month Michelle Stephens from the Flying Pig Uptown listens to Colour It In by The Macabees, The Martyr by Immortal Technique and Jazzsteppa CD by Jazzsteppa. Find out Michelle’s thoughts and top musical tips in this month’s musical review.

Band: The Maccabees Album: Colour It In

Band: The Maccabees
Album: Colour It In

UK indie band The Maccabees have been turning out tunes since 2005, with Colour It In released back in 2007. In their later work The Maccabees made a departure from the youthful lyrics and simplicity found on their debut album - gaining in their depth of production but losing some of the touching honesty conveyed on Colour It In. This album offers some catchy, up-beat tracks like Latchmere or Happy Faces, as well as calmer, more lyrically striking songs such as O.A.V.I.P. and Toothpaste Kisses.
My Favourite tracks include:

youtube Lego  youtube First Love  youtube All In Your Rows


Band: Immortal Technique Album: The MartyrBand: Immortal Technique
Album: The Martyr

As one of the most politically motivated Hip Hop artists producing at the moment, Peruvian rapper Immortal Technique has always carried a strong anti-corporate sentiment. His latest album The Martyr is no exception. With powerful and intelligent lyrics, Immortal Technique is a refreshing alternative in an industry often criticised for losing its passion in the fight for a wider audience. This latest addition to his discography builds upon the niche he established with the records - Revolutionary vol. 1 and 2, and continues the no holds barred approach. Expect political punches combined with some original sounding instrumental production. As an additional anti-capitalist touch, he's distributing the album for free via the Viper Records website. My Favourite tracks include:

youtube Goonies Never Die youtube Rich Man's World youtube Angels and Demons


Band: Jazzsteppa Album: Jazzsteppa CDBand: Jazzsteppa
Album: Jazzsteppa CD

If you're looking for something to test the limits of your speakers or disturb the neighbours, Jazzsteppa's self-titled 2009 album is the perfect fit. Thick, warm bass lines and crisp snare hits mix with various brass instruments to create a truly unique sound - making it somewhat difficult to place in terms of genre. Although distinct elements of older Dubstep are present this by no means defines the sound, as the modern production can really be heard in what is an excellent blending of old, and new dub styles - with some swing Jazz thrown in. My favourite tracks include:

youtube Taylor Rain  youtube It Was A Train youtube Alpha


-- Michelle Stephens



News From the Beach

The Kiteboard Open 2012

This year the annual Kiteboard Open (KBO) will take place on Saturday, May 26 – 28. During this weekend Noordwijk, home to the Flying Pig Beach Hostel, will be turned into the venue of a three-day beach festival featuring kitesurfing, board sports and music. Of course you can expect the big kite surfing names along with public favorite and 2009 World Champion Kevin Langeree.

kiteboard open photo by kiteshots.nlThree-Day Kite and Feel Good Festival
To get as many people as possible acquainted with the world of kitesurfing there will be an extensive program which will consist of several different disciplines. There will be an expression session from the professional kiteboarders, a rookie contest, a big air contest and special, on course racing. For the people who want to give it a try themselves, you can check out Kitesurf clinics, stand-up paddle (SUP) sessions, skimboard clinics and wavesurf clinics. Also on offer is a Protest wake channel. This will make it possible to experience wakeboarding on the beach!

A lot of the popular Kitesurf brands will also be presenting their new products for the public to try out!

Music is an important part of the surfing lifestyle and so on the Saturday evening you’ll be able to enjoy the Feel Good Festival with many surf and rock bands specially selected by the House of Music, which will fill the beach with good surfing vibes! Sunday evening is the Peter Lynn Party night, which will feature the band - The Heyz and an incredible lineup of DJs to get the party rocking!

the Heyz

The Heyz live on Dutch radio open in new window open in new window



Room revives Rotterdam!

Rotterdam’s live music scene will never die and Rock n’ Roll is most definitely not dead - especially if the guys from Popunie have anything to say about it! Popunie is a collective of diehard music lovers who make it their job to project Dutch musicians into the spotlight.


Recently Popunie successfully secured a grant from the city of Rotterdam to boost the profile of live music in the city, and ROOM Rotterdam was one of their first choices to receive funding.

Hostel ROOM has a dedicated history of being passionate towards and open to supporting new artists – providing a platform for proving their worth with open mic nights, house parties, themed nights and now, two new projects!

Sweet as Sundae Sundays will run on the second Sunday of each month and Student Nights will run on the first Thursday of each month.

As ROOM offers up more tasty treats for backpackers, it also continues to do what is does best – showing the world that Rotterdam is a creative melting pot, full of surprises!

So get yourselves a Europe’s Famous Hostel Passport, come to Rotterdam, get a stamp and experience how Rotterdam stands tall in the low lying lands of Holland! This way you don't even have to be Rock n’ roll to sleep with someone famous!

Visit us in Rotterdam now - between the big city lights of Amsterdam and Bruges - the beer capital of Belgium! open in new window open in new window

More info and free booking at open in new window