Top 13 Things to do in Amsterdam
I'm not the biggest fan of subjective rankings. They are absolutely meaningless hierarchies. They imply too much difference in worth, all based on someone's personal preferences. Too many questions need to be asked.
Did the judge get a good night's sleep before making their decision? Was everything ok in their relationship at the time? Had they burned their tongue on coffee? When was the last time they cuddled a puppy?
I'm not saying that some things aren't better than others. For instance, take "anything", and compare it with "anything" plus Stroopwafel.
Anything plus Stroopwafel is obviously better. A nice meal, plus Stroopwafel. Sex, plus Stroopwafel. A cold-blooded betrayal … plus Stroopwafel. I think it's safe to label that as scientific fact.
I'm only suggesting that you not rely fully on someone else's rankings to determine the value you place on something. If anything, they're only a general guideline, a good direction to start looking. How much you enjoy something depends not on where it falls on a list, but whom you're with, your state of mind, your childhood and about 23,000 other things. Plus, "professional critics" tend to be some of the most pretentious and absurdly ignorant people in existence.
The relevance of all this is that in this edition I tackle a "Top 13 Things to do in Amsterdam" article. Some would say these are the best things to do here. I say, here are 13 great things to do in the city, according to my own ludicrous ranking system.
Number Moon: The Tattoo Museum
This museum is still shiny and sparkly new. It just opened in November of 2011 and houses more than 40,000 objects in its collection. You'll get the grand tour of tattoos from all over the world and how they've changed over the years. You can also dive deeper into the many subcultures of tattoos such as stick-and-pokes and ultraviolet. Some days throughout the month there's even an artist in residence who will be happy to give you a permanent souvenir of your trip.
Number Florida: The Sex museum
I don't think I could do any better marketing for them than the name already does. It's a museum, all about sex. Sex is probably half the reason you came to this city. It's probably even half the reason you brush your teeth and are wearing those shoes. Go check it out. It will be of interest to anyone who enjoys breathing.
Number Threlve: The Bols Museum
This is a really interesting museum experience where you get to imbibe alcohol under the guise of attaining culture. You get to into enjoy Dutch gin and other cocktails through not only your sense of taste, but sight and smell as well.
Number Biscuit: EYE Film Museum
Any lovers of the cinema should definitely go and check this place out. The building itself is worth laying eyes on.
Number Green: The Hash and Hemp Museum
Although you may consider the entire city itself a Hash and Hemp museum, this is the official spot to educate yourself. It's mostly dedicated to hemp and all the crazy reimaginings that can be done with it.
Number -2: The Metropolitan Deli
Ice cream. Chocolate. Easy decision.
Number Diamond: Black Bikes
While the green stuff may transport your mind, your body still needs to be dealt with. It doesn't take much looking around to notice that the preferred method of getting around town is via bike. Just get one. Do make sure though that you lock it to something that cannot be thrown into the canal. Trust me.
Number October: Water Pedalos – Prinsengracht
For all the times when you wished you could ride your bike on water. Get up close and intimate with the canals, and hopefully a companion on the water bikes.
Number Rob Savage: Rollerblading in Vondelpark
Vondelpark is like the Garden of Eden - of Amsterdam. Rent some blades and show everyone how well you fall … er, roll.
Number Letter: The Maritime Museum
There's plenty of Dutch naval history and information on the Dutch East India Company, but the coolest part may be the full-size replica of the three-mast merchant ship that you get to climb aboard. The ship is incredible.
Number Sneeze: The Amsterdam Historic Museum
The word conundrum sums up Amsterdam quite well. If you've ever had any curiosities about how the city came into existence, or how it evolve into the eclectic carnival that it is now, then you should swing by.
Number ♫: The Wax Museum
I think you know the drill. Go here to act out your fantasies of making inappropriate gestures at some of the celebrities you love and love to hate. Interestingly, they sometimes make the figurines prettier and slimmer than the actual people.
Number Cornelius. The Stedelijk Museum
It's thought to be one of the richest and most innovative modern art museums in the world. If you enjoy modern art, or just enjoy being baffled by it, you're sure to like the experience.
Number 1: STROOPWAFEL
- Matt Smith
Music Reviews From The Flying Pig
This E-zine's Top Album Suggestions
Amanda Olfers from the Flying Pig listens to Tales of the Forgotten Melodies from Wax Tailor, The Fool by Warpaint and Smoking in Heaven by Kitty, Daisy & Lewis. Find out what Amanda made of these fresh new sounds and summer soundtracks.
Band: The Tentempies
Album: Canto Para Gritar
Our cure for cold winter days in Holland? The eclectic album - canto para gritar by the Tentempies. Due to the cultural mix of band members, the album is appealing for people of all musical tastes. After successful local gigs, participating in Amsterdam's no.1 band completion - Popprijs and releasing several EPs, the official album was released in June 2011. By then the band was known by most people just because of the Popprijs competition. The album received critical acclaim by Dutch media which resulted in collaborations between the band and other Dutch artists. At present during the height of the festival season, the band is highly requested. Their shows are full of energy and the charismatic lead singer definitely knows how to get the crowd dancing. Even when I'm typing this and listening to their music, my feet can't stop tapping …
Think Latin, Rock, Ska and Reggae. Now mix that all together and you have an idea what their music feels and sounds like. Frontman Maurino Alarcon has a voice that whisks you away to sunny places due to the Latin feel of the album. With so many catchy beats, you're guaranteed to dance and jump around, creating fun and happiness all round! The frontman's background provides a quirky and intriguing level to the album, with political and social influences from around the world.
The band has started to spread their wings internationally, kicking off in Germany earlier this year. After sharing the stage with bands such as La Pegatina, Ojos de Brujo, Molotov and The Black Seeds, as well as currently rocking the festivals, this band is definitely one to watch!
Fav' songs: No te debo and Que Sera.
Band: Alabama Shakes
Album: Boys and Girls
Album: Boys and Girls
I just discovered this awesome band and I'm absolutely loving their sound! If you listen carefully you can trace the root of their sound to a mixture of the Black Keys, Angie Stone and Jack White. High school friends Britany Howard and guitarist Zac Cockrell got drummer Steve Johnson to join the band and after some successful studio time, guitarist Heath Fogg joined them. Now with the band complete, it was time to set their sound apart from the competition and that's what they did with the release of their 2011 EP, which got them onto MTV's 11 artists to watch list.
The grouping and dynamics of the band work in perfect harmony with each other to produce a rustic bluesy and deep sound. The whole idea of the group slots so perfectly into today's culture and music scene, but at the same time it's so refreshing to listen to them, especially Brittany's raw voice. It feels like it comes from the heart. Think lazy summer nights with a JD in hand. Just close your eyes and enjoy.
Fav' songs: Can't choose!
Band: Stick Figure
Album: Smoke Stack
Calling all Dub, Reggae, Funky and Easy listening lovers! I recently discovered this artist and his music makes you want to buy a van, and go surfing in a country far, far away. Scott Woodruff is the genius mind behind this one man band, which hasn't quite reached the commercial breakthrough moment just yet. Why not? I really don't know! He released four albums in the past year and perhaps the most recent - Burial Ground - will make it into the charts. Then again, perhaps it's better if he stays cool and underground! Scott records each instrument separately and layers different tracks on top of each other each other to create that specific - stick figure sound. Whack this on repeat and the come on down to the pig for a singalong!
- Amanda Olfers
News From the Beach
Dune Art Festival
You can enjoy this amazing art extravaganza until Sunday the second of September 2012! Held at Piet Florisdal (Duindamseslag 8, Noordwijk) you can look forward to an Imagination theme this year with artists engaging the help of visitors to create many of the displays. This way there'll be an interesting and two-way interaction between visitor and artist, guaranteed to inspire all.
Albert Einstein "Logic brings you from A to B, imagination brings you everywhere."
There will be artists of disciplines at the festival and in addition to the spectacular woodcarving masters there will be Land-Art specialists showing off location related artwork. On top of all that, you can also expect painters, glass blowers and installation artists.
During the festival there will be live music, poetry, workshops and performances, creating an altogether interesting range of imaginative affairs. Set on the magnificent sand dunes of Noordwijk.
There is a daily shuttle service between the main boulevard of Noordwijk and the Festival area.
A Highland Fling at Morag’s Lodge: Head to beautiful Loch Ness and have a monster time!
Loch Ness in the Highlands of Scotland is one of the most famous holiday destinations in Scotland. Wild and beautiful, the surrounding countryside isn’t just scenic, it’s teeming with wildlife, a host of visitor attractions and activities.
Morag’s Lodge is ideally situated for exploring Loch Ness on a budget . The area boasts a great range of activities and is the perfect base for exploring the Highlands with a link to Skye and the West Coast. The loch itself is of course a big draw and there’s always a chance to glimpse Nessie - the world-famous Loch Ness Monster.
Nessie was first sighted by St Columba in the sixth century. Photographs taken in the 1930s have made Nessie famous world-wide and visitors wishing to learn more should make the trip to Drumnadrochit. Here you can choose between two Loch Ness Monster exhibitions, both open on a daily basis - all year long.
The main A82 road links Fort William in the south to Inverness in the north, hugging the northern shoreline of Loch Ness along the way. At the southernmost tip of the Loch you’ll find Fort Augustus, a picturesque village and an ideal spot to view the boats navigating through the impressive lock system of the Caledonian Canal.
Eight miles further north, you’ll find Invermoriston – another attractive village, steeped in Jacobite history. Venture further north and you’ll come across the impressive ruins of Urquhart Castle with its commanding views of the Loch.
On the peaceful southern shore, you’ll find the famous 100ft waterfalls at Foyers, opportunities for spotting red deer and a real feeling of escape.
All of this and more is waiting for you when you book a bed at Morag’s Lodge, Loch Ness.
More info and free booking at www.famoushostels.com