As first impressions go, Amsterdam didn't shock me as I'd been told it would. With the reputation the RLD's cultivated the world over, I'd expected notoriety, garishness and sleaze. The reality was very different - littered with cheesy sex-shops selling blow ups and other outrageous toys, the multi-cultural community of prostitutes, junkies, cops and coffee shop owners intermingled freely along its streets as tourists 'window-shopped'. It's an old and beautiful part of the city too with its long, narrow, winding cobbled streets and rickety old buildings leaning at odd angles. Surprising? Yes. Surprising that a city can be so wholly liberal and tolerant. Shocking though? Definitely not.
A whirlwind trip in its entirety, it would be unfair of me to even try and pretend I know much about Amsterdam at all. What I can tell you, though, is that the city serves up THE best waffles in the world. Freshly made, dusted with icing sugar, smothered in Nutella and topped up with whipped cream, I munched my way through a shocking 4 of these in 30 hours. Ouch. Ask if you're going any time soon. For now, here's my first impression. More tomorrow.