Well, well, well. I finally did it. Like most humans, since puberty, I have always wanted to go to Amsterdam and I finally went and did it! Not only did I go, I went with my best friend and not only did I go with one of my best friends I went to see The Rolling Stones… And it was one of the best experiences of my life. This wasn’t even a well-planned holiday, this was booked up literally less than a week before as I mentioned in September’s article.
The excitement was real as my friend stayed with me the night before and we flew from Edinburgh airport the day after. But not before we watched my friend’s girlfriend, the incredibly talented Emily Middlemas promote her new great debut single “Lost & Found’ on a Facebook & Instagram livestream, buy it here. It’s a big bopper!
We flew out from Edinburgh and arrived at our hotel on the Friday evening before heading into the heart of the ‘Dam to experience the Amsterdam atmosphere. Our first stop had to be the famous The Bulldog Palace where we enjoyed a few beers before heading towards the notorious Red Light District. Now, I imagined the Red Light District to feature middle-aged, sleazy men and being quite the taboo. However, that could not be further from the truth. Men, women, old and young from all backgrounds were wandering around totally in awe of what they were witnessing. It was incredibly surreal seeing hundreds of attractive women in a window trying to lure in passers-by. The whole area was full of debauchery if women weren’t trying to lure you inside, pimps were keeping a close eye on proceedings in the surrounding bars and shady characters were more than happy to approach people like myself and my friend offering us class A drugs as casually as they would offer us chewing gum. Surreal and incredible, I would have taken pictures but our Uber driver informed us that if we people get caught taking pictures pimps would rough you up and would often dispose of your camera/phone.
We then proceeded to Club Prime where we enjoyed some gin and big tunes. Another incredible thing was hearing Big Shaq – Man’s Not Hot come on in a club in Amsterdam and people actually singing along to South London slang. We witnessed some incredible scenes before we got an Uber back to the hotel.
The big day has arrived and we kicked off with a McDonald’s and some Rolling Stones songs in the hotel. We were ready for Jagger & the boys and nothing was going to spoil it. I then realised, we leave early on Sunday morning so I wanted to test out some of the gym facilities, a little gym sesh and a dip in the pool left me feeling ready to face the day! I would post pictures of my swimming pool session but, I lacked swimming trunks and had to wear my boxers into a lukewarm-at-best swimming pool. However, you would have seen if you followed me on Instagram or Snapchat.
While we waited outside the hotel on our car arriving, I had a bit of a laughing fit – a 30 minute laughing fit to be more precise. During this time, my friend Ryan decided to do a livestream on his Instagram and for those 700+ people who saw me red-faced, seal-clapping with tears streaming down my face, I can only apologise. No one should ever have to see a face like that.
We got to the stadium with several hours to spare and the atmosphere was electric! We entered several of the surrounding bars and got on the Heineken to truly embrace the Dutch culture with pride. The beers stacked up and we mingled with the locals but we realised we were missing one thing. Merchandise! The queues were too long so we decided to wait until we were inside the stadium.
Once inside, more Heinekens were dished out and we got ourselves straight to the merch stand where I opted for a t-shirt that would also serve as a memento for one of the most incredible experiences of my life. The show itself was incredible, Jagger’s got the moves, Richards & Wood had the stamina and musical ability to keep playing through the neverending Satisfaction finale while Watts did look the more tired towards the end. However, that did not stop him from putting in a flawless performance. I was a little bit disappointed that they never performed Angie or Doom & Gloom or any of their other million hits from their back catalogue. However, after the show, I met a lovely woman called Susan who was there with her husband celebrating their 30th anniversary. They were a lovely couple and Susan wrote a lovely article on her blog here. After we left the lovely couple, we joined the fellow Stones’ fans at the surrounding bars and partied with some of the locals, a group of English lads and 2 guys from Edinburgh! Meeting people from Scotland outside of Scotland is always a very exciting time as anyone from Scotland will tell you. Do other countries get excited or is it just us?
With both of our phones being dead, we started to wander around until a taxi pulls up and asks if we need a lift – prayer answered! Turns out he wasn’t a taxi and actually just a random man who was a tad “eccentric”. He drove us back to our hotel for something like €80+ even though it cost us around €40 in an Uber + surge. Hey ho, we finally got back to our hotel at 4.30am and my friend fell asleep straight away. Me? I was going to stay up since our flight was at 10.40am. By the time I hunted for food and had to settle on a small tub of Pringles and made it back to the room it was 5.15am. McDonald’s would be open at 6am so I could have a bite to eat and a coffee. The hotel gym and swimming pool would be open about that time as well but I could lounge in the bath for a bit. All I had to do was stay awake for 45 minutes… That was not the case.
I woke up to my friend telling me it was nearly 8am and we were going to be late, so the bath was out of the picture. However, I could manage a quick shower. Wrong again. One minute into my shower my friend barges in and starts shouting that it’s 9am and not 8am and the gate closes at 10.10am! It turns out his phone hadn’t changed and he was still on British time! This following 10 minutes involved a lot of frantic running about, the only thing missing was the Benny Hill theme tune. Packing suitcases, down to reception to check out and on to the conveniently-placed shuttle bus only to realise that I don’t have my phone! I ran back inside and up to the 4th floor where I realised I had already checked out and never had my key card and had to run back down to the ground floor to get the key, running back up to the 4th floor, into my room and grabbing my phone, back down to the ground floor and luckily the bus was still there with my bag and my friend still on it waiting on me.
The following hour involved several near panic attacks, a mad dash through customs and far too many “we’re not going to make it” or “we missed it” lines by my friend. By the time we got through customs it was 10,15am. We were already 5 minutes late but it still said the gate was closing! We ran even further and arrived at the gate 5-10 minutes later and somehow we got allowed on to the plane. By 1pm I was back in Edinburgh with a half-empty suitcase and a burrito being delivered to my apartment. In the pandemonium of my final Amsterdam hour trying to pack I left my toothbrush, socks, ring and several other items.
The holiday blues hit hard over the following days and I spent them lowkey wondering if it really would have been a bad thing if we had missed our flight. I can’t wait to go back to such a magical place for longer. Amsterdam, you sexy, peaceful city. I shall see you soon.
A weekend in Amsterdam and seeing The Rolling Stones was on a list of things I HAD to experience. This has inspired me to create a bucket list beginning in 2018. If anybody has any suggestions for my bucket list let me know in the comments, on my social media, by email or if you happen to be graced by my presence tell me in person! Thanks!