I’ll Give You The Red Light Special Amsterdam


*** Officially 6 more posts to go until I’m done recapping our Euro-trip! Woot woot! Boom shaka laka! ***

Following our experience at the Heineken Brewery, Charles and I went to meet up with our friend, Ali. We had met Ali for the first time at Clem and Jason’s wedding in France. While mingling around during the wedding reception, we got to talking with Ali and learned that he lived in Amsterdam. And then when he learned that we were planning to travel to Amsterdam a couple days later, he offered to show us around if he was available. It was an offer to good to refuse. 

Amsterdam canal

After catching up over drinks, Ali took us across the way to grab dinner in the Red Light District at a resto-bar that had an awesome vintage interior and swank looking bar. Unfortunately, my photos for the rest of this post aren’t all as sharp as I would like because I was trying to snap quick pics so as to not take away from being present in the moment. But the truth is, I kind of like them a little blurry. Adds character, don’t you think? Anywho, back to our yummy dinner at Mara-Hari.

amsterdam red light district
amsterdam red light district

^^ Ali

amsterdam red light district
amsterdam red light district
amsterdam red light district
 ^^ Ugh, loooooooove!
Post grub, we followed Ali to the De Wallen area of the Rosseburt a.k.a. Red Light District. I’m sure the reputation of the Red Light District precedes itself world wide but in case you have no idea what this area of Amsterdam is all about, here’s my take on it in one sentence: Where women can openly and, most importantly, legally solicit their sensual and sexual services; the red light signifying that a women is ready to do business whenever you are.
amsterdam red light district
amsterdam red light district
^^ While winding through various corridors in search of the red lights, Ali found and showed us the plaque as seen in the photo above. A bronze mold of a hand caressing a female breast in the cobblestones created and installed in 1993. We would’ve never thought to look down while walking around so I’m really  glad Ali went out his way to show us this artistic installation. Definitely something to be on the lookout for if you ever visit the Red Light District. #scavengerhunt
amsterdam red light district
amsterdam red light district

As we found ourselves immersed in red light, Ali reminded me that taking photos of the ladies of the night was prohibited. I had no intention of violating this rule but I did want to take a photo with the red lights all aglow around me as a souvenir. So I gave Charles my camera and asked him to snap a pic of me walking down the alley, making sure the ladies weren’t seen which resulted in the photo below. He did a good job right?

amsterdam red light district
My thoughts on the Red Light District? I’m really glad we decided to wait until our 3rd day in Amsterdam to visit this area. I wouldn’t suggest visiting the RLD first thing when you arrive because I think it might not give the best first impression of Amsterdam since there is soooo much more to this city than its infamous district. The fact that Amsterdam is such a tolerant and liberal city is one of the main reasons why I loved visiting but overall, I don’t think the Red Light District was my cup of tea. I’m pretty sure Charles has me covered if I’m ever in need of some sexual servicing haha ;)
Having had our fill of window browsing, Ali asked if we would be interested in going to one of his favorite bars in the Dam and giving some absinthe a try. Considering the fact that Charles and I had never sipped on this highly alcoholic beverage before, it was an experience we couldn’t pass up. So with one quick, Yes!”, Ali led the way while we followed along in excitement.
amsterdam red light district
amsterdam red light district
^^ Did you know that prior to having written road signs installed, the streets in Amsterdam used to be identified by the unique engravings located on the sides buildings adjacent to each street opening? If you look closely, some of the buildings still have the original engravings like the one above. Ali was full of such cool facts!
amsterdam red light district
^^ Absinthe! This little contraption dripped water into our glasses to help dilute our drinks so we could sip it down more easily.
amsterdam red light district
amsterdam red light district
^^ Cubes of sugar being melted to also help with the dilution.
amsterdam red light district
amsterdam red light district
I have to admit, it took me almost an hour to completely sip down my small glass because it was just that strong but woooo! Charles and I did it. We had our first taste of absinthe!
I am so thankful for Ali and his hospitality towards me and Charles during our stay in Amsterdam, especially considering the fact that we had only met briefly a few days before. He played a huge part in the reason in why Charles and I left Amsterdam completely in love with the city. Thank you Ali! Until next time!
Linking Up with Travel Tuesday & Random Wednesday.

  • This was awesome! I need to start making friends when I travel!

  • skiptomalouuu

    Awesome post :) this makes me miss Amsterdam so much!

    I've taken visitors to the Red Light District a gazillion times and never once have I seen that bronze plaque! Learn something new every day!

    Love taking a little break from reality to catch up on your Euro trip posts, you've inspired me to get mine going too! Happy Hump Day! xo

  • I just love following along and reading your travel recaps. I feel like I have been to and seen so many places through your eyes, photos and writing. I have always wanted to go to Amsterdam, but not sure I could handle the RLD…ha!! And I haven't heard of absinthe before….did y'all get wasted!? Ha!!

  • Yes, do it! Charles and I always try to connect with people when we travel. Besides seeing places, meeting people is a great way to learn about a place based on their local perspective as well. It really helps to get a well rounded experience :)

  • Great post! There is nothing better than seeing a city through a local's eyes. I went to Amsterdam as a child so obviously didn't go to the RLD ;)

  • Miho

    I completely agree about the RLD – it's worth walking through on your first visit to Amsterdam, but after that it's just not necessary. I'm so glad you loved it! And it does make a huge different to have a great host, so I'm happy you guys had that :) x

    Miho @ Wander to Wonder

  • I love reading your post about your trips! Makes me just wanna drop everything and travel. x

  • I reblogged that tit pic on Tumblr a while back, and tagged you to see if you caught a glimpse of it while you were there. I guess now I have my answer! Haha. Solid post. Amsterdam was never really on my to-go list, but now it is. And not because of the boob in the street. Looks like you guys had a great time. And I need a pair of white shorts like those.

  • Yay! I can't wait for you to share photos from your trip Malou! I've been re-capping my trip at a snail's pace (it's been almost a year since we went on this trip haha)so don't worry about trying to chug them out all at once because it can definitely get a little overwhelming once you start editing photos :) Also, can't wait to see you in a couple of weeks! I've got an email response with a bunch of info coming soooooon! :)

  • Yay! That makes me sooo happy to hear Shanna! And I totally think you could handle RLD BUT definitely without your girls tagging along haha. And now I just had this image of your entire family walking through the corridors and your girls looking all wide eyed haha. And to answer your last question: Yes. We were definitely wasted which is probably another reason why my photos were blurry ha!

  • Thank you Marcella! I definitely recommend trying to go back for another visit as an adult. It's definitely worth at least ONE visit :)

  • Thank you Darianne! I think you should definitely make travel a priority if that's what you want to do! Travel is totally possible when you budget for it. You can do it girlfriend :)

  • Oh yes, one visit to the RLD is definitely enough :) Also, the first thing I thought when I saw your comment is that I've been a bad blogger and haven't commented on your blog in what feels like in forever. I've been uber busy but promise to get caught up on Wander to Wonder soon! Definitely miss reading all about your food adventures Miho!

  • Haha! I totally saw that you had tagged me on Tumblr but didn't know how to respond back and tag you in the response = major fail on my part haha. And I think you would love Amsterdam! The city is so eclectic, there always seemed to be something going on or something to do no matter your interests. And the canals are the icing on the cake. I think having bodies of water in close proximity helped the keep the city feeling calm despite its vices.

    As for the white shorts, I got them from Old Navy. They are either 4 or 5 inch inseam which was perfect so my thighs wouldn't rub together when I was walking. The summer inner thigh chafe was and is very much real haha.