Amsterdam was a real eye-opener! I went, wondering just how in your face the whole smoking cafe and sex thing would actually turn out to be. Something that would be so unheard of here just fitted in and didn't seem that bizarre once you'd seen it. The ferry ride over turned out to be the first drunken celebration of my future sister in law's last single days - too much white wine and some dodgy dance moves later, we all fell into our bunk beds and got about four hours sleep! The next morning, having checked our bags in and re-fueled on toasted sandwiches and beer, we set off to explore. Shopping for shoes, an inflatable willy and a "spanky" stick proved to be quite tiring so some of us had an afternoon nap - without that I wouldn't have been able to get through the champagne quaffing, playgirl bunny outfit wearing, vodka downing fest that ensued. A meal based entirely on carbs proved to be life saver and ensured that none of us fulfilled the typical "Brit abroad throwing up in an alleyway" image that is normally associated with hen weekends!
We headed straight for the red light district as I for one, still couldn't believe that we really would see women in windows offering their wares to passers by. We bar hopped, in between checking out the girls, and some "girl/boys" I think, and got accosted by passers by (male and female) to have our picture taken. I'm not sure whether the photo op's were driven more by the fact that we were bunnies or that one of us was carrying a four foot inflatable willy named Colin! After a couple of rounds of "whip the preppy looking American boys" in yet another bar, half of us came over all sensible (and knackered!) and decided to call it a night. The other half managed to tough it out until daylight; as you may have guessed I fell into the first category and as a result, enjoyed my greasy breakfast far more the next day!
The ferry ride home was a more civilised affair for me consisting of a curry, a bottle of red wine, some duty free cosmetic shopping and a fairly decent amount of sleep. The Hard Core contingent partied one last time like it was 1999 before we docked at 8.00 am to face the long drive home.
Overall, I was proud of my ability to keep up with most of the group on the drink front and am glad that I'm old enough to know when to give in gracefully! Yet another benefit of being 39!