VINCE NEILSTEIN’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE TO AMSTERDAM AND PARIS
While MetalSucks shut down for the holidays and New York City braved one of the biggest blizzards it’s seen in years, metalgf and I headed overseas to get our adventure on in Amsterdam and Paris.
Behold, the pictorial story of our epic 10-day journey.
Be forewarned: traveling whilst looking like a terrorist is most likely a bad idea, so I decided to shave my epic beard (pictured here) before our trip. So pardon the clean-faced gentleman in these photos and let us never speak of this again. Onwards!
For those who haven’t been to Amsterdam, let’s set the scene. Amsterdam is pretty much the little village you imagine in fairytales; it’s got rows upon rows of 300+ year-old buildings that lean against one another like rows of crooked teeth, canals that weave through the city streets endlessly and a sense of charm you can barely imagine. Amsterdam’s become known as the mecca of weed and prostitution over the past 40 or so years, but that stuff is just a fraction of what the city has to offer, and, honestly, not even really the best part. Here are a few photos of idyllic Amsterdam streets:
Striking a metal pose at the “I amsterdam” sign, the Dutch equivalent of “I <3 NY”:
The crappy Heineken we drink in the States is barely worthy of association with the fantastic beverage served everywhere in Europe, especially Holland; the two are barely alike at all. A fresh glass of Heineken at a bar in The Netherlands is glass of refreshing, cold, delicious goodness; in the U.S. it’s piney and gross. So we decided to take a tour of the Heineken Brewery where the beer was made up until quite recently. The building from the outside:
At the end of the tour you get two free glasses. Invisible Heinekens!
The Dutch like Slash too.
These Herring stands are a fixture of the streets of Amsterdam… kind of like their version of New York’s varied pizza locales, but much, much fishier. The raw herring sandwich with pickles and chopped onions was one of the most delicious things I’ve ever had in my entire life, definitely on this trip, and that’s saying a lot as we basically spent our entire vacation eating. Here’s a choice Herring stand:
And the meal in question. Oh my God… so fucking good. I can almost still taste that salty raw fish goodness on my tongue:
I have no idea what the fuck the deal with this poster is, but it was too good not to take a picture of. Herring for the win!
Dutch Birds are apparently just as Angry as American Birds:
Rather than calling them “Weed Shops” or “Smoke Hangouts” or something equally ludicrous, all the marijuana establishments in The Netherlands are called Coffeeshops (yeah, you can get coffee at them too). Here’s one of our favorites, as recommended by Kip W., the dubbed-out, feel-good-vibey Dampkring. Dampkring has a glass counter showcasing samples of all their current featured strains and a digital menu updated regularly with prices and descriptions of the high each strain produces.
Another low-key coffeeshop we enjoyed, Amnesia:
Yet another, Siberie, right around the corner from the Bed & Breakfast we stayed at. It was a lot of fun to try out the different strains of bud at the various coffeeshops; even more fun, buying a pre-rolled spliff. “Don’t be a champ,” warned Kip W. when offering me pre-trip advise. “They’re pros.” Truer words, never spoken.
The snowy Holland countryside, as viewed from the window of our high-speed train to Paris:
The inside courtyard at The Louvre. We didn’t actually go in; lines were too long. But we did go to the Van Gogh and Rijk Museums in Amsterdam and the Orangerie in Paris, lest you think we’re uncultured twits:
View of the Eiffel Tower from the Champs Elysees:
The Crepe Man making us a delicious cheese and mushroom crepe:
View from the elevator taking us up into the Eiffel Tower. EPIC:
My attempt at Invisible Oranges atop the Eiffel in sub-freezing temperatures. Instead I just look like I have to take a shit THIS big:
Did I mention that we ate a lot on this trip? The French do some serious cooking, and we took full advantage; breakfast, lunch, dinner, that’s 3 meals in a day and not a single one went to waste. Here we have cod wrapped in cured ham in a tomato-y white bean sauce. And this was just for lunch:
And for dessert, a giant tray of cheese. You pay a flat fee for what essentially is the privilege of chilling with a giant basket full of different kinds of cheese, and you get to hang out with said rack as long as you like and sample the different cheeses until you’re content. Needless to say, it was amazing:
By far the most epic thing we did on our entire journey — way moreso than our trip up the Eiffel — was going to a performance of Mozart’s “Requiem” in the 170 year-old L’église de la Madeleine (Church of Madeline) in Paris. On our first day in Paris we saw the following flyer. Mozart is my favorite classical composer, the “Requiem” one of his most chilling and storied pieces (read up on its history), and it was being performed live inside a grandiose church; for only 30 Euros it was a no-brainer.
The stage, before the show:
Mural above the stage:
The performance. We counted 70 choir members, 4 lead vocalists, and a band that included 10 or so members (two violins, cello, oboe, clarinet, timpani… and some others). “Epic” does not begin to describe the scope of this performance:
Look at that giant organ! (rimshot) In the front of the church, the organ wasn’t used in the performance… but look at that fucking thing. I would’ve loved to see one of Bach’s Fugues performed here:
On our 3rd or 4th day in Paris I decided I’d walk around whilst listening to Gojira on my earphones. Headbanging at the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel near the Louvre:
Taking a piss in the fountain:
The Orangerie Museum had a collection of Monet’s lilypads series. Here I am staring intently at the fine brush work, which, apparently, is completely unreadable:
No big deal, just taking a little rest:
More food porn, this time a grilled salmon sandwich with creme fresh:
My imitation of a Frenchman:
A pre-New Year’s Eve spliff smuggled in from Amsterdam (shhhh!):
I’ve been to a lot of metal bars in the U.S. and let me tell you, few if any are as legit as the Black Dog in Paris. That place is for real, yo. We had several brews here before heading out for New Year’s Eve dinner, then heading back for a metal nightcap:
This “American Diner” located on the same block as our hotel in Paris inexplicably always had a line out the door. And it wasn’t American tourists craving a meal from back home but ordinary French folks packing this place at all hours. Mystifying:
The contents of this package got us through our return flight to the U.S., imbibed just before passing through security:
And thus ends our special journey. ‘Twas a blast, but back to the Mansion