Andy Herbach gives you travel tips to make your trip to Europe easy and fun.
Cafe Marly at the Louvre in Paris
Relax with a glass of wine at Cafe Marly overlooking the pyramid entrance to the Louvre.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Recreational Drugs and Tourism: Amsterdam's Coffeeshops
Recreational drugs are a big part of Amsterdam’s appeal to some tourists. Coffeeshops are not cafés. You drink coffee, smoke cigarettes and have a snack at a café. You buy and smoke marijuana at a coffeeshop. How can you tell the difference? Other than the telltale smell, most coffeeshops display a Rastafarian flag (red, yellow and green). Sanctioned shops display a sticker that says “Coffeeshop BCD.” Marijuana is sold openly in Amsterdam (although it and all hard drugs remain illegal). About 250 cafés are licensed to sell a maximum of 5 grams per adult. Coffeeshops feature lists of types of marijuana, hashish and stickie (a hashish joint rolled with tobacco) from which to choose. It’s taxed and regulated. Some shops even have delivery service! They sell cakes, muffins, brownies and chocolates made with hash or marijuana with names like “space cakes” or “space sweets.” Don’t smoke pot on the street as it’s considered rude. Never buy drugs from street dealers, and if you choose to partake in the drugs available at these shops, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. There are many locations of Bulldog, said to be the oldest coffeeshop in the city (www.bulldog.nl).
Andy Herbach is the author of several Open Road guides, including Best of Paris, Best of Provence, and Best of Spain. He is the co-author of the Eating & Drinking Series of menu translators and restaurant guides, including Eating & Drinking in Paris, Eating & Drinking in Italy, and Eating & Drinking in Spain. Andy is a lawyer and resides in Milwaukee.