In April, my wife and I took a trip to Europe. We set our sights on London and Amsterdam.
Here is a story about Amsterdam.
It is a beautiful city, first of all. If you have a chance to go, do it.
Amsterdam is famous for their, um, coffee. There are coffee shops everywhere.
I have had a lot of different types of coffee over the years. But, I heard that the coffee in Amsterdam is much stronger than any coffee that I have had in the United States.
Our first full day in Amsterdam, we went to a coffee shop to see what all of the fuss is about. We went into the first coffee shop that we saw. We stepped up to the counter and looked at the menu. The menu had varieties of coffee that I had never heard of. The barista came over and asked what kind of coffee we were looking for.
I explained that we were just looking for good coffee nothing too strong. He picked a coffee and served it to us. We found a table and sat down to have some coffee.
I am not a coffee drinker by any means. I drank a lot of coffee in college, but have had very little since. Within 10 minutes of my first sip of coffee, I knew that I had too much caffeine already.
My feet started to tingle, my arms got really light and my eyes started feeling dry. I knew that I needed to get some fresh air because the smell of coffee in the shop became overwhelming. My heart raced and I started to think that maybe I had a little too much coffee.
“I think I need to go outside” I said to my wife, I felt like I screamed at her.
“Ok, we can do that.” She said.
The coffee shop seemed to have a playlist that played reggae music exclusively. The music echoed in my ears fading in and out. I found it very distracting.
I sat silently trying to figure out what my next move should be. The coffee had begun to impair my judgement.
After a couple of minutes, I put both of my palms on the table and said, “We need to go back to the hotel.” I stood up and started to make may way to the exit. I decided that I needed to relax in our hotel for a little while so the caffeine high would die down a little bit.
Coffee tends to make me a little paranoid.
The first obstacle that I needed to conquer were 3 steps. All stairs in Amsterdam are steep and narrow. After my coffee these 3 steps looked like an extension ladder.
I am going to fall. I can’t make it down these stairs.
I walked down them sideways, holding the rail taking one step at a time.
Walking through the coffee shop I thought maybe I would be alright once we were outside. I thought the fresh air and sunshine would help to clear my head.
We stepped outside on to the sidewalk. Amsterdam is also famous for its biking community. Bikes and mopeds flew in front of my face in both directions. I thought for sure I would be hit by one of them. I almost screamed.
“Yeah, I need to go back to the hotel.”
I clung to my wife’s arm as we walked back to our hotel less than a half mile away.
I couldn’t feel my feet or my hands. Coffee has never had this effect on me. I looked at my feet in amazement of my ability to walk.
How is this possible?
On our route back to the hotel, we had to walk under a long overpass that held train tracks. To me, it looked like a never-ending tunnel to nowhere. I tightened my grip on my wife’s arm.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
“Yeah, I’m ok!” I said, it still sounding like shouting in my ears.
Gravity started to play little tricks. It felt like the sidewalk sloped downward at a thirty degree angle. I adjusted my posture accordingly.
We successfully made it out the other side of the never-ending tunnel. A fellow pedestrian approached from the front. My thoughts were irrational.
Don’t walk into him. Don’t walk into him. Don… Ugh, that was close. Why is my mouth so dry? It can’t be good for my mouth to be this dry. My throat is dry too. I am not producing any saliva… can I die if my throat gets to dry? Of course not, but can I? That coffee is much stronger than the barista let on. Oh no…
The most daunting portion of our journey back to the hotel stood in front of me. An uncontrolled, 3 way intersection that looks like this.
I will never make it across. I can’t feel my feet. They might be attached to the concrete. How will I run to avoid the cars and bikers?
“I don’t think I can do this” I said, sincerely believing that I may not make it.
“You will be fine, I will make sure we make it” my wife said.
All of the cars and bikers blurred together. It reminded me of the most difficult level of Frogger, ever.
My wife proved to be a trustworthy guide and we successfully crossed the chaotic intersection.
I can’t believe I made it. I still can’t feel my feet.
We made it back to our hotel successfully. Relaxed for an hour and slowly the caffeine high died down. We were able to continue our sight-seeing.
Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. It might the best walk I have ever taken in my life.
But be warned, if you find yourself in Amsterdam… their coffee is very strong.