By James Tisdale
After successfully navigating our way across the channel the tour arrived in Hemp City Haarlem. Our first port of call was Willie Wortel’s Indica, one of the coffee shops that took part in last year’s 420 Cannalympics. Some very special ‘off the menu’ Cheese hash was kindly shared by the coffee shop owners and 420 organisers Nol and Peter with the group. We patiently queued for our first taste of Dutch Cannabis and various hashes from other parts of the world before getting comfortable in our surroundings and enjoying our herbs and a bit of lunch. we then embarked on the short drive to Amsterdam central where the group were located in hostels in the Leidseplein area.
Our Friday afternoon was spent enjoying a group smoke in the Cannabis College, where we were able to view a cannabis growing room, use the Volcano vaporiser’s and keep up to date with the latest cannabis knowledge with the friendly staff. They were happy to recommend some of the better coffee shops in the area, advice which is invaluable as a tourist.
Heading back from the Cannabis College a few of the group peeled off into the Dampkring for a cheeky few before dinner. A group dinner was organised in a pleasant Steak restaurant in Leidseplein square. Everything went smoothly and the diners all seemed to enjoy the food and the company. With the anticipation of the next day growing, we hit some more coffee shops before retiring for the night.
There is only one thing a group of cannabis enthusiasts can do when waking upon the day of 420. And that is bake. So bake we did on this lovely sunny morning before the group went off into the day. Some more coffee shops were frequented, and the sights and sounds of Amsterdam were soaked up. The time was fast approaching half past three so we dutifully headed to Amsterdam city hall by Waterlooplein to demonstrate. Passionate and moving speeches were delivered by the organisers Nol and Peter, Des Humphries and Soma, amongst other activists. Some particularly large joints made their way around the diverse crowd, and a sense of unity was evident amongst the participants. We spared a thought for those around the world expressing their frustration at cannabis prohibition, especially our friends and family in the UK. We soon learned of the momentum that was gathered in Hyde park and this raised our spirits further.
From the demonstration we eagerly made our way to the main even; The 420 smoke-out festival and after party. It was here that the brave Cannatheletes would compete for the ultimate Prize, and international bragging rights. Although Team GB put up a valiant effort to claim the first prize, their efforts were thwarted by the experienced Dutch team. Bobby Dread of Team GB took gold in the “RC Hash Car Racing Whilst Holding A Lung of Bong Smoke” event, and Sir Winston Matthews Claimed another Gold in the “Pure Bonging” event. The stage was set for a dramatic finish however the Dutch claimed the gold medal in this closely fought competition.
The next day we checked out of our hostel after an early morning smoke and a breckfast and one more headed to Hemp City Haarlem for a last taste of the Dutch Coffee Shop culture that had we all become so accustomed too. Silver Pearl, Bubblegum Hash, and some oily Lebanese were to be part of my final hurrah in Holland. We soaked up some more scenery and the past two hours sailed briefly and happily by. The Coach awaited us for our final leg of the Journey back onto home soil. The crowd, enthused by the past few days events, were full of mixed emotions as we left Holland. We didn’t want to leave the coffee shops, but the thought of returning to friends and family dampened the blow delivered by the prohibitive laws of the UK. I hope that one day I can leave Holland without any regrets.
To get involved in the next Amsterdam and Haarlem tour with NORML UK & the UKCSC’s book now at www.Travelholics.co.uk/normlukcsc-amsterdam
A huge thank you goes out to Nol and Peter for all their hard work and effort in making the Amsterdam 420 an unforgettable trip.