I went to Amsterdam for the art. Specifically modern art. I went for an Expressionistic art workshop, where I learned that I needed to free my mind of inhibitions and open my eyes to new ways of viewing the world. My time was spent painting with my hands, visiting the Rijksmuseum, the Modern Contemporary Museum and the Van Gogh Museum.
Our painting workshop motto was buzzing through my head after a morning of hand painting, “art expression from the inside out.” After class, my goal was to find the Van Gogh Museum as I was casually strolling down Prinsengracht toward the Museumplein with one of my painting colleagues. The Atelier Molenpad, an historic art studio in the heart of Amsterdam, was within walking distance to the Van Gogh Museum. Of course most of Amsterdam is easy to get to either by walking or by bicycle. There is so much to take in on every street; the canals, the boats, the shops. All of the senses popped as I thought, “this is Europe”.
On our journey, my friend and I came upon a coffee shop and thought, “Oh yes! Coffee? Well, maybe. Cannabis? Well Yes!” It was the Easy Times Coffeeshop after all - the gourmet one-stop shop for weed.
Imagine two gals approaching their 60th birthdays. Imagine that the gals have not tried Cannabis since high school in the late 60’s. Imagine two law abiding, career oriented women making a right turn into the Easy Times Coffeeshop. That is just what we did with silly little grins on our faces, slightly embarrassed, slightly shy, extremely curious.
Easy Times Coffeeshop
We discovered upon entering the "House Rules":
You have to be 18 or older; that is good.
All IDs must be presented; very good.
No weapons, no alcohol, no hard drugs are allowed, no cigarettes; yes, this is good.
You can not bring food or drink; this is ok.
Consumption is obligatory and you can buy up to 5 grams per person; what and yikes!!!
Did we have a particular motive for walking into the Easy Times Coffeeshop? No reason. I had walked by many shops, in fact there are about 200 coffee shops in Amsterdam. It just seemed like the right time, and yes, we ended up “tasting” the cannabis that day.
We began with the menu and quickly got lost. What in the world to order? It was not easy trying to figure out what to try but the young man at the coffee bar was extremely polite and informative. He explained that buying and smoking cannabis products in Amsterdam is not totally legal, yet the use of small amounts is tolerated. He also said smoking in public is not exactly legal, nor is drinking alcohol. I translated this to mean, “don’t do anything stupid, gals.”
We had told him that we have not smoked cannabis since the 9th grade. He said that the THC levels can be very strong so advised that we take it slow and start with a Sativa strain which will give a more uplifting high. Indica is more potent, certainly not recommended for us.
“Do you want to roll your own joint, have a pre-rolled or vaporizer? Do you want me to select a light, get up and go, good morning - type blend?”
I can’t remember what he picked from the extensive menu of names like Blueberry O.G., Pineapple Chunk or Kandy Kush.
“I was very good at rolling joints in my day”, offered my friend.
“Ok then" he said casually, "I will show you to a table and bring your order over.”
"Excellent service,” whispered my friend as the young man escorted us into the “moroccan room”, where there were comfortable chairs and tables.
Moments later, the waiter returned with the morning blend, rolling papers and a lighter. My friend said "I think I can do this", so she rolled the joint, very loosely. I lite it, and then we started cracking up - the joint went up in flames! In fact, we had created a fire. The waiter rushed over, “I think you ladies should use our vaporizer, let me show you.”
We each had one big hit. “Thank you, I think we will be good with just one.”
“Ok, ladies, are you sure?” We were both feeling like lightweights, unsure how the one hit would go for us. “Yes, we are good, dank je!”
We decided that we would be on our way and headed out to visit Van Gogh.
At the museum, my senses were keen, everything seemed so vibrant, clear. From the moment I entered until I left 5 hours later, I was captivated by each of Van Gogh’s paintings.
“Sunflower, 1889" popped and swirled with movement. I became deeply intrigued with story of the “The Yellow House,1888". I lingered with each art piece a little longer than normal, each work spoke to me in ways that I had not expected, as if each work and I carried on a spiritual conversation.
The green blue colors of “Almond Blossom, 1890", drew me to the point of ecstasy The art was living and breathing in me, in ways I had never experienced before.
What was different this time? The coffeeshop’s ‘morning blend’! The morning treat had enhanced my senses, opened my mind to a more intimate way of viewing art.
I went to Amsterdam for the art but discovered that even Van Gogh can be enhanced with a little bit of cannabis.
With love from Amsterdam,
About the author (pictured above): Nantz Pantz enjoys traveling, art and new adventures