Desi Goes Shopping for Seeds In Amsterdam
In one of my trips to Europe, I traveled to London, Paris, and Amsterdam all alone, trying to be a backpacker, I think I liked Amsterdam the most of the three cities I visited on that trip. Oh no, it has nothing to do with the Red Light District or the museum of 3 letter words or even the Gandhi Restaurant, where I had one of my better Indian dinners outside India.
You see Amsterdam is a city designed for pedestrians and cyclists, and everywhere you go you will find both residents and vacationers riding bicycles in Amsterdam. No matter where you are in Amsterdam, you can rent a cycle and move around town as all major roads have cycling paths. But I chose to walk most of the time or take boat rides in its famous canals.
One funny incident I want to recall over here. I was walking on the main road opposite the Amsterdam Central Station towards to go to the Bloemenmarkt ( Bloem =flower, Markt= market), with the hope of buying some cacti seeds, and what do I see a beautiful board outside a shop claiming:
“All kinds of high-quality seeds available”
I thought what luck, now I don’t have to walk all the way to Bloemenmarkt so I entered the shop, and instantly noticed how different it smelled, but had no clue what the origin of the smell was.
So I ask this guy, “I need to buy some seeds, do you have any cactus seeds?”
He looked at me as if I was from some other country (which I actually was, remember I am from India 🙂 )
“No, we only have grass seeds, the very best, and 100% legal”
“No I don’t need grass seeds; I was looking at Cactus seeds”
“Well we only have grass seeds do you want any?”, with a look that meant don’t waste my time
“What kind of grass is this is it something special?”
“Yes, actually medicinal, which country you want to take the seeds to?”
“India,” I said now wondering what the fuss is all about.
“Hmm, I don’t think it is legal in India”
“No, cactus and grass both are legal in India”, now I wanted to go the bottom of the matter.
“Maybe cactus is but not grass, I have a list of countries where the grass is not allowed”
“What grass is this, because we have grass all over in India, what do you think all our Holy Cows eat?”, I tried to be funny.
“What do you mean cows eating grass? I am talking about Cannabis, GRASS, WEED, not the lawn grass”, suddenly my being from a foreign country was confirmed and I could see how amused the shopkeeper was.
I had my bulb lightning in comic strip moment, and I realized, this guy was selling seeds of Cannabis, a legal drug in the Netherlands.
Both of us understood what the confusion was and we gave a hearty laugh. He kindly explained to me a short cut to reach the Bloemenmarkt, which was better organized than the Gudimalkapur flower market we have here in Hyderabad. The Bloemenmarkt in Amsterdam not only sells flowers but all kinds of plants, seeds (including cactus and cannabis). It was a riot of colors and almost looked like an Indian Bazaar except that most things were well-organized and it was not noisy like our bazaars. So what did I got from Amsterdam, well I only got this little fridge magnet from there, which shows Tulip Fields, a farm girl wearing wooden shoes and an old windmill? Later on, it kind of became my habit to bring a fridge magnet from most places I visited outside of India. Rather than telling you from where all I got the fridge magnets, let me tell you that we still have a lot of fridge to cover as of now!
Anyways after this encounter, I continued on my souvenir shopping spree in Amsterdam, and just in case you are wondering what to shop in Amsterdam below is a list
What to buy in Amsterdam?
The Dutch have some unique things that may not be easy to find elsewhere so if you are traveling to Amsterdam or other parts of The Netherlands these are the things that you can consider buying as souvenirs from Holland
- If you like cheese get some Dutch Cheese as the Dutch make some great cheese. You will be amazed at the variety of cheese made in dairy farms around Amsterdam. As weed has been legal in the Netherlands for very long you can also find Cheese infused with weed if you are in that kind of thing.
- Among souvenirs, I can suggest models and fridge magnets of Windmills that are kind of symbol for the Netherlands.
- You can also get some unique wood shoes that the Dutch people wore in earlier days, they are available in most souvenir shops from small cute ones to big ones
- The Dutch also have some unique blue pottery that can be purchased as a souvenir.
- Amsterdam is the center of European horticulture trade if you are into any kind of gardening you can get some very unique plants that may not be easily available in your country. Something really special to consider buying is Tulip bulbs that you can plant in your home garden or in pots and they will bloom for you.
Note to my dear readers: This is only the second post on my foreign visits, the first was written for Ghumakkar. What do you say should I stick to being Desi or write a few posts about my Foreign travels also?
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