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Bullfighting in Spain – Celebration or Condemnation

Find out why we made the conscious decision to watch the bullfighting in Spain at the San Fermin festival. We want your opinion too.

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Festival of San Fermin, Running with the Bulls Video, Pamplona

Warning: This post does contain graphic images 

I never thought that I would have to write those words at the top of any of our posts. But I felt it was necessary for this article.

Bullfighting in Spain

I am torn.

I can’t decide whether bullfighting in Spain should be celebrated or condemned. Is it so ingrained in Spanish culture that it should be left alone? Or is it cruelty hidden behind a thin veiled disguise called tradition?

While I don’t condone animal cruelty, I do recognise and celebrate traditions.

Experiencing San Fermin in Pamplona

The reason I love travelling is that you are exposed to so many different adventures.

We are like sponges, soaking up every cultural experience that we can get our jandals close to.

It’s why we chose to run with the bulls in Pamplona. And why we watched the bullfighting in Spain.

Running with the Bulls Pamplona

The San Fermin festival in Pamplona is the most well known bull-running and bullfighting festival in the world thanks to one writer. Ernest Hemingway.

For 8 days every year, hundreds of locals and tourists, including ourselves, pack 800m of narrow cobbled streets in Pamplona. Shoulder to shoulder they stand ready to run in front of a thundering pack of bulls.

It was the most terrifying and exhilarating travel adventure we have ever had.

One I will never do again.

We diced with death once, and that was enough for us.

While we were happy enough to run with the bulls, we were very conscious of our decision to watch the bullfight that evening. But considering that bullfighting has been a part of various cultures for thousands of years, and continues to be, there was no way I was going to miss this opportunity.

Because how can I speak out against what is right or wrong without experiencing it for myself? Who am I to speak out about how other people live their lives in cultures I barely understand?

These are questions I asked myself before we visited Spain.

Experiencing the Bullfighting in Spain

Bullfighting in Spain is one of the most celebrated spectacles in the country.

It is a pre-historic battle of man versus beast.

Bullfighting in Spain

Protestors against bullfighting in Spain call it a blood sport. The Matadors (or torero), and spectators, call it a ‘fine art’, similar to painting, dancing or music.

Each Matador is revered locally while the most famous are recognised nationally. And every man, woman and child that was present at the bullring seemed to be honouring each bull after it was killed.

Bullfighting in Spain Pamplona

While we knew that bulls were killed at the end of each day, we didn’t know anything more than that.

After speaking with a few locals we found out that only the 6 “new” bulls, out of the 12 that ran, are killed each evening in the arena.

These 6 bulls have been specially reared for this very reason. They live in relative luxury with very little human contact before they reach the bullring.

This supposedly makes them much healthier and stronger so that it is a fairer fight between the Matador and the bull. A fight that is virtually impossible for the bull to walk out of the ring a winner.

Bullfighting in Pamplona

Our experience and feelings

The Spanish are passionate with a capital “P”. When we discovered we had somehow secured seats in what seemed to be a locals only zone. We were stoked.

Sitting under the blistering sun we were surrounded by the Spanish singing, cheering and swigging back Sangria like it was going out of fashion.

They were here to celebrate.

They were celebrating what they believe is their right. But they were not celebrating death as they watched the bulls be slaughtered.

And we felt like we were part of the celebrations. We were not merely spectators watching from afar. They welcomed us into their singing circles even though we spoke limited Spanish. Filled our cups up with homemade sangria and fed us when we were hungry from their own picnic supplies.

As we watched the Matadors “dance” with the bulls around the ring I began to understand their passion. They were celebrating life. 

And I agreed with them.

Bullfighting in Spain

Preparing for the killing blow.

I don’t agree that the slow killing of these magnificent beasts is right. At the end of each fight I was willing the Matador’s to deliver the final killing sword strike to end their suffering.

Secretly I was hoping the bulls would get their own back. A goring of the Matador would have been something to see.

But most of all I realised that bullfighting in Spain is so much more than what some call a “blood sport”.

It is a time for friends and family to get together like they have been for the last few hundred years. A time to watch an event that is celebrated nationally.

Not to mention the fact that before their final fight, these bulls probably lead much better lives than the beef that is delivered onto your plate at home, at McDonald’s or in the frozen section of your local supermarket.

It is why I think that, if the majority of the population want to carry on watching bullfighting then they should be allowed to. I would probably even go along to another one.

Let us know in the comments below:

Have you ever witnessed something traditional overseas that you don’t agree with? And what are your thoughts on bullfighting?

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. D.J. - The World of Deej

    September 3, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    I understand the tradition and the spirit of community it brings, but I wouldn’t go to a bullfight. It’s like you said in the end, the bull dies a slow painful death, and that’s not really something I wish to see. I’d rather go to a football match:)

  2. Angela

    September 3, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    I hardly define it a sport, and I hardly feel sorry when a matador is injured. It’s just a slow torture to an animal that never wished to be killed that way with people cheering for it. My experience was actually different, I know and have met many Spanish people, nobody likes/wants this bullfighting tradition to continue, they are actually ashamed of it. Probably the Spanish you saw in the arena are not an exhaustive sample of the whole country..

  3. Bret@ Green Global Travel

    September 3, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    Nope, can’t bear to watch anything suffer. I have no problem with people killing animals for food, as long as it’s done sustainably and humanely. But if a human killed another human the way matadors kill bulls– slowly, torturously, taunting them as they bleed out–– we’d consider them a psychopath, not a hero. I respect cultural traditions in general, but I consider this one barbaric. If you’re going to kill an animal, either slit their throat or put a bullet to the head and get it over with.

  4. Marianne

    September 3, 2012 at 10:05 PM

    It´s a difficult decision. I haven´t ever been to a bullfight, so I guess I´m not qualified to comment, though I don´t really want to go to a bullfight so I can!

  5. Ali

    September 3, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    I went to the running of the bulls in 2000 when I was in Spain for study abroad, and it was interesting to see the bulls run into the arena at the end of it. That part isn’t so bad, no actual bullfighting, just the runners teasing the bulls and often getting flipped around a bunch. But I’m not sure I could handle a bullfight. Not only do I think it’s cruel, but I’m kind of a wuss when it comes to stuff like that. I don’t think I could handle the blood and the torture. At the time, we didn’t go because last minute tickets were outrageously expensive, but I didn’t think much about it beyond that. Now, I’m glad I didn’t and I don’t ever plan to go to one. I love Spain, but I just can’t watch that.

  6. Amanda

    September 4, 2012 at 2:31 AM

    I’m not sure I’d want to go to a bullfight. The whole “very slow death” part would bother me, I think.

    But I’m not one to judge another culture’s traditions just because they don’t mesh with mine.

    • Cole Burmester

      September 13, 2012 at 6:08 PM

      We felt the same Amanda. We were not happy with the “fight” but don’t want to say no to someone else because it is not part of our culture. I am sure they disagree with lots of stuff we do too!

  7. Stephanie - The Travel Chica

    September 4, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    Absolutely not. I went to a bullfight in Mexico many years ago on family vacation (don’t think the parents really knew what we were getting into).

    If it was a fair fight, I could tolerate it. But the fact that they stab the bull with a a spear with some sort of tranquilizer in it as he enters the ring gives the matador an unfair advantage.

    If you want to make killing animals a sport, make it fair. I know who I’m rooting for.

    • Cole Burmester

      September 13, 2012 at 6:07 PM

      Thanks for your thoughts Stephanie. We were cheering for the bull in each “fight” as well.

  8. Mike

    September 8, 2012 at 6:07 AM

    The tradition and the culture the bull fight brings is very understandable, but I wouldn’t go to a bullfight and see how these fighters kill the bull. I’d prefer to watch basketball.

  9. Al

    September 9, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    I love Spain but… sorry the ‘art’ of bullfighting is barbaric!

    The bulls have no chance, there is no fight with the matador being soundly protected by a posse whose sole purpose is to protect the ‘main character’.
    The bulls have no such protection and are slain cruelly, slowly and painfully.

    I attended an ‘amateur’ bullfight in Girona where there were a group of young Canadians (men and women).
    After the first bull was killed the Canadian women burst into tears stating that ‘They didn’t think they actually killed the bulls’!
    After many tears and the killing of the second bull the Canadians departed.
    Eight bulls were tortured that day – one having to endure the rookie attempts of a female matador making that animals death all the more prolonged and agonizing.

    The local ‘butcher’ was on hand to deal with the carcasses and was making a healthy profit selling the slaughtered meat to the locals.

    Every country has it’s traditions and they are entitled to them but.. bull ‘fighting’ is a play on words.

    There is no fight – only a slaughter that I for one cannot understand or tolerate.

    • Cole Burmester

      September 13, 2012 at 6:02 PM

      Thanks for dropping by Al and offering your thoughts on this.

  10. Drew

    September 16, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    I’m with the people here who are opposed to bullfighting. I went to a bullfight in Mexico City years ago, and found it to be very cruel. One of the bulls gored TWO of the bullfighters (I was silently cheering for the bull, truth be told), and it still wasn’t spared. It died a slow, painful, confused death.

    Bullfighting is no different than any other “sport” that involves animals dying…dog fighting, cock fighting, etc. The fact that it’s been a tradition for centuries doesn’t make it more acceptable.

    • Cole Burmester

      September 17, 2012 at 9:38 AM

      Thanks for your thoughts Drew. We were secretly cheering for the bulls as well.

  11. Paulina

    September 22, 2012 at 8:22 PM

    I was taken to bullfights as a child.The music, the ladies in their mantillas throwing roses etc., were exciting. I write this because it is frightening how a person can not have empathy for the bull. I went to quite a few of these fights,seeing the terrified horses being lifted off the ground etc., I even went to the choosing of the bulls by the matadors agents. Then i saw the final knife in the back of the neck and heard the bull’s terrible calls of it’s final distress and agony. I went to my room and thought. I concluded that humans can feed the cruel part of a personality or make the decision to not feed it and to turn against it. I was about 10yrs old. I came out of my room and said that bullfighting was terribly cruel, horrible and that I would never go again. It is so shameful that a government supports this horror, calling it art and I believe that it will die out because young Spaniards agree that it is so shamefull, so horrific and not acceptable for a ‘so called’ civilised society. Along with factory farming, greyhou nd racing, trophy hunting, we who see the beauty in animals must protest and stand up for the protection of our fellow creatures.
    I won’t go there again…

  12. A Cook Not Mad (Nat)

    September 23, 2012 at 4:58 AM

    The only time we’ve seen a bullfight was on a tv channel in France that showed hours of bullfighting. Figured we’d watch and see what it was all about. We watched three bullfights, each time the stadium was almost empty and the bulls had no chance to fight back. Traditions are great but evolution is something to consider in this instance.

  13. emma@greenglobaltravel

    September 24, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    It’s tough one to call because it’s such an old tradition and it does bring people together – but do we really need to do something quite so savage just to bring people together? We’re intelligent enough to know that that’s just not on anymore. THis was an interesting read, though. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Tom @ ActiveBackpacker

    October 3, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    Yep, it’s an interesting discussion that’s for sure. There is a big movement in Spain to get bull fighting banned, actually.

    I haven’t seen one myself, so cannot comment on a personal level. I’ve read a bit about it on the net though and I think I’m with the bulls on this one (and don’t think I would go – football is definitely a larger, more popular Spanish tradition!).

    • Cole Burmester

      October 4, 2012 at 5:03 PM

      We totally get that it is extremely cruel. But in our opinion it is quite hypocritical of people to say they should ban it when they eat caged battery hens or cows etc. But again totally different argument! Thanks for your comments Tom 🙂

  15. jules the traveller

    October 5, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    Very interesting article and it sounds like you had a fab time! This is a debate that will continue for decades to come much like fox hunting and similar ‘sports’. I haven’t partaken in either so possibly don’t have a fully informed opinion, but my initial reaction is negative. Killing animals for the sake of entertainment doesn’t sit right with me even if it is tradition and does bring people together. There are many other forms of entertainment that bring people together which do not include such brutality which I think I would prefer to be part of.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 5, 2012 at 6:05 PM

      I was just reading about the Fox hunting debate the other day as well. Thanks for your insight Jules.

  16. Alison

    October 7, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    I only recently discovered that they actually kill the bulls in such a horrible way at the end of the fights and this really shocked me. Personally, I could never go to anything like this knowing what takes place, despite it being a cultural tradition. The thought of any living thing being in prolonged pain for entertainment makes me feel ill and I know I’d find it too upsetting.

    • Cole Burmester

      October 8, 2012 at 9:03 AM

      It is horrible how they “bait” the bulls for about 20 minutes each. We were begging them to get it over with by the end.

  17. Yvonne

    October 27, 2012 at 8:09 AM

    I’ve never been to a bullfight and I’m not sure how to feel about it. I can see that it is more a celebration of life, as you describe it, than of death. But curious as I am I think I would go if I have the opportunity and then decide afterwards how to feel about it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 31, 2012 at 9:48 AM

      I think that you have to experience it before you can judge it. We hated the actual bull killing part, but the atmosphere and celebrations with the locals was amazing. Never done anything else like it!

  18. cheryl howard

    November 5, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    For sure, I could not bear to watch a bullfight and I’m definitely opposed to the killing afterwards.

    But then I think how I cheerily ate a hamburger just last week and I don’t think I have the right to cast judgement as the animal was killed for the purpose of me eating it.

    Regardless, a tough topic and you guys addressed it well. I think it’s nice how you were taken in by the locals to celebrate their traditions. 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      November 8, 2012 at 4:29 AM

      Thanks Cheryl. We knew it was going to be controversial when we posted it and the comments show that! But still glad we stood by our decision to go along and see what the festival was all about.
      And definitely agree that it is hard to judge someone when I think of some of the things that end up on our plates every day and wonder how they go there!

  19. Alexandra

    November 6, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    I think I might be the only person in the comments that would actually go to a bullfight. I am intrigues by the theatrics and drama. I find these types of windows into a countries soul so intriguing and they are one of the things I love most about traveling. I imagine I would feel the same way I did when I saw a royal cremation ceremony in Bali. So colorful and fanciful yet morbid and grotesque the juxtaposition was one of the most memorable things I have witnessed.

    • Cole Burmester

      November 8, 2012 at 4:49 AM

      We feel the same way Alexandra! And thanks for letting us know. We hope you do get to see a bullfight if you ever visit San Fermin, as they are one of the craziest festivals in the world. Looks like their time is running out though as more and more people complain.

  20. Corinne

    February 22, 2013 at 5:03 AM

    I can completely sympathize with the split feelings. I’ve been to a bullfight and yes, cheered and hoped the bull would win. I hated the little darts (picodilos?) that they spear the bull with to weaken him. I think that is the worst of the worst, as you say a slow death. However, I do think culture and tradition are extremely important. In the U.S. and Canada, native peoples are still doing this with whales. Why? To not lose that culture’s traditions. It’s a tough question! Love your post!

    • Cole Burmester

      February 22, 2013 at 8:12 AM

      Thanks so much for your insightful comment Corinne! Like I mentioned in other comments too, when it comes to what we do to other animals, bull-fighting is probably not even the worst treatment of animals!

  21. Nicole @ Suitcase Stories

    April 5, 2013 at 1:51 AM

    I always try and respect and understand the cultures of other countries. But I can not get on board with this. Id never watch on, not in a million years. Its barbaric and inhumane. I can not believe they are still letting this go on!

    Ive always wanted to be that person who accepts all traditions and cultures and even want to get involved when Im in their country but Ill never be able to get on board with this one. But I wont hold it against Spain as a whole, because I know many of them hate this tradition and want it wiped out! Lets hope that happens soon.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 5, 2013 at 9:20 AM

      Thanks Nicole for your comment. It is very true that many in the northeast of Spain don’t agree with the bull fighting but down South, as I understand, it is still very much alive. When I was walking on the Camino last month I was actually surprised to learn that they have a small “running with the bulls” festival in basically every village. Some of them just run with the bulls and don’t kill them which is good!

  22. PamplonaMan

    April 27, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Hi Cole & Adela,

    Bullfight is an art form & very much part of the culture of Spain as it is always listed on national TV & Newspapers under “Culture & Society” in the media!

    I also agree with you that a bullfight is most definiely a celebration of life!

    Viva San Fermin!

    PamplonaMan

    • Cole Burmester

      May 3, 2013 at 3:20 PM

      Thanks PamplonaMan. It is definitely a controversial topic…

  23. Adam

    October 21, 2014 at 6:23 AM

    I personally abhor it! Even though it’s “tradition”, sometimes you have to move on from the past…

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Europe

Amsterdam Food Guide

If you think of Amsterdam you don’t think of food. However if you try the food here in our Amsterdam food guide you might get lucky.

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Amsterdam Food Waffles

We are total foodies and our travelling has allowed our passion for food to grow considerably (not to mention our waist lines)!  We love trying new food when we visit foreign countries and always make a huge effort to eat the local cuisine. Check out some of the food we ate below in our cheap and delicious Amsterdam Food Guide.

Amsterdam Food Waffles

We had heard from a number of people that the Amsterdam food was nothing to rave about. To be honest food was not really our main interest in visiting but then again neither was an Amsterdam Peep show and we ended up enjoying that!

However we were pleasantly surprised. I think the people whom we had talked to had it wrong. Sure Holland doesn’t really have a local cuisine but once we got over this fact we realised there is still some damn good food to be had from the various Amsterdam Restaurants.

Amsterdam Food

The best meal we had was actually next door to the Red Light district in Chinatown. Crossing the canal to the east away from the neon lights your nostrils are attacked and your mouth begins salivating from the delicious smells wafting along the narrow cobbled streets.

As we walked into Bird Thai restaurant the enticing aroma hit us instantly leaving us drooling in anticipation. It was definitely up there with some of the best Thai food we have had. We went for the classic Green curry, fried rice and duck combo.

The Green curry was so flavoursome with the richness of the coconut milk blending perfectly with the traditional spices.  The duck was cooked to perfection and for the first few minutes of the meal all you could hear was the crunching of the crispy outside layer as we devoured the duck in minutes. Needless to say the fried rice was a taste explosion too!

Cheap and delicious Amsterdam food is easy to come by. With hangovers and munchies affecting your hunger it is no surprise that there are an abundance of Fast Food chains and takeaways in Amsterdam. In fact it was actually more the way that the fast food was served that surprised us as you could buy it out of massive vending machines at Febo!

Amsterdam Food Febo

Hidden workers stand behind the vending machines churning out burgers, fries and sausage rolls so all you has to do is insert a Euro and “hey presto” you have a hot meal in your hungry hands.

Then there were the frites stores which seemed to be on every corner. The first thing you noticed about these was the tantalising smell. There is nothing like the smell of chips straight out of the fryer and covered in salt to get you tummy rumbling. Served in a triangle cardboard carton and covered in mayo which meant that that you couldn’t reach the chips at the bottom without covering your greedy fingers in sauce. Just a tad annoying!

But there is nothing like hot chips to warm you up on a cold day.

Finally, while hot chocolates are not typically food I feel they still deserve a mention especially because the usually come paired with waffles! Ahhhh the perfect breakfast.

Amsterdam Hot Chocolate

We loved nipping into a cafe or bar like Cafe Bar Eddy in Amsterdam to warm ourselves up with a hot chocolate. It literally tasted like they had melted chocolate down and added cream. Heaven in a cup. And the choice of waffles was daunting as you could have whatever you wanted. Fruit, chocolate, syrups, cream or all of the above!

If you are heading here then don’t expect to find an array of traditional Amsterdam food. Instead treat yourself to a hot chocolate and waffle for breakfast, grab a quick bite from a vending machine and sample some of the different cuisines found near the Red Light District.

If you stick to this Amsterdam food guide then your taste buds will have a great holiday too!

If you have visited before then what did you think of Amsterdam food?

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Europe

How to smoke weed in Amsterdam

Check out our guide for the first timer in Amsterdam visiting a coffeeshop.

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How to smoke weed in Amsterdam

Before getting started I just want to clarify that we are not drug users. We don’t condone using illegal drugs. And we are not telling you to go and smoke weed in Amsterdam. BUT, our goal of this travel blog is to help advise, educate and provide travel tips for ALL situations. So if you are headed to Amsterdam then we hope our guide to smoking weed in Amsterdam will help you out.

And check out this smoker friendly accommodation for your next trip.

How to smoke weed in Amsterdam Coffeeshop

When you tell people that you are visiting Amsterdam then they immediately think of one thing and one thing only. Weed. Dope. Herb. Buds. Spliff. Whacky Tobbacky. Pot. Marijuana. Cannabis. 

Call it what you will but just know that the biggest name for it is “ILLEGAL”.

Yes it is actually illegal to smoke weed in Amsterdam. But for now the Netherlands government do tolerate smoking in designated “coffeeshops”. This is slowly changing as the Government tries to moderate the tourism drug trade and in 2013 there will be new laws which we won’t go in to now as they are continuously changing.

In the meantime if you obey the rules, are not a moron and use our guide to smoking weed in Amsterdam then you are going to be fine.

Smoke weed in Amsterdam

How to smoke weed in Amsterdam

Don’t smoke weed in Amsterdam in public such as on the streets. There are over 300 designated coffee shops where you are tolerated to smoke weed. These places are regulated and everything is done in the open.

Don’t get confused and try to smoke in a koffiehuis (coffee house) which sells coffee and light meals or a café that is a casual restaurant and/or bar.

The coffeeshops are super easy to spot with marijuana leaves in the windows and Bob Marley paintings on the doors. Not to mention the smell wafting through the cold breeze. There will also be the usual tourists that have stupidly over-indulged and are glassy eyed.

We visited one of the five Bulldog coffeeshops when we were in Amsterdam and had no complaints. We even enjoyed a delicious hot chocolate while we were there!

Bulldog Coffeeshop in Amsterdam

Buying weed in Amsterdam

As long as you are over 18 then you will be allowed to buy up to 5 grams of weed in the regulated coffeeshops. Plus you have the added security knowing that your marijuana is not going to be laced with anything else if you are attempting to buy it off someone on the street. And who knows, they might be setting you up to get busted.

We were (and are) total amateurs and had no idea what to do once we actually stepped foot in the coffeeshop. But quickly sussed it out. There will generally be a “dealer bar” with full menu’s and everything for you to choose. So if you are an expert you will probably know what to order! Prices will of course vary by quantity (grams, bags, individual joints) and quality.

For a beginner ask lots of questions. Don’t be shy like we were. Ask the staff what they recommend and what effects each type has. They will know then that you are a newbie and will guide you. Just know that they are very accustomed to tourists who don’t know exactly how to go about the whole process.

What we found out is that it is actually perfectly fine for you to visit other coffeeshops and smoke weed that you have already purchased somewhere else. However, it is considered rude not to at least buy a hot chocolate or coffee if you do this. Coffeeshops do also have some of the best coffee in Amsterdam.

How to smoke weed in Amsterdam

Don’t be an idiot

Number 1 rule: Don’t smoke too much weed in Amsterdam! Even if you are a pot loving hippie from a commune you are probably going to find the marijuana really strong in Amsterdam. Just take it slow.

If you are enjoying a drink as well then again take it easy with the booze. All the coffeshops won’t sell you beer as well as cannabis.

EAT! Don’t go drinking and smoking on an empty stomach as cannabis lowers your blood sugar level and this can turn a fun day into a disaster if you haven’t eaten recently. Check out our Amsterdam Food Guide for some quick eating tips here.

A final word of warning, please watch out for the spacecake! Eating cannabis will knock you on your ass and is much stronger than when smoked.

Finally, enjoy yourselves and for goodness sake obey the rules, laws and customs while you are smoking weed in Amsterdam.

If you have an addiction to drugs then reach out and seek some help.

Check out these Weed Products for your next travel adventure.

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Europe

Four Jandals Visits an Amsterdam Peep Show

Have you ever wanted to visit an Amsterdam peep show? We had the chance to go and embraced it with open arms. Check out our experience here

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Amsterdam peep show Sex Palace

An Amsterdam peep show is a must, just like visiting the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Okay slightly different. But you have got to go!

And if you have ever wanted to visit Amsterdam then more than likely you are going to be interested in checking out a peep show in the red light district. It might be worthwhile checking out this Amsterdam’s Red Light District – The ultimate guide.

Amsterdam Moulin Rouge Red Light District

There is something about the red light district that draws the punters and tourists alike in. Maybe it is the bright red neon lights that illuminate the darkened alleyways that pull them in like moths to a flame. Or the bars and coffee shops that let a certain smell waft lazily across the glistening canals.

Or maybe it is just the fact that sex really does sell.

When we visited Amsterdam with a couple of friends we actually spent what I now consider an embarrassingly long time in that same area. The fact is that we seriously could not get enough.

Not like that of course!

We just couldn’t believe that everyone is so open and carefree about what is for all intents and purposes, window shopping for sex. The number of guys knocking on windows and being ushered behind the curtains of every room were staggering.

However, we were not enticed ourselves to fork over $50 euros but were intrigued enough to want to check out an Amsterdam peep show. I just want to clarify here that it was actually Adela that was the most keen. I just didn’t want to let her down so went along with it…

Amsterdam Red Light District

http://www.flickr.com/photos/shaynekaye/4792525797

Visiting the Amsterdam peep show

Much to our surprise, there is only one Amsterdam peep show left in the whole city back in 2012!

The very originally named “Sex Palace” is situated on the banks of one of the main canals in the heart of the red light district on Oudezijds Achterburgwal street. Walking under the neon flashing lights into the entrance way your senses are assaulted by sights, sounds and disturbingly smell.

All around the walls are posters and screens showing ladies in various states of undress and positions. A white board lists the movies that you can rent out for your viewing pleasure in one of the many private booths. But we were only there for one thing:

The circular structure sitting slightly to the left of the entrance with a dozen small doors along it’s walls. 

Each of those small doors lead into equally small rooms no larger than a traditional UK phone box. A small covered viewing window blocks your view forward.

The money box clinging to the wall to operate the viewing window only accepts coins. But don’t worry if you only have notes as they handily have a large coin machine dishing out $2 euro coins for ease of watching.

Once you close the door and chuck in your money, the viewing window pops open for 2 minutes and allows you to view the large, slowly-rotating stage on which a scantily-dressed woman displays herself. With her flexibility she could have represented any country in the upcoming Olympics!

Amsterdam peep show Sex Palace

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattmangum/2301545978

I was cracking up laughing the entire time I was in there because you can actually just make out the rest of the “audience” in the opposite booths. I even got a little wave and smile as the girl slowly revolved past my window.

The Amsterdam peep show was a little bit creepy. But even though we were there late on a Saturday night the booths were doing a roaring trade. Obviously nearly everyone else, from the hens parties to the couples, were there for the same reason as us. To check out one or two rounds before heading back into the night giggling like school girls at a sleepover at what we had just done.

The shifty eyed single men on the other hand skulked away to their respective viewing windows again and again with pockets full of coins.

If you ever get the chance then we actually do highly recommend taking the plunge and visiting an Amsterdam peep show. Just make sure that you are always respectful of the women in the shows and the ones on the streets!

Have you ever been to an Amsterdam Peep Show or Sex show? Tell us about your experience below.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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