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When I heard about the tour of Amsterdam's red light district I just had to write. When I was in college, two friends and I decided to go to Europe. I had been to Europe in high school on school arranged tours as had my friend Happy. We wanted to go to England, but our other friend had never been to Europe and convinced us to sign up for a tour of European capitals. Then she backed out, but we were stuck.

We were the only young people on this tour. Most of the others were older couples. The first city was London and Happy and I had a great time going off on our own. Then we arrived in Amsterdam in the late afternoon. We were a bit apprehensive since the only Dutch my Dutch mother ever taught me was "toilet paper." The other couples invited us to join them for dinner. So off we went.

One of the men had the book Europe on $10 a Day and had picked a Chinese restaurant from it. We got a map of the city and he tried to lead us but got thoroughly confused. So I took the map (being good with maps) and led us in the most direct route to the restaurant. Unfortunately, the most direct route led right through the Red Light District! Compounding this, one of the older ladies had just had a cast taken off her leg and walked very slowly with a cane.

Happy and I would walk as fast as possible, heads down, not looking at the shops, or the ladies leaning out the windows calling out to people going by. We would wait in the darkness by the canal for the rest of the group to catch up, and then repeat the process again. Finally we made it to the restaurant. They were about to close their kitchen, but we must have looked so desperate they let us order. Happy and I were eating away when a fly crawled out of her egg roll. That was the end of our appetite. For the next few days we chose our restaurants out of Fodor's and went by ourselves. We treated ourselves to the fanciest French restaurant in town, the Black Sheep. At least we could read the menu!

I love your show and try to work into my schedule each week.




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