Our last night on the cruise would be in Amsterdam. Our cruise director had told us that if we wanted to he would take us on a tour of the Red Light Area. So at 9.15 about 40 people all crowded into the reception area of the ship.
He gave us a few tips on surviving the tour.
No pictures or videos to be taken of the girls or you could find your camera flung into one of the many canals.
Be careful of pic pockets and have your wits about you.
Watch out for silent trams and bikes have right of way!
Off we went, he walked very fast so we were doing a trot to keep up with him.
The Red light area is full of pubs, clubs and coffee shops.
Its been around since the 1300, when the women would carry red lanterns that flickered to greet the sailors in the bars and the port. Prostitution wasn’t legal until 1810 and brothels not till 2000 were legalised. The city is attempting to clean up the area, and the girls now must close between 6am and 8am, and there are fewer red light windows. Although there are still 290 Red Light Windows. The city is also encouraging fashion studios and art gallery’s to open up in the area.
It was very vibrant and lots of music and people laughing and enjoying life. Its a maze of small streets and canals and of course cobblestones. Lots of flowers too!. Europeans love their flowers!
The rule of thumb for the girls is if the curtain is drawn they are working. They sit in the windows waiting for their customers. Often they can be seen talking on their phones or posing to entice the customers in. We wondered if they were having a conversation with their mothers “yes Mum its a bit quiet tonight, oh a load of tourists just came past” Or ” yes that recipe sounds good” I’m sure the conversation was a bit more bawdy than that.
Some of the streets were so narrow that if someone was coming the other way you had to turn sideways and hug your body against the wall.
There are now several Museums in the Red Light area, you can learn everything you want to know or not know about the girls profession.
It was certainly was an eye opener even though I have seen Hay Street in Kalgoorlie Western Australia, I do think if you ever visit Amsterdam, its well worth a walk though. There are tours you can do if you do not want to walk it alone.
Getting back to the ship about an hour later, we certainly had lots to talk about.
What an amazing way to end a wonderful 7 day cruise!