A Return to ‘Hill Street Blues’ in Amsterdam

A new adventure awaits on every trip. But that doesn’t mean you never revisit the places you visited on prior travels. Of course, your time might not be the same. New memories await. And even if the place hasn’t changed – I learned you have.

the new sign in Amerstam, I AMsterdam

the new sign in Amerstam, I AMsterdam

A recent trip to Amsterdam, my third, included both a few new attractions such as the Van Gogh Museum, the Heineken Experience and a return to an old favorite spot. Both new attractions, very popular spots, I certainly enjoyed. Yet I learned long ago a city is more than its tourist attractions.

To me, exploring a city is walking the streets and finding that cafe for a coffee or finding that special restaurant for that special culinary creation. And  sometimes it is just about finding a place to sit down and enjoy conversation with new friends, loved ones, locals or perhaps even just for some good alone time. From my past travels to Amsterdam, one such  place where I enjoyed such moments was the “Hill Street Blues Cafe-Bar”

an Orange Bicycle in Amsterdam, Holland

an orange bike on the canal

I first stumbled upon the cafe on my virgin trip to the canal city. That was 12 years ago and in a different era for travel. A time when the internet was not mainstream (not sure when Al Gore invented it) and at a time when GPS or Google maps didn’t tell us how not to get lost. And frankly, a time I am glad to have known and traveled in. So for nostalgia,  I decided to let memories serve as both my guide and directions and not my iPhone on my quest to find the Cafe and Coffee Shop.

The beacon - Hill Street Blues Cafe

One evening just after sunset on the canal and after finishing up my walking audio tour I sensed a proximity. I was close. Ah, I knew it would come back to me. It did.

A left, than a right, guesses maybe, intuition more likely, I noticed the illuminated Union Jack and American flag. I arrived to the The Hill Street Blues Cafe-Bar and could not hide my smile.

Certainly, better cafes exist in Amsterdam, but this place holds my memories. It was a time in my life when I traveled with two other Americans and fellow fraternity brothers. As recent college graduates armed with money from our corporate jobs we traveled Europe, celebrated freedoms and planned to travel the rest of the world if not attempt to conquer it.

I entered. The time warp began. I imagined my friends at the table as a wave of emotion overcame me. Wow, twelves years flashed before me. The good, the bad and the beautiful.

I then wondered, did I accomplish anything I talked about inside these four walls?

Eventually, I realized I did and realized how much I changed in those 12 years even as the placed looked the same.  We all had.

So, my first thought, why not sit down open my journal and write down some ideas for the next 12 years. But, no that didn’t feel right.

the Hill Street Blues Cafe in Amsterdam

the first floor of Hill Street Blues

Then it hit me. I wrote thanks. Thanks for twelve great years, thanks for the many adventures, and thanks for the opportunity to see Amsterdam both then and now.

Stay adventurous, Craig

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  • Daft Yank

    That place is great! My friends tell me I had a great time when I was there. I must say, it has the best candles in the world, I could watch them for hours.

    • http://www.stayadventurous.wordpress.com stayadventurous

      Ah….from one Daft Yank to another, glad to have enjoyed the candle light with you.

      stay adventurous,

  • Nicole

    i like your blog :) keep it up.

  • Reggie

    I love your travels! Stay well!

  • http://aiken.pmhclients.com/index.php/forums/member/3712/ Amsterdam Coffee Shop

    The best weed is in Amsterdam, hands down!

  • jway

    By every objective measure, cannabis is far safer than alcohol, so why should the purchase and home production of cannabis be *more* restricted than alcohol?

    Paranoid old men in the federal government keep cannabis illegal and make your children LESS safe!

    • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

      I can’t answer the fact about paranoid old men…. but I can say, I selected Hill Street Blues back 12 years ago because it served both…
      stay adventurous, Craig

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