Amsterdam is a maze.
Each hour, my friend Billy and I lost ourselves in alleys, canals and cobbled streets. The lanes connected at odd angles; they changed texture, defied logic. Where we expected to find the sea, we found brick dead-ends. The Red Light District eluded us for hours, and when we finally stumbled past the eerie windows containing women in lingerie, it was by accident.
But the traffic was strangest of all: Trams rumbled over bridges, clanging bells to warn us off the tracks. Bicycles sneaked around corners, then whirred quietly around us. Cars squeezed past each other and narrowly missed pedestrian toes.
As the sun burned on the horizon, each street sucked us further into the gathering dark; the row houses blazed, one after another, with tacky neon signs. Cannabis smoke filled our sinuses as it wafted from the cafes.
When we finally reached our hotel – a little place along a dark canal street – cold and silence had descended. In the vacuum of sound and movement, we could only watch the reflection of Amsterdam's houses in the water, trembling.