Too Many Space Cakes and My Unexpected Trip To Holland

I had my first experience of Holland almost 2 years ago now, and it was unexpected to say the least. I had been on my way to visit friends near Düsseldorf, when a few days before my flight I decided to check out the transport from the airport to the city. I suddenly realised that what Ryan air had described as Düsseldorf was actually 60 miles away in the small town of Weeze, just outside the Dutch border. Realising I would have actually been cheaper to fly with a more expensive airline right into Düsseldorf International, I decided to make an impromptu change to my trip , and booked a coach to Utrecht, a small city about an hours drive from Amsterdam.

I’m not sure what made me pick Utrecht, but in picking that city the rest of my trip would go in an entirely different path to what I expected. The idea was to spend 2 or 3 nights in a city out with the tourist trail of Holland, but that was also still big enough to have reasonably good night life and amenities. Utrecht as I found out was predominantly a University city, so with an abundance of students (and student priced alcohol and food!) I immediately knew I had found the perfect place for crazy parties and an escape from the stress and strains of work back home.

For those thinking of going to Holland at some point, or passing through Utrecht, I highly recommend the hostel I stayed at called “Hostel Utrecht City Center”. Aside from the fact it’s really central, they offer free internet and free food! Albeit the food is mainly cheese, ham, and veggie burgers, it really saves you a lot of money. The beds are really comfy too, the staff were very friendly, and it’s a lot cheaper than you would get anywhere in nearby Amsterdam.

I made friends with a bunch of people on my first night, and we headed out into town in search of fun. Utrecht itself was exceptionally cheap for Western Europe. The average price for a beer was only 2 Euros, with specials costing less. Most places were free entry too, and the whole city seemed to have a really cool alternative vibe at night. There were lots of little basement type clubs, and for all the cool kids like me 😛 you could buy alternative clothing here for half what you would elsewhere. During the day there was also a very tranquil sleepy feel to the city. You could go on relaxing canal rides, bike around the outer lying countryside, or wander past the cool little cafes and view some stunning architecture. Although you very shortly run out of things to do here during the day, if you were looking for a place to work abroad in Europe, it would be a great choice.

So if I skip a few days forward to my last night, well and truly hung over, and chilling with my new friends in the common room. I had booked a train to Amsterdam for the following afternoon, and decided I would have a relaxing night in seeing as I was leaving the next day. So I’m in Holland and I want to relax with my friends… needless to say a trip to the local “Coffee Shop” was on the horizon! Holland is (as far as I’m aware) the only place in Europe that cannabis is legal (well not exactly but I’ll explain this a bit more in another post). Never the less, you can buy marijuana here in what they call coffee shops. They pay tax on their profits like any other business and you don’t get arrested for buying it. Personally, it’s not something I choose to do back home, but I’m young and in Holland for the first time, so there is no doubt I was in that coffee shop within a couple minutes!  Unfortunately, not being much into marijuana back home, I was completely oblivious to some of the basic aspects of using it. The first being that there are different strengths of it and the second how much your body can consume and still function properly!

I had bought a few pre rolled cigarettes earlier on in my stay, but not really being into smoking, and pre-rolled cigarettes being a bit crap anyway, I decided I would go for the much more appealing space cakes second time around. The shop was nearly closing so I picked up the last 2, purchased them, and was back round to the hostel, munching away on some tasty cake by the time I got back. For those who were like me, and are going to Holland without having tried a space cake before, the usual recommendation for consumption is no more than half a medium strength cake in a night. I ate 2 whole cakes, maximum strength, all within about half an hour, with a body completely unaccustomed to it, and also mixed with booze!

Within about an hour or so of consumption I started to feel exceptionally tired and figured it would be better if I just headed off to bed. By the time I climbed the 3 flights of stairs however it was obvious that the effects had well and truly began to take effect. After struggling for several minutes to get up on my top bunk, I was just about to drift off to sleep when complete paranoia hit. All sort of thoughts started to go through my head, and it became immediately clear to me that I was alone, in a foreign country, and (in my mind) everyone was becoming a threat. This in itself provoked me into a severe panic attack, after which I felt a pins and needles type sensation around the area of my heart, head, and arms. It was at this point I had a sudden realisation that I had taken way to much marijuana than my body could handle. As the night progressed things just got worse and worse. I was fortunate that the dorm I was staying in had a private toilet. I locked myself in and rode the roller coaster of emotions going through my body. My imagination went wild with crazy thoughts, to the point where I had convinced myself that I was spinning through space in my toilet cubicle (seems quite funny now, but not so much at the time!) amongst other things! It was both a terrifying and at times a strangely exhilarating experience, and when I finally passed the paranoia phase, left the cubical, and got into bed, I awoke very late the following afternoon with extreme blurred vision and only 20 minutes to pack all my stuff and get to the station in time for my 4pm train to Amsterdam!

I am possibly the only person ever to have gone to Amsterdam and spent my time viewing Van Gogh painting’s instead of stoned out my face wandering the red light district. No doubt I will have that experience one day, but I just couldn’t face it after the 2 day hang over I had from Utrecht, and to be honest, the constant smell of marijuana was beginning to make me want to vomit.

If my time in Utrecht taught me anything (other than don’t fly with Ryanair) it would be this; not all mind altering substances suit everybody. I would be lying if I said this experience (a couple of summers ago now) made me re-think my views on trying mind altering substances. If anything it just made me realise what substances suit me, and which one’s don’t. What I would say though, if you are thinking about trying anything, is do it at home first. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not promoting drugs, and I’m also not painting myself as an angel over the last few years either, but if you are determined to try any mind altering substances (especially illegal ones) then try them out at home first. Certain drugs just don’t suit certain people and you don’t want to find that out in a foreign country where you might not necessarily speak the language. Aside from that, you will also be more aware of the laws of you home country, and what may be seen as acceptable where you live, may be seen as a serious crime somewhere else, so you should also do your research.

I would like to go back to Holland at some point and see more of the country. I think next time around however I’ll be laying off the space cakes!

One Response to “Too Many Space Cakes and My Unexpected Trip To Holland”

  1. Hmm think I’ll have to add Utrecht to my stop offs I’m all about cheap beer. Not so much the space cakes but as you say when in Holland…


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