We've all heard crazy stories about Amsterdam being a fantasyland where normal rules don't apply.
It seems like every time I meet people who have studied abroad, they always have an arsenal of X-rated tales from this magical city.
Personally, I've always lived by the, "Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see" mentality.
So I decided to settle my suspicions once and for all, and I headed to Amsterdam to see if the marijuana-filled myths were actually true.
At a first glance, Amsterdam looks like any other quaint European city.
You'll find rows of quirky buildings separated by meandering canals and cobblestone streets bustling with bicycles and curious tourists.
But if you happen to accidentally stumble into a "coffeeshop" as opposed to a "coffee shop" or wander into the Red Light District, you'll quickly discover this small city is home to a variety of vices.
No matter what you are looking to score, you'll find it in Amsterdam buried beneath the inconspicuous façades of beautiful, old buildings.
Weed, shrooms, sex, booze, you name it, it's all here.
Oh yeah, and the best part is you can indulge these guilty pleasures legally.
I only had my sights set on weed and after spending a few days here, I quickly discovered all the hype was true. This place did not disappoint by any means.
The first stop on my marijuana mission was De Dampkring Coffeeshop. If this place sounds familiar, that's because it's the same cafe that was featured in the movie "Ocean's Twelve."
Upon walking through the door, I immediately found myself standing in the middle a pot smoker's paradise.
The whole place was decked out in mind-bending psychedelic designs and "Buffalo Soldier" softly floated through the hazy air as patrons of all ages sat scattered around the shop smoking joints, bowls and even bongs.
I made my way into the back of the shop where I was greeted by a cannabis connoisseur who told me all about the wide selection of weed on their menu.
I handed over 5 euros for a joint of Super Silver Haze and snagged a spot at the bar.
I'm not sure if it was solely the weed or also my surroundings, but it was probably the most enjoyable high I've ever had. Plus, this place makes milkshakes and grilled cheese for when those munchies start to creep up on you. I mean, really, what more could you ask for?
In a way, Amsterdam is kind of like Candy Land (for stoners). No, I'm serious. In addition to weed, you can score all sorts of cannabis-laden edibles, like these THC lollipops.
Or, if you're ready to take your high to a whole new level, you can pop into a bakery and get extra baked with a "space cake" or a "special muffin."
Each package comes with a small label that warns you to "eat in moderation." However, it should really say "WARNING: THIS WILL MAKE YOU HIGH AS F*CK" in big letters accompanied with a few skull emojis to really get the point across... because they're really not kidding.
If it's your first time trying these, you probably shouldn't eat the whole thing, unless, of course, you want to be stoned out of your mind for five hours. Yeah... I learned this the hard way and spent the rest of the afternoon watching National Geographic and eating Pringles in my hotel room because I was basically too lit to function, let alone be out in public.
Several days and six coffeeshops later, I reached my final verdict: Amsterdam is, in fact, a weed wonderland and it definitely exceeded my high expectations.
This city is the perfect place to experience some culture with a side of kush, and I think it's safe to say I left a piece of my heart (and probably a lot of brain cells) in this beautiful city.