What is your most amazing personal story of traveling to Amsterdam?

Answer by Natasha Figueroa:

Many years ago, my then-boyfriend & I were visiting Amsterdam when we walked into a clothing shop & began talking to the shopgirl. Turns out, she was an American, and was living there while helping a woman write her memoirs. The woman? Xaviera Hollander! For those of you who do not know, Xaviera is a former madam & prostitute who came to fame in the 70's when she wrote a book called The Happy Hooker that shared her exploits. She also wrote a column for Penthouse Magazine for many years.

We had a good laugh about it, and then the girl asked us where we were staying. We had actually just driven into town, and hadn't yet found a place, and when we said so, the girl said, "You could stay at Xaviera's". My boyfriend & I looked at each other and said, "Why the hell not?".

So a couple of hours later, we find ourselves in the extravagently-designed living room of Ms Hollander, with the former madam sitting across from us. I believe she was about 60 at the time, and had a 'houseboy' that was half her age (and size) serving us tea. (She alluded that his housekeeping abilities were not the main reason for keeping him around). After showing us to our room, which included a giant bed underneath a enormous nude painting of Xaviera, she offered to show me her own room while my boyfriend went to take a shower. At one point, she pulled me close and said, in a low, thickly Dutch accent, "You know, I like the ladies too" and I said, as politely as possible, "Is that so?"

But she was very friendly & nice, and took us out to a great brunch the next day at a cool West African restaurant with live music & a bunch of her friends. It was most gracious of her. When my BF & I were going to go back to the house to rest, she told us to help ourselves to the pot plants growing in the backyard. We gladly took her up on the offer, and were about half through smoking a big joint when a policeman popped his head over the fence and started excitedly speaking to us in Dutch. When he realized we didn't understand, he said in perfect English, "Did you see anyone come over this fence recently?" Turns out, the neighbor was a famous footballer, and someone had just robbed him.

So we had a surreal old time in Amsterdam, smoking a joint while talking to a Dutch policeman regarding the robbery of a famous footballer while standing in the garden of the Happy Hooker.

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