he early film star, Mae West, said, “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” Obviously, she wasn’t talking about tourism. Before the pandemic, many of Europe’s major cities were choking on crowds. Venice probably had the worst of it, with gigantic cruise ships sailing up the Grand Canal disgorging thousands of tourists all at once into the narrow already overcrowded sidewalks. And Barcelona’s La Rambla had become crushed that they had to ban tour groups from the Mercado.
Decades ago, when I first went to Amsterdam, it was still somewhere between seedy and raunchy, two of my favorite things, but there were no lines in the coffeeshops or the museums. Last year, the sidewalks were jammed and locals were complaining about noisy crowds late in the evening, especially around the so-called “Red Light District”, which is actually the oldest part of the City. Of course, alcohol (AKA drunk Brits) was a major part of the problem.
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