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Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Coffee shops make Amsterdam happy

I expressed surprise that climate wasn't a factor among the world's happiest cities, because in the depths of an Ohio winter it sure seems as if it should be. So I just took a closer look at the reasons the top 10 happiest cities were rated the way they were in the blog just before this one.

The world's happiest cities are all ranked for things such as culture, shopping, outdoors, performances and amusements. Rome is understandably off the charts in terms of cultural locations, while San Francisco and Paris seem to have made the list for their awesome shopping.

 But Amsterdam was off the charts for another area - its coffee shops. And as everybody knows it's not coffee that's served there but various forms of marijuana and hashish.

 Now I've never been to Amsterdam but I know the coffee shops are big tourist attractions. It's something the city fathers want to end - or make it just for locals. I haven't kept up on the debates or any changes outlawing coffee shops.

But for now the stoners there seem to have catapulted gray and rainy Amsterdam into one of the happiest cities on earth.

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