Haarlem

This past Saturday, I woke up early and had a nice coffee in my apartment. It’s beautiful and I want to take the short 15 minute train ride to Haarlem. Haarlem gave America’s Harlem it’s name back when NYC was New Amsterdam, a Dutch colony.

I walk towards the tram, noticing this interesting business on my way.

As fate would have it, someone comes up to go inside so I ask, “are you counseling millennials or counseling companies about millennial? And why are you going into work so early on a Saturday?” She tell me she is the boss and this is a booming business advising companies on how to market to millennials. Ok!

Onward to the tram.

As we speed towards Haarlem, I see this out my window. It’s everywhere!

At the station in Haarlem I’m once again impressed with the sheer magnitude of bicyclists in this area.

Now a short walk to the center of town. For 700 years Haarlem has had a wonderful Saturday market. It Is far larger than any of the markets I’ve been to so far in Amsterdam and filled with locals doing their weekly shopping.

Also at the market, I see these 3 cute kids in a bike basket and the little one was just saying over and over “mama? mama? mama?”–not crying–just sort of in a wondering way. No parent was anywhere near. No helicoptering parenting in Holland apparently.

I’ve never seen this before. I guess the very practical Dutch like buying only the part of the pineapple they can actually eat.

Another great thing about Haarlem is the Grote Kerk, a 15th century gothic church with Holland’s greatest pipe organ ( Handel and Mozart played it).

My favorite thing though was the Frans Hals museum. On Shirleyfest New York, the Met had a huge exhibition of Frans Hals and I think I went 5 times. He painted everyday people life size with all their warts and glory.

One unusual thing in this museum is they took these paintings and side by side with the paintings they had modern day medical doctors diagnosis what the subjects were likely suffering from based on the details Hals put in the painting. Getting to the museum is a short walk from the market through a residential area that was colorful and neat as a pin.

After lunch in Haarlem I had to get back to Amsterdam as I was meeting my friends for a Bach concert in Den Bosch– an hour train ride in the opposite direction. The concert was really lovely. My friend Ivan got us front row seats as he was responsible for obtaining the soloists for the concerts. It was an hour long and the odd thing was– no clapping- no no no, not until the entire concert was over. Also the audience sang at the end! We had a great dinner nearby and then headed through the town square for the train home

I would have loved to stay in Den Bosch longer but tomorrow at 7am I am taking the train to Bruges, Belgium. I’m very excited! I write up a draft of my post while having a nice glass of wine at home and then bed.

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