In addition to the Corrie ten Boon house, Haarlem is a great town to visit. It is just a short train ride from Amsterdam (though we drove) but without all of the Amsterdam craziness. Like many European towns, smack dab in the center is a beautiful church. We didn’t take the time to visit the church on this visit though, and now I regret it a bit! (I just read a post by Rick Steves on FB that he is featuring this church on an upcoming episode of his show. Guess I’ll have to visit it virtually with Rick!)
Since we visited on a Saturday the market was open. It was an excellent market, with a huge variety of items. Not just the usual fruits and vegetables, but also artisanal food items like fancy cheeses and pestos, clothing, pottery and bicycle accessories. We had a snack – a stroopwafel (my favorite!) and fresh squeezed orange juice.
One thing I absolutely love about our area is the abundance of beautiful flowers for sale! Many of them are grown nearby so not only are they super fresh, they are cheap.
These petunias were in planters near the Zentrum (the center of town.) I’d love to have some flowers like this in my yard. The design of the planters combined with the cascading plants make it really gorgeous.
This is the doorway of the visitor’s bureau. The town crest – the sword with four stars around it – can be seen all over Haarlem, on buildings and flags.
Another treat – free entertainment! We saw a “flash performance” by some members of a dance troupe. A number of ladies with matching shirts were slowly gathering near us, so we waited to see what they were up to. They started some music and began to dance. It was fun to watch.
I will miss scenes like this – just a nondescript residential street with unique beauty.
When we visited the World Cup tournament was still happening so there was plenty of Hup Holland spirit on display.
I took this picture so I would remember the name of this fabulous toy store! Meneer Paprika is Dutch for Mr. Pepper – apparently the brother of the medical school graduate known by many.
Mr. Pepper had it all – Legos and other big name toys; traditional toys like marbles and blocks; outdoor toys; bicycles; rainbow loom bands; some super cool moldable sand (I can’t remember the official name but we played with it for a while); and little inexpensive toys (perfect for spending allowance money.)
We then went to this building for lunch. I think that design would qualify as Art Deco, but correct me if I am wrong. It may look like an office building, but it is actually the V&D department store. It’s an old school store – multiple floors of shopping, and each floor is a different department. We ate at the restaurant on the top floor. I had a caprese sandwich and some tomato soup and it was delish!
The view from the restaurant was great and entertaining. The boys were fascinated by this sea gull perched by the window so they took a bunch of photos. I’m including just the best one. I will also take a moment to be thankful that the windows didn’t actually open, otherwise I’m sure that 1) most of their lunch would have gone to this bird and 2) I would have been unable to have a nice peaceful lunch with a sea gull hovering around. (I am just paranoid that any bird flying overhead is going to leave its mark on me. Hasn’t happened yet, but ewww.)
Walking back to the car we saw the sassiest “Walk” symbol I think I’ve ever seen. Pony tail, skirt, heels…you go, girl!
One last glimpse of local history and culture – painting right next to our parking place. I will now take a moment to apologize to all of the cars (and drivers and riders) who were waiting to get into the parking garage and were held up because someone was waiting for our spot (blocking their entry into the garage) and I was taking pictures.
Tot Ziens, Haarlem. Stay beautiful.