...to Haarlem Haarlem. Saturday morning I hopped a 15 minute train from Amsterdam Central to Haarlem. I've been told that my ancestors come from this beautiful little city, south of Amsterdam. The Harlem of New York gets its name from this place. Initially, the streets reminded me of Colchester in England but as I got closer to the Market Square, things looked a bit more Dutch (Canals help). The first thing I noticed was the lack of tourists. If you've grown tired of Amsterdam's tourist chaos and would like to see the quaintness of a Dutch town and the locals out and about with their families on a weekend, go to Haarlem. Around the square, there's shopping a plenty. I've told people that I won't buy anything that doesn't fit in my stomach but with four blisters on my feet, I convinced myself to pick up a pair of Italian Geox shoes. What a relief from sweaty, hot feet.
I was starving so I bought a fresh fruit salad (I can't tell you how happy fresh cut fruit makes me) and a bag of different bread rolls. I walked down random streets munching on bread and happened upon the Haarlem history museum. I spent a bit of time in there and talked to one of the guides before looking at the Amsterdam Gate (the remaining piece of the wall that was once built around the city) and a beautiful windmill. It was a very nice afternoon. The crowds started to build up so I headed back to Amsterdam for a dinner of Dutch Pancake. I read Catcher in the Rye for the rest of the evening and crashed early to give my feet a rest.
Today I'll say my goodbyes to Amsterdam and head to the "New York of Holland", Rotterdam for the night. I hope I figure out how to keep myself occupied with no hostel there.
BIG CONGRATULATIONS TO ERICA AND ANTON WHO WERE MARRIED BACK IN THE STATES! HAVE A GREAT HONEYMOON!