Netherlands, Baby.

Haarlem Travel Blog

 › entry 5 of 23 › view all entries
Yeah! Finally an airplane with your own screen and movies on demand... choose your own, fast forward, pause, restart. It's going to be a good flight.
Day one. Completely exhausted. first of all, the flight over here was completely great. I felt like that Fergie song... "Flyin first claaass, up in the sky... glamorous. glamorous." I'm used to my little two row Mexicana flights to Mexico City -- no frills, nothing fancy. Imagine my excitement to see each seat had its own television screen. WOO! Thanks to a kindly girl that switched with us, dad and I scored seats together and I got a window seat. Which means I had the perfect, perfect view out the window when the sun started to rise and we were flying over Ireland. Other than that, I watched a few movies and played a trivia game against the other people on the plane. Failed miserably at that - Willy in seat 22A had it in for me. All in all, I slept for about 2 hours before we landed.
Sunset over the Atlantic... heavenly.


Once we were on the ground, I was terrified. Dad and I couldn't figure anything out. Somehow we needed to get from the airport to the tiny town of Haarlem. But we couldn't understand the instructions for buying a bus ticket and we had no idea where to do so. Finally we figured out that we should go to the book store, but they were sold out. They recommended we go to the market. So we walked outside, looking for the market. Turns out the market is inside the airport. So, we found the market, but the bus tickets were in a vending machine and we didn't know which ones to buy. So, back to information... but they didn't know. So we just took a guess... and ended up getting it rich. But we didn't know that until the second we stepped foot on the bus and the driver said we were set to go.
Amsterdam as seen through a glass of Heineken.
In all we spent at least 2 hours trying to figure everything out.

Within 2 seconds of stepping on the bus, I learned the number one rule of traveling - pack lightly. I am glad to be bringing some school supplies to Africa, but seriously... this massive backpack AND my sleeping bag AND my carry on -- its just not cutting it. We almost knocked out 15 people on the bus just trying to make our way from the front to the back. Unbelievable. I'm coming more and more jealous of any fellow backpackers I see who have bags even the slightest bit smaller than mine. Anyway, after about a half hour bus ride, we finally made it to Haarlem. It is a very cute town. I'm amazed by the number of canals it has. Lovely - you know I love water of any kind. Our hotel is very cute as well.
Canals.
So tiny, and has treacherous stairs, but its a good place to stay. Its located right in the heart of the city, overlooking the main square.

After we dropped off our bags at the hotel (AMEN!) we went to Amsterdam on the train. Again, the whole not speaking Dutch thing was a challenge and we didn't exactly know where or how to buy tickets... or where to get off the train. Again, we guessed at it worked out in the end. Although I was a bit annoyed that we spent something like 14 Euros on our train tickets and they were never even checked! In Amsterdam we took a walking canal tour. We were both a little tired but we were kept alert by snapping pictures. Got some good ones, I think.
View from our Haarlem hotel room -- Early morning. The first few bicycles coming in, and the outdoor cafes begin to set up.
Soon our stomachs started growling so we stopped in a little restaurant called Il Panorama. We had a vegetarian pizza with some Heineken's while we watched people walk by. My favorite pastime, only enhanced by my favorite beer!!

Dad and I were feeling a little bit guilty that we weren't doing anything like visiting museums or Anne Frank's house, but we soon decided that Amsterdam is a city to just relax and experience. It is so beautiful and different, even just sitting is enjoyable. So thats what we did - sat and walked and sat some more. We started up on our canal walk again but I guess the beers were getting to me because I was more tired than ever. I began imagining myself collapsing into a deep sleep and rolling into a canal. "Would I ruin my shoes? My new camera? That would suck.
Waiting for the train into Amsterdam.
" Yeah, thats basically what was going through my head. Clearly I was very awake and alert.

We saw a huge set of stairs in the distance on a building called NEMO (still don't know what that stands for. A nautical museum of some sort I think...) So we climbed the stairs and got a nice view of the city. We had some Cokes and watched all the little kids playing in this fountain at the top of the stairs. Of course we took some jump photography, and got some weird looks, but it was enough to get our blood flowing and we thought we felt a little more energized. But we were wrong... not five minutes later, Dad fell asleep while holding his cup of Coke. The only thing that kept him from spilling it all over himself was that I woke up from my own brief nap in time to hit him.
The Netherlands is indeed a country of cyclists. We were amazed to see the number of parked bikes at the Haarlem train station.
So we decided it was time to head back to the hotel. We walked back to the train station, and on the way saw a Contiki bus AND the restaurant that I ate my last Contiki dinner at (Called the Sea Palace... now I remember the name.) It made me depressed and miss old times, but I was too tired to even dwell on it. WE got on the train (packed to the brim!) and I was in and out of sleep the whole way back to Haarlem. We stopped in a grocery store and bought some bread, ham, cheese, and other snacks to take to the hotel. Our intention was to walk around the town a bit, but we just ate our sandwiches and dad fell asleep while eating his not one, not two, but three times, dropping his food each and every time. So, I think we are now officially done for the day.

Goodnight!
Anna
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Yeah!  Finally an airplane with yo…
Yeah! Finally an airplane with y…
Sunset over the Atlantic... heaven…
Sunset over the Atlantic... heave…
Amsterdam as seen through a glass …
Amsterdam as seen through a glass…
Canals.
Canals.
View from our Haarlem hotel room -…
View from our Haarlem hotel room …
Waiting for the train into Amsterd…
Waiting for the train into Amster…
The Netherlands is indeed a countr…
The Netherlands is indeed a count…
Father & son dreaming about whalin…
Father & son dreaming about whali…
Haarlem
photo by: lydia12345