Home DESTINATION SPOTLIGHT Haarlem, The Netherlands: Vintage Dutch Village
Haarlem, The Netherlands: Vintage Dutch Village PDF Print E-mail

First hand experience: Arrived in Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. Enjoyed the great restaurants, amazing museums and strolled the colorful red light district.

Before returning home, we spent time in a town more typical of old Holland. It was Haarlem, a ten-century-old village halfway between Amsterdam and the airport.

Quick history course: America's original Haarlem, originated as a suburb of Niew Amsterdam. When the British took over, they renamed the state New York, after the area of York in England and changed the spelling to today's Harlem.

We took the 15-minute, $10 train ride from Amsterdam's Central Station and checked into the quaint Hotel Amadeus right on Grote Markt, Haarlem's town square.

The room was tiny, with a phone-booth sized bathroom, but the 65 euro (about $93.) price was right. It was early May, and all around us were bright displays of flowers, fruit, vegetables, cheeses, fish and meats. Our brunch was sampling the tasty foods, washed down by delicious local beer.

On one side of Grote Markt is the Town Hall s.We watched a wedding party in flowing costumes enter to sign official papers. They had taken the traditional walk from the Grote Kerk on other side of the square. Next day, we attended Sunday services and listened to the pipe organ that had been played by Handel and Mozart.

If your travel plans include Amsterdam, you'll enjoy your visit to that modern city. However, if you want to experience the real Holland of yesterday, spend some time in lovely old Haarlem. www.visithaarlem.org


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