Monday, March 28, 2011

Haarlem, NL: Part 1

By now you know this about me:

I love Holland and I can't say it in 25 words or less.

Nor can I say it in less than 1000 pictures. HA! So, because this is a looooong one, I'll pretend I've saved you time and energy by splitting it into 2 parts. Actually, I'll publish the second part next Monday, a week from now, when we'll be in Norway boarding our mail-boat cruise of the fjords. But more on that later.

Our day's drive to Haarlem a week ago Sunday was on the spur of the moment. The sun was shining and we wanted to take advantage of it! Besides, when the Dutch see good weather, they are outside quicker than you can say Jack Sprat. Did I mention that I love Holland?! Haarlem is only 50 miles north of us and because the shops were closed on Sunday, we knew we wouldn't be bumping into its 150K inhabitants.

As you know by now, we always head for city center where the architectual action is.
And where we find a café for our koffie met appeltaart, to get us started on the right foot!
It so happens we liked this Stempels café/hotel so much, we went back for lunch later. It's a stone's throw from the grote kerk (= great church), which you can see through the windows.
Stempels used to be a printing company from 1703 - 1992. More on printing in a minute.

And there she is, the Sint Bavokerk, Haarlem's landmark since the 15th century.
And closed on Sunday! But her bell tower is seen both far and wide...never 'closed.'

Not to worry. There's something for everybody.
'A' is for Astrid. Everyone knows that!

Speaking of which, here's her wide-angle view of the church from the Grote Markt!

To the left of the church from Astrid's image above, on the Grote Markt (= Market Square), is Haarlem's famous Laurens Coster statue, c. 1370. Famous because he was believed to be the inventor of the printing press! Since the late 1890s, Haarlem has been willing to concede that perhaps Germany's Gutenberg printed earlier.
HA! The rivalies between the Dutch and the Germans! Don't get Astrid started.

The Vleeshal (= Meat Market) from 1603 also stands on the Grote Markt.
(Thanks again to Astrid for her wide-angle view in the top-right corner above.)

And last but not least, Haarlem's Stadhuis (= city hall) from the 14th century is also sitting on the square.
See how much room there is for a deep breath, especially when it's not too crowded.

Even though the shops weren't open, we had plenty of entertainment.
Always something to see...and 45 was a very good year!

On the Market Square we saw the sign directing us to the Corrie ten Boom Museum not far away.
I remember seeing in 1975 The Hiding Place movie about Corrie's part in saving Jews during WWII. The weird thing is that Astrid never heard the story till she went to the USA in her young 20s. There's no question Corrie ten Boom did more for her country in relation to the war than Anne Frank ever did, but Anne Frank's story has become the more famous.

Those of you familiar with European cities know that wherever there's a market square/city center,
the train station isn't far away...within walking distance.
Haarlem's train station is one of the two oldest in The Netherlands
and is a rijksmonument (= national monument).

Once entering a train station, you almost always have to climb up one floor to get to the tracks.
See the 'track' here at the side of the stairs. It's for your bike. How cool is that!
Usually it's a cement/iron track but this one is wood, the first I've seen thus far.

How's that for a train station! More like a functional museum.

I kid you not. "The art of can" Red Bull poster hung on the station wall.
And once outside the station, we saw the real thing.

Don't you just love how one thing leads to another.
Not far past that Red Bull poster we saw a cigar shop that reminded us of our Norwegian friends who, when asked what we could bring them, said Dutch cigarillos.
Notice the Cohibas which are Cuban cigars...not something you can buy legally in the States.
Romeo y Julieta cigars? Also from Cuba.

Enough already.

Next week I'll show you the most photogenic windmill of Haarlem's 7, plus the Amsterdamse Poort (gate house)...and all kinds of trivia images that make Haarlem special.

Till then, here's a parting shot at all the gevelstenen (= gable stones) I was able to capture:

Some cities are a gold mine! And this is just the tip of Haarlem's iceberg.

A quick switch now to the Norway trip I mentioned at the beginning. Astrid and I fly to Oslo this Thursday night and will spend the long weekend with 2 sets of blogger friends I've known since my early blogging days here. Renny and Diane will host us the first weekend and Tor and Anna the next. We've both been to Oslo previously but expect to see it again with new eyes.

Then, from Monday to Saturday next week, we'll be taking the 6-day Hurtigruten mail-boat cruise from Kirkenes (north) to Bergen (south), along the entire Norwegian coastline, entering the fjords as the boat delivers mail and groceries/goods. It's a small boat, relatively speaking, at 500 passengers. No onboard entertainment/activities. Just good food and lots of sightseeing. We'll hop off whenever possible and will also have an excursion (Day 3, Wednesday) of the Lofoten Islands.

Then a cross-crountry train ride on Sunday from Bergen back to Oslo, 6 1/2 hours through spectacular scenery. Renny and Tor are so jealous. It's something they've always wanted to do...but you how those backyard things are! Vagabonde and Dutchbaby have done the cruise and are cheering us on. We'll compare notes later, of course.

So, next Monday Part 2 of we board our cruise of the Norwegian coastline!


  1. Beautiful architecture as always! And very fascinating gable stones. I think Holland and Europe in general is a treasure trove of history. And best wishes on your Norway trip.

  2. And, oh, I was surprised. I think I was the first person commenting on your post. I don't think that ever happen before. :)

  3. Tim: You are first, indeed. HA! Thank you. And yes, these places are HUGE treasure troves of history. And to think i never really liked history in school. Who knew I was one who needed to SEE it instead of reading about it. :)

  4. Oh my... the gable stones collages are just fabulous... so many perfect images all together in one spot... I can certainly see why you have a passion for capturing them with your camera!

    The other collage that especially caught my eye (hard to single any one out when your post is so full of wonderfully eye-catching collages every week) is the train station one... The images on the walls are so colorful!

    Red Bull art... what will they think of next! (As for coming to Holland to give you training in Macro photography... that may be a few years off... why don't you come here next spring when everything is gloriously blooming?)

    Oh... your Norwegian adventure sounds SO WONDERFUL... (I'll be in Norway for only one day during my upcoming Scandinavian adventure with family visiting Sweden and Swedish cousins... would live to have the time to do the Bergen/Oslo train ride but won't this time... and also won't have time for a Fjord cruise... so I know I will enjoy your post of that adventure!)

  5. Oh wow - I'm pretty sure I was shown Harlem back in 2002. We got to go into the shops and I had a lot of fun, but I wasn't into taking enough photos back then! Wow - so much to see and this is only half!

    I must say that I just want to visit for the food!

    And your fun trip, yeah! It will be so much fun. Ask Tor about us too as he's got a plan also.

    I can't wait to see this trip! Cameron is in my arms fast asleep and yes I'm managing to type fairly fast. :)

  6. first off - have a safe trip and enjoy.

    and of course this is another fab dutch city destination you have shown us. i love these european cities. so pedestrian friendly, and such a gold mine for photo enthusiasts.

  7. Holy cow, this is exciting, but I'll hold my horses.

    I'm realizing that in all your posts, all the photos, I look most forward to the cafés and appeltaart. :-) The light in that one would have brought me back for lunch too, no doubt about it.

    Corrie ten Boom! I heard her speak at the Lansing Civic Center. What a story. She was precious!

    I LOVE the bike track on the stairs.

    I am so excited for you to be taking the cruise. Knowing Dutchbaby and Vagabonde did it means it is GREAT. And then the train! Oh man! I am jealous too. Is jealous energy bad energy? I hope not! Oh have a BLAST.

  8. To make it short and sweet:
    Welcome to Norway - we are sooooooo much looking forward to see you and show you around in Oslo :-)

  9. The cruise trip to Norway sounds lovely, and of course I have been enjoying all your photos of Haarlem. You certainly have an eye for architecture, and I especially love the whimsical embellishments you always capture.

  10. Ginnie, my expectations are always high when I started reading one of your posts, and again I wasn't disappointed. I love all the gable stones - og gosh, and that appeltaart - with whipped cream of course! Oh yum!!
    Enjoy the trip to and in Norway. My friend from Bergen has taken the train to Oslo several times and it really must be spectacular. I'm envious!!!

  11. I know you love Holland, it shows and shows, over and over again in your pictures!!!
    We both can be proud and happy that we are given the oppertunity to travel around in Holland.
    The railway station is wonderful, I was there many times so I knew what was in.
    Next stop is Norway and to Ruth, I don't think being jealous is a negative thought, we both know how you say it, you are happy for us, that makes the difference.
    Beautiful post again and it is amazing how many gevelstenen you saw in one day.
    We will go back on a Saturday and visit the st.Bavo.

  12. Victoria: Those gable stones are like little treasures I find finding money with a metal detector. :) They're so quaint.

    You sure know how to pick up on the things that rock my the train station, the synchroncity of things like the Red Bull can and poster, etc. Thank you.

    Maybe we WILL come visit you instead. Wouldn't we all be delightfully surprised. :) Too bad we can't meet you in Norway, but we'll figure it out one day, I'm sure. Where there's a will there's a way.

    ET: I know some others who would go just for the food. HA! I had been before, back in 1998 (?), but didn't remember any of it. Now I don't think I'll ever forget it!

    I love thinking of Cameron in your arms while you're typing. So sweet.

    PC: Thank you for the travel wishes. And yes. Europe sure does present a gold mine for all us photo enthusiasts! Indeed.

    Ruth: You have given both Astrid and me a big smile while reading this. :D It doesn't take much to fill our tanks, as you know. These city day-trips thrill us to bits. But thinking about a week's trip of sights and experiences is like dying and going to heaven. I know your 'jealous energy' is totally good. You will share the trip with us in more ways than one. Thank you.

    Renny: Are we lucky or what! It took several years but IT'S HAPPENING! YAAAAY. We can hardly wait.

    Karen: We're very excited about Norway, as you can imagine. It's only a 1-1/2 hour flight from Amsterdam to close. Thanks for stopping by and sharing all the pictures I take!

    Carola: I love it when you stop by and comment here. Thank you. Can't resist that appeltaart, can we. :) So Dutch. I love hearing someone else knows about that Bergen to Oslo train ride. We've heard it's to die for!

  13. Astrid: You know by now that I can't get enough of your country. Or, let's say it this way...I can't get too much of it! I love that you are seeing it again as though for the first time, through my eyes. Through my wide-open eyes! Popping out of my head eyes! So much to see everywhere.

    Thank you for knowing all of this about me. You really do know me! And those gevelstenen are just one wonderful, thrilling part. :) I will love to go back one day to see stuff we missed, if ever we're in the neighborhood. You know how I often say, "I want to see everything once before I see anything twice." :)

  14. Another beautiful blog entry. Yes, more train stations, please, and I'll console myself by looking forward to, "the most photogenic windmill of Haarem's 7." I give up, why GREEN clarinets? Where does one find green clarinets and the wood to make them?

  15. Ted: You'll love the windmill! :) And we have no idea why GREEN for the clarinet. I've never seen such a thing. It wouldn't be plastic, would it? It had a wonderful sound.

  16. Hey you couple of jet setters, uh, or cute little car travelers! Y'all sure do get around and treat us to such fabulous eye candy ... and now a cruise ! So exciting, for all of us!
    Thank you gals for all the sharing.

  17. You have so many lovely photographs in this post. I liked the last two collages and spent a lot of time looking at each picture. You have more pretty pictures in these collages than the average blog has in two weeks of photos. It looks like your day was so sunny in Haarlem, the sky a great shade of blue. You will have a fun time in Norway. I miss all the good fish dishes we had on the ship – so many ways of eating fish, for breakfast lunch and dinner – there were other good things too. Have a great trip and give hugs to Renny and Diane for me. Tell Tor that I am preparing a post on our friend Naomi from the Hollywood Hills. Then I’ll gather my pictures from Norway and get back to my trip there.

  18. WS: HA! Isn't it fun to see what will come up next for all of us. Thanks, Susan, for your support. Say HI to Larry.

    Vagabonde: Isn't it fun that we'll both have shared the same experience by the time we're done! We are so looking forward to the fish. In fact, Diane is fixing fresh cod for us Friday p.m. We're so lucky! Thank you for your kind compliment on my pictures. As long as I have the time, I will keep taking them and uploading them for posterity. One day I'm sure we'll be very happy to go back over them to remember the great times we've had!

  19. Ginnie, yes I am alive...only not as much on my blogs :)

    Great photos.....Holland is such a beautiful place.....we honeymooned there 4 yrs ago :) Love all your pics...looks like a beautiful sunny day out! Have a great trip.....and come back and share the photos and stories!!! Bon Voyage!!! :)

  20. Moi: So glad to see you again! Wonders never cease. :) And yes, of course, there will be enough pictures to sink a boat. HA!

  21. Ah, the real Haarlem! I heard an NPR radio show that talked about how Gutenberg borrowed the concept of movable type from the Dutch, but he cast them out of metal, rather than using woodblock. On the other hand, the Chinese invented the movable type system 400 years earlier. Being half Chinese, quarter Dutch, and quarter German, I am proud, proud, and proud. :-D

    Your train station photos are fantastic. Amazing that they have a "Derde Klasse" waiting room. Was it much worse than the "Eerste Klasse"?

    I can't get enough of the gevelstenen. The sandstone-looking one with the angel is fantastic! I want to fly up there and make a rubbing of it.

    Bon voyage to you and Astrid! You will have a grand time. Stay dry and warm and eat lots of salmon for me. I can't wait to compare photos with you. You will motivate me to go back to my Norway posts. Maybe we can have dueling Norway posts. How do you say dueling for three people? In case Vagabonde joins us.

  22. I almost missed this Ginnie, but your comment to Ruth reminded me I must get back to your blog and here you are visiting Haarlem, the home of my parents and my ancestors going back to the sixteenth century.

    I was in last Haarlem in 2006 and these photos bring that visit back to me but the best pictures I have are those from my imagination based on my mother's stories of her childhood in Haarlem. She lived in the Marnixplein near Oude Grachte Road and often went to mass in the church of Saint Bavo.

    Your post is so wonderful. I look forward to seeing to part two.

  23. DB: HA! Don't you love how different countries lay claim to almost anything. How many times can the wheel be reinvented! :)

    I love what people pick up on in my posts. The gevelstenen are treasures for me, wherever I find them. I love that you like them, too.

    And yes, we'll have all all-out duel when I get back and start on Norway. I'll love comparing our experiences!

    Elizabeth: I love that you have found me again. Thank you. It's such a small world! You'll see a lot more of Haarlem in my next post, all ready to publish on Monday. :)

  24. Ginnie,
    your have given me a very strong experience of Harlem - by words and not at least with your Camera.
    But now I know the extrodinary quality of your Lense. But no matter of that quality: It's the person behind the Camera and the presentation of the results that do the difference.
    You without doubt makes a great difference.
    I love it.
    See you on Sunday in Oslo.

  25. Tor: You're such a sweetheart! And now that I've met you, you're even better than I expected. :D I love that we'll have time again with each other next weekend, after our cruise. Aren't we all lucky!

  26. ...a church that isn't open on Sunday? My kids would love that because they could sleep in! I have never seen "The Hiding Place" and will add it to my Netflix list. The detail you captured on this post is amazing. I bet people who have lived in these places haven't viewed it as closely as you have done. Enjoy this most amazing vacation and I eagerly await your "documentary" when you get back. :)

  27. Margaret: Astrid says the church isn't open for public 'tourism' on Sunday, just for the church service. I guess that makes sense? You know me by now...I LOVE details and trivia and doing these posts. If it helps me remember it all, I'll be happy in the days/years to come. If it 'educates' someone else, I'll be equally gratified! Thanks for your kindest of words.

  28. Hi Ginnie,

    I was curious after writing you the mail, so I came to see your photos somewhat earlier then I expected.

    They are beautiful. Not only is photography involved, but other forms of creativity as well, such as the beautiful composition and the eye for detail. Thanks for sharing and...

    Proud to be a Haarlemmer! ;)



  29. Angela: Oh, how fun to see you here! Hartstikke bedankt for stopping by and commenting here. I love that you're from Haarlem and that we got to meet you. :)

  30. Wow, great shots. It is cool to see how a 'tourist' sees the city!

    1. We LOVED Haarlem, Jasper, and will want to go back one day. It's not that far from Gorinchem! :)