Saturday, April 13, 2019

Postcard from Haarlem. . .

 We're packing up and catching a train this morning, so just a few minutes to say hello and send you a few photos. While the temperatures are chilly (especially for what we brought in our carry-on only! Oh, for a pair of gloves and a wool hat!), we've had lovely sunshine here in Haarlem and we've made the most of it to get out and walk and coax our bodies into this time zone.
 It might seem contradictory to my previously declared aim of Slow Travel that we're only spending two days (three nights) here in Haarlem, but in fact, I believe it's quite congruous. We flew into Amsterdam because it was one of the very few options for a direct, non-stop flight from Vancouver (London's wasn't an option right with the Brexit confusion). Then, rather than try to catch a flight to Bordeaux that afternoon, we slowed down by staying put a few nights while we caught up on sleep and adjusted to nine hours' time difference.
 Slow Travel for us means that during those two days here, we don't rush to work through a list of must-sees. I bought tickets for the David Hockney exhibition at the Van Gogh museum several weeks ago, but that was the only Must on our itinerary.
 So on Friday, we took the train from Haarlem into Amsterdam and navigated our pedestrian route of 3+ kilometres from station to museum with the guidance of Google, enjoying the ambiance and the sights along the way.
 Serendipitously had the most wonderful lunch at Rijks restaurant (attached to the RijksMuseum) just at the moment when serious crankiness might have ensued otherwise; enjoyed a splendid exhibition of Hockney's work and had another look at some favourite Van Goghs (we were here back in 2012), and then walked back to the train station. Back home in Haarlem, we settled for take-out Indonesian food and a quiet evening.
 Saturday was market day here in Haarlem, and we almost missed it, the sleep we'd been waiting for having finally arrived sometime in the wee hours and keeping us abed until 11:30 (yes! you read that correctly!). A quick bowl of muesli and some tea, though, and we were out there wending our way through the bikes (I love a bike culture, but whoa! those cyclists can appear dangerous and impatient to a wary and unschooled pedestrian).
 And that's how we keep it slow. . .
 I've posted many more photos on Instagram -- and a video of the toy boat we watched a young boy sail from the dock, held carefully by his father, instead of taking advantage of a 10 Euro tour of the windmill pictured here. Another example of my version of Slow Travel -- on a tour, I'm following someone else's pace, looking at someone's else's direction. Sometimes that enhances a traveler's understanding of a place significantly and is well worth the investment of time, but yesterday, we preferred the freer schedule of ambling. . .
 So bikes and tulips and bricks and windmills
 if you walk
 the streets of Haarlem
 with us. . .
 The clouds you glimpse occasionally in these photos darkened eventually
 and we had some very light hail
 but nothing that marred our experience of this lovely city. . .
I'll close with a nod to my sweet traveling companion -- I posted a Reflecting Window Selfie from the Van Gogh Museum on Instagram the other day, and now I'm thinking I should make this a daily effort. . . Can you spot us, above?

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have a train to catch. Reporting to you very soon from . . . well, you'll see. . . 


  1. Hi Frances - I am on catch up here after enjoying your pics on Instagram. I used to travel to the Netherlands quite often with work & is nice to see familiar sites, altho I did not visit Haarlem.
    Sounds like the right kind of pace & the right level of things to tick off. The Rijks museum is so wonderful & I remember having a very nice lunch there.
    Hope you enjoyed the Hockney & maybe did a bit of sketching.
    As always your travel diaries really resonate & make me want to put pen to paper.
    I look forward to the next episode & love the reflective selfie 😊

  2. Wonderful photos! And how clever to stay in Haarlem rather than over-touristed Amsterdam (though I adore Amsterdam).
    If you pass through Carcassonne after Bordeaux, do let me know. My email is on my blog, or comment there.

  3. Thanks for sharing the lovely photos. Enjoy your slow roll.

  4. Vagabundeando at your own pace. Good for you.

  5. Lovely postcard, thanks Frances. Haarlem looks lovely with the bikes and the flowers... and the sunshine. Slow travel is the best. Ambling is my favourite thing.

  6. So beautiful! Haarlem in springtime must be lovely. What a good idea to spend time enjoying at your own speed! I love slow travel with lists or obligations.

  7. I like Holland very, very much and am frankly envious of this. Excellent hair and sunglasses work going on, I note.

  8. I must agree that sometimes ambling is just what I prefer to being on a tour. The freedom to go at your own pace and look more leisurely. Although a tour can be very efficient and effective when you want to make the most of your time. Thank you for sharing your lovely stay in Haarlem.


  9. What a lovely post. You managed to capture the joy of meandering through a new to you city and allowing it's delights to unfold. Truly, one of the great joys of travel.

  10. I think of it as serendipitous travel, that what the universe chooses to show us is often most magical simply for being unplanned. Of course it can be an unpleasant surprise sometimes, but usually that's a risk I have been willing to take. That first photo of you is particularly gorgeous.

  11. Hello Frances. This postcard reflects on slow travel, and includes that lovely reflection of the two of you in the window as a bonus. I missed seeing that on IG. I'll second LPC's comment about the gorgeousness of that first photo of you - you're glowing!

  12. Wandering is my favorite travel activity and I love to encounter the tiny cafe, the not so famous landmark, or even see what a drugstore in Madrid may offer (multicolored cotton balls!).

    Book Goddess


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