When visiting Amsterdam, I highly recommend taking a day, or even just a few hours, to visit the city of Haarlem, a beautifully preserved Dutch town with lovely canals and architecture as well as a significant and reknowned shopping area. if you happen to be traveling with those who'd prefer shopping to wandering around the alley ways as I do, you can always meet up in the old town square after everyone has indulged in their favorite activities!
Haarlem is just a 15 minute train ride from Amsterdam Central station, and it's just a 10-15 minute walk from the station into the center of town. If you take the right road into town, there's even a shop that's also a tourist information center, and they have a free city map. Additionally one can even rent a bike in Amsterdam and reach Haarlem in just 1 1/2 hours apparently, which sounds great, for the slightly adventurous! And as you may not know, The Netherlands is very very flat, and there are many wonderful trips and sights to see by bike, complete with bike paths and drivers that are very accustomed to dealing with bikes!
Love the old brick Dutch architecture, a style that I did not see in Amsterdam, though I do remember seeing something similar in Harlem, New York, this original city's namesake!
A lovely garden spotted on our walk into the center of town.....
The city's old market place/square, with cafe chairs set up to enjoy the precious sun!
A glimpse of Museum Row, the small street that leads to the Frans Hals Museum.
Love the old style Dutch calligraphy that one sees everywhere.
The magnificent garden at the Frans Hals Museum. A wonderful museum dedicated to the work of the Dutch master Frans Hals, who was from Haarlem. The museum is wonderful though not necessarily for everyone, as there are several rooms of very large classic canvases with nude subject matter that may be inappropriate for some. Oh, and if you do choose to visit, don't miss the amazing mid 1700's Dutch doll house, that was created by Sara Rothe'. An amazing example of the kind of doll house that many affluent women of that period created to resemble their own homes.
Love this Dutch Art Nouveau tile mural, which I'm assuming is original.
This little scene on the canal with a row house complete with shutters just makes me so very happy.
Love this shot of twin classic buildings next to twin modern buildings with two blonds girls both wearing black!
And last but not least, Haarlem does have a gorgeous river and a very nicely restored windmill, which of course completes the whole idyllic scene so very nicely!
Ahhhhh, Haarlem, so happy to have met you.......hope to be back again some day!