Alright, the weather has broken; or at least, it is cloudy but not raining.
Some initial impresssions:
- Haarlem is home to close to 150,000 people, and it is much whiter than Amsterdam.
- Huge green spaces and trails give it a much more spacious feeling than its neighbour to the east
- There's a very good mix of the old and the new - stately 17th century buildings and homes are juxtaposed with modern offices and shops.
- Its core is pedestrian- and bike-only.
- The Grote Markt (Big Market) in the center of downtown is exactly the kind of European market you want to see - stalls offering the best in cheese, meats, bread, and sweets, all against the backdrop of towering church towers and cobblestone streets.
- It wouldn't be Holland without canals winding their way throughout the city and the nearby communities.
Essentially, it is a more manageable, bite-sized version of bustling Amsterdam. It feels like the kind of place that offers a more relaxed lifestyle, where if you want an occasional injection of adrenaline you can hop a car, bus, or train and be tapping your veins in the big city in 30 minutes.
Golfers come here to work on their short game