Monday, 10 March 2014

Discovering Haarlem

North of Holland

Time to start.

Time to start writing.

And what better than a Sunday spring day to start talking about the Netherlands?

Yesterday was wonderful weather here.

And it is important to underline this, because as an expat coming from Italy, I would always refer to the weather. My expectations on Dutch weather before moving here were soooo horrible, that anytime I see a bit of sun, I think is wonderful.
Yesterday was anyway not only about expectations: yesterday was really a sunny and warm spring day.

We took the opportunity to go and visit Haarlem, without actually knowing a lot about it.
It is actually quite close to Amsterdam (20km west from it). And it was a very positive surprise.
Here some more tips on things to do and visit in Haarlem.

We arrived around 13.00 and not many people were around. We sat for a quick lunch in a bar in the main square: Grote Markt. A fabric market was held. Nice because was making the city alive. I was though not really positively impressed by fabrics quality. Was anyway funny to walk there.

In the Grote Markt square there's also St. Bavo Cathedral: wonderful.

We got a nice hamburger with cheese and bacon at the Grand CafĂ©’ Brinkmann: one of the sunniest and hence most crowded places.

After lunch the town seemed to get alive: also taking advantage of the nice weather, everyone was in the streets. We went walking around the town and we discovered it is full of nice restaurant, and interesting shops. You can still breathe the artistic and cultural atmosphere that was here in the 17th century.

Immediately outside the city center there’s a nice canal with boat. A couple of families were just on the point to go for a tour with their boat. Three kids lying on couches, parents in t-shirt to enjoy the nice weather, a couple of wine glasses …. Sometimes Dutch people seem to be really able to enjoy life in the proper way.

Walking back from the canal we discovered Frans Hals Museum in a delicious street, a bit far away from the crowd of the city center.
But the most important thing we discovered about Haarlem is that is very famous for its tulips cultivation, and, we learned that in May there will be the 2014 flower parade.

On Saturday May 3rd at 9.30, the annual Flower Parade will travel its 40-km route along the main roads from Noordwijk to Haarlem where it will arrive at about 21.00. The flower parade is free of charge.

On Sunday 4th of May it will be possible to admire the flower floars in Haarlem until 17.00.

Check here for more infos.

Absoltely must have visit from my point of view.

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