View of Haarlem
Haarlem is a small city to the west of Amsterdam, and home to some great friends who are long time boaters. The downtown area is full of so much old world charm you will need to hand on to the nearest bar stool to remain standing. Street food, huge cheese wheels, outdoor seating if the temperature is above freezing and the skies clear. And, of course, a windmill. Once there were many but now they are monuments to a past that to us is the emblem of the the Golden Age in the 17th century in a country that vibrantly into the future.
We did some of our provisioning in town center. One day we carried a small microwave back to the boat in a driving rain. The next time we went it was on our bikes and in the sunny, chilly day. It was a Saturday and the streets were packed! In the photo below note how the girl is standing on the back of the bicycle while her father threads his way pedaling through the crowd. The Dutch have amazing bicycle skills. On another occasion two girls riding next to me shared a bike, the passenger holding an open umbrella. They carry kids while talking on the phone and balancing a 2 x 4. I think I am moving along quite well on my 21 speed, but then comes a tall blond woman in a rickety old one speed who passes me like I am standing still.