Haarlem, 'flower city', is where I live now. Its about 20 kms from Amsterdam or should I say 20 minutes train ride from Amsterdam. ( Basically half the time I used to take just getting out of Gurgaon in India..only my India friends would know what I mean here :p ).
The first time I came here which was last year in September 2013, I felt its a pretty boring place. ( I had come in from Amsterdam so you know what I mean. No red light district, no pushy tourists, no queue of souvenir shops or bustling trams ). It seemed way too quite for a touristy me back then. It seemed beautiful even then no doubt, just a little too mute!
It seemed more livable which it definitely is. It has a population of about 156,000..which is what.. about as many people who live in one DLF phase of Gurgaon in India.. which basically means people of one little small living society spread over a city. I don't mind it! I am not missing the traffic jams :p ( I do miss the food though ). Anyways let me not digress or start about Gurgaon. Back to Haarlem!
If you see it from my eyes, every corner for this city is BEAUTIFUL! Really.
2 min walk from home I see this view!
5 minutes walk I see this!
10 minutes walk I see this!
I guess I have made my point. No more walking distances and snaps! So ya, every little corner of this city is a treat for the eyes. It can very well be a writer's abode. Serene. Peaceful.
Just cycling around makes me happy. Its when cycling around this charming city I don't mind not having a job or being completely useless and just being.
And its not even a boring place as I first thought. Its got plenty recreational and go-to options. Many sports clubs, hang-out places like a windmill, De Adriaan where one can just laze around and have a beer, Jopen kerk which is a church converted into a beer brewery ( how cool is that ! ), Friday flee markets, Grote market which is the cool city center with multiple shopping lanes with all the brands any girl could ever wish for, cinema halls and so much more that I will need to write another blog post for it.
Grote market, Haarlem's city square with lovely open cafes, shopping arcade and beer bars.
Grote kerk ( church ) on Grote Market at Haarlem city square.
Me fooling around on top of the windmill, De Adriaan.
Yummy beer at the windmill, De Adriaan.
And houses so beautiful, you wouldn't ever want to leave home!
Ones like in snap below are my favorite. They seem to me like cake houses somehow and take me back to Hansel and Gretel. Fairytaled thinking!
This one here is so adorable with a cute little garden in front.
I read a little about the history of Haarlem and turns out that half the history of Haarlem is made up! lol. ( can i write lol ?! ). But that goes for every place I think. Its so often that stories and 'history' of a place is made up especially by guides. They have to build interesting tales to fascinate and attract more tourists I guess. Probably thats why I am not the best story teller. I don't make up or exaggerate things. My story telling is more like stating facts. Thankfully those facts happen to be interesting enough for me to live and write about. I hope they are interesting to read as well for some! Anyone coming to Haarlem, please visit. I can make decent tea and Gabi makes great coffee! :)