We are now exploring Netherlands after our 2 week trip to Norway. We arrived here just in time for an all time heat record. On Thursday, July 26, the Netherlands heated up to 105.3 degrees smashing a previous record set 75 years ago.
Our first stay for 2 days was in Haarlem which is about 20 minutes by train from Amsterdam. The Grote Markt Square was the main gathering place. The Grote Kerk (Great Church) and Town Hall are the dominate buildings on the square.
In the early evenings would found it most relaxing to hang out in outdoor restaurants along the canals. Our favorite was one along side an old time dutch windmill. We especially enjoyed watching the boaters passing by in all types of crafts and mix of ages. Some pulling inflatable inter-tubes for mostly younger ones. To cool down from the heat, we saw some young boys jumping off a bridge and others just jumping into the canal for a late day swim.
On the hottest day we traveled by train for 10 minute to Zandvoort on the North Sea. It’s a very popular beach and was hugely crowded that day with tons of umbrellas planted in the sand and lots of swimmers in the water. We enjoyed a nice lunch under the shade of an umbrella and a cool breeze from the sea and took in a bit of people watching.
When we got back to Haarlem that day we found some respite from the heat in the Grote Kerk (Great Church) listening to a organ concert performed on a huge pipe organ with over 5000 pipe dating back to 1738. The organ has been played by Mozart and Handel.
After our time in Haarlem we moved about 45 minutes south by train to the lovely town of Delft. The historic center is called the Markt or Market Square and is the main gathering place. The square is book ended by the 14th century Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) on one end and the 15th Century Town Hall on the other. The Dutch royal family has buried its nobility at the church ever since they won independence from Spain.
We happened to be around on the day of the flower market. A good looking gal kindly posed for us in front of her stand looking quite pleased with her flowers. A short ways down the street we came across a farmer who was showing off his new wooden shoes and standing along side the dairy cow he proudly says produced the cheese wheels in the background. A little later, they both were seen enjoying their success at local restaurant just off the main square.
We stayed in a small hotel right on the Oude (Old) Canal and near the Market Square. The Oude has a few barges that are moored up and used as expanded restaurant space during the summer. We enjoyed lunch under an umbrella at two such spots. The streets and canals in the old town are nicely decorated with lovely flower baskets making it a delightful place to stroll.