Monday, August 6, 2012

EXPLORING THE OLD HAARLEM TOWN

The trip going home from Toronto to Kuala Lumpur require for another short transit at Schipol Airport. I had about 5 hours to explore more of Amsterdam on my own.

After getting some assistance from the tourist information booth at the airport, which was really very helpful, and since I had already been to Amsterdam City on my first transit, the person-in-charge suggested Haarlem to me.

I took a bus from the airport and in 30 minutes I had arrived at my destination - and my first impression: a place somewhat very Dutch, old and peaceful.

The architecture of the buildings around town was similar to what I had seen in Amsterdam City and there were canals everywhere too.


The best way to get around would be on foot. Everybody seemed to be walking here, and the roads looked much smaller. You should never worry of getting lost (as all the buildings would look all the same after some time) because many people here speak English. I wonder whether these people are really Dutch (including people at the airport) because they speak good English without the slightest European accent, or could they be people from England working in Holland.

If you are souvenir-hunting, Haarlem would be the place to go. I found a few shops selling souvenirs at reasonable prices and much cheaper than the ones at the airport.


I still had a few hours to kill so I decided to get on a river cruise that I found. When I was on the boat, there were only five passengers/tourists. The boat operator acted as a tourist guide too who described all the buildings that could be seen on the right and left side of the channel. He spoke mostly in Dutch though as I was the only non-Dutch person on board but that didn't matter. I was more interested to observe rather than to listen. The whole trip lasted for about 45 minutes.

 

That was about my very short trip to Amsterdam, both during transit. There will be video recordings of the trip cruising the channel of the old Haarlem town.