Saturday, 20 March 2010

Charmed Once Again By Haarlem

Sonata:
Last weekend Friend and I , both suffering from severe cabin fever , went off to Haarlem for the day .

It was startlingly cold again and we only had a few hours , so she strode about on her long legs and I did my Shetland pony trot alongside . Haarlem has over 1000 listed monuments and is officially designated Holland's Best Shopping city . So , despite this , seen in a window of a shop undergoing re-fitting , there was no shortage of things to enjoy

There were lots of quirky little shops . Ottomania , for instance , had a profusion of Turkish silks and Indian muslins , Hamam towels in every colour under the sun , Rumanian embroidery , French soaps and a handy ladder to reach the top shelves


Untold boutiques full of clothes for women with exquisite taste and the money to indulge it and an amazing number of places stuffed with beautiful old furniture artfully displayed . I fancied this myself but didn't think I could manage all of it in the train
There was even something for my husband , never an easy man to find a present for


A very nice lunch was eaten and then we popped into the St. Bavo Church and admired the work being done to show a little of what it would have looked like before the Reformation made plain white walls obligatory .


And noticed , to our delight , that a ten year old Mozart had played on the organ in 1766


One hopes he was warmly dressed at the time because I must say I have never been anywhere colder in my life . Apparently the church is known for it locally and I see that in the winter church services are held in a smaller church nearby .

All in all a very successful day and well worth a repeat visit soon . There were lots of things that we couldn't fit in . I'd have loved to have a coffee upstairs in the Douwe Egbert's cafe , for instance , next to this beautiful stained glass window


And , as this sign post showed , if you wanted to you could extend the whole "day out " idea to infinity

The bike path all the way to Santiago de Compostela ....

10 comments:

Molly said...

Florida seems so dull by comparison...sigh.

Suse said...

So does Melbourne. Sigh ...

(What's that tiny object in the otherwise empty window? I can't make it out).

Tania said...

I dread the phone calls from my six foot (plus) tall BF suggesting a spot of exercise. I know it looks hilarious to every onlooker as they witness my undignified scramble to keep up with her lope.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Tiny object is a very tiny stuffed mouse , sitting up and obviously on the scrounge .

Rattling On said...

That looks like a proper day out! I love the chair in the cafe.

rachel said...

Oh damn. Now I want to go to Haarlem too.

Newcastle is the pits.....

Once in a while said...

Hi ladies - Looking at the photo's and realizing you are living in Europe a question came to mind. Have you ever followed the 'Pilgrim's Route' to Santiago de Compostela. The Way of St James is a route followed by many travelers today, on foot. Me I went by car but I always hated walking anywhere. Kind regards Patrick

elizabethm said...

Looks a perfect day out, even for me, a non shopper! It had better go on the list.

Liz said...

It looks a gorgeous place, especially that stained glass window.

mountainear said...

I could do with a day out like that - sounds like a wonderful place to browse.

I would be the ideal companion....I too am not built like a gazelle.