Today was my Haarlem day.

It’s a short train ride to Haarlem, about 15 minutes. In fact,  when I was first planning this trip, I was going to stay in Haarlem. It would have been a nice place to stay, I guess, pleasant to go back to after a day in Amsterdam. But I’m glad I’m staying in Amsterdam. Haarlem was a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.
Continue reading “But what is the extra A for?”

I like to travel as a temporary local. I’m not big on tours, I hate walking around with my nose in a guidebook, and I like eating in restaurants that locals go to, not ones that cater largely to tourists. Staying in a apartment in a residential neighborhood far from the center, I can mostly blend in well at local shops and markets, at least until someone asks me something and I stare at them dumbly and say “English?”

But yesterday I proudly wore my tourist hat.
Continue reading “Being a tourist”

  1. Breakfast that includes fresh-baked bread, cheese, fresh-squeezed orange juice, fresh fruit, and a fried egg from a local farm.
  2. Saturday market in a delightful town that’s laced with canals. 
  3. Walking through parts of the town that are normally mobbed with tourists early in the morning before there is a soul around.
  4. Visiting one of the best small art museums anywhere, the Mauritshuis in The Hague.
  5. Seeing a painting of the delightful town, by its most famous resident, Johannes Vermeer, that is so beautiful and so brilliantly painted that it may actually be better than the real thing.
  6. Being in that small town during an exhibit in a local museum that brings one of Vermeer’s paintings home to the place he lived and worked.
  7. Lunch of bread and cheese purchased from vendors at the local market and consumed on a bench overlooking a canal with hopeful ducks lingering nearby.
  8. Finding not one, not two, but three beautiful vases to add to your collection, even if one of them is so exquisite that you buy it even though it is by far the most expensive vase to enter your collection.
  9. Walking through the town in the early evening to find small out-of-the-way sights you missed earlier.
  10. Enjoying Indonesian food for dinner without thinking about how brutally the Dutch dealt with the local people there when they colonized it.

View my photo album from The Hague and the Mauritshuis.
View my photo album from Delft.

… and into the freezer. Or so it seems tonight. The temperatures have dropped about 25 degrees Fahrenheit, from the upper 70s to the lower 50s, which, as those who know me are aware, is a good thing! And it’s supposed to stay chilly through next week. The downside is that there is rain in the forecast, but it appears to be mostly scattered showers, so I’m staying hopeful.
Continue reading “Out of the frying pan…”

I like to be a food tourist, which usually means looking for foods that are traditional to the place I’m visiting.

After three days in Ghent, I decided on Plan B. (That’s B for Belgium.)

Yesterday was Italian food, and it was maybe the best lasagna I ever had. Today I went Kosher. I went to Spotted by Locals and the first listing was for Hoffy’s Yiddish Restaurant down in the Diamond District, about a 15-minute walk. Well suffice it to say, Hoffy’s did not disappoint.
Continue reading “Keeping Kosher”

Today was good.

It might actually have nothing to do with getting a full six hours of sleep last night,  but that certainly didn’t hurt.  (And six hours sleep is close to normal for me. Even so,  I had a nice nap this evening before going out for dinner.)

It was overcast and drizzly and not as warm today,  so that might have helped.  Today was the first day so far I didn’t need a shower after a day of sightseeing.

But today was good mostly because the stuff I did today was good.
Continue reading “Everything’s better after a good night’s sleep”

I made a day trip to Bruges today. It was very nice. But I liked the movie better.

There was nothing wrong with Bruges.  It’s exactly what it’s supposed to be: postcard pretty,  cobblestoned,  with charming bridges crossing charming canals, and with all kinds of shops that are expert at appealing to the throngs of tourists.
Continue reading “The movie was better”