I wanted to stay local and do some laundry on Saturday, so I found a laundromat and stuffed my clothes in the reusable grocery bag I had bought at the market. If you ever do want to “blend in” with the locals I suggest you buy a local grocery store bag. Almost everyone spoke to me in Dutch.
A really nice girl at the laundromat showed me how their system worked, then recommended a nearby bakery to while away the time. Banketbakkerij D&P is a small bakery and chocolate shop, so I bought some candied citrus dipped in chocolate with a little cayenne for the people back at work. They had a menu of broodjes which is a roll, and it can mean a sandwich or a burger or anything on or near a bun. I ordered without knowing what it was, and it turned out to be a nice egg and cheese sandwich on delicious, fresh bread.
When I got back to the hotel, the park next door was having a big antique flea market. Everyone was so accommodating when I asked to take pictures of their wares. I think they were flattered that I admired their staging, which they had obviously spent some time and thought on.
One man demanded a euro to photograph the table, then insisted I take his picture. Afterward, I gave him a 2 euro coin and told him to have a beer on me. I expected him to refuse, but he took it and asked, “That’s all you’ve got?” I am beginning to love Dutch people.
There are some old toys that are so intensely happy that they look creepy. My friends the Guerenas collect trippy toys and there were so many of them that I wished I were their personal shopper. The kid on this box is not really into this tea party
I took this pic for my friend Donna..
I did buy this evil-looking manic dog. How could I not?
I also had to buy this crying baby doll. Because what little girl wants a doll that is so miserable? The lady at the stall tried to show me some happier dolls and i insisted, “I want it because its crying.” That caused a nearby shopper to burst out in laughter and I felt I had met a kindrid spirit.
There was an Indian restaurant on the corner across the street from my hotel, imaginatively named Restaurant India Corner. The owner was really nice, and they had insanely hot samosas. The shrimp curry wasn’t too spicy, but was flavorful. The mango ice cream was mind-blowing. As seems to be the rage in Haarlem, it was deconstructed and had delicious smears of raspberry and flurries of coconut.
Haarlem is a great little town for a romantic getaway, to just wander and look at pretty buildings, window shop, walk in the parks and eat in cute little restaurants. During tulip season it explodes with flowers, and there is a very picturesque windmill that I didn’t visit.