Haarlem Bike Trip

Trip Start Jul 25, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Netherlands  ,
Sunday, April 8, 2007

On Easter we set out on another of our marathon bike rides (marathon for us at least!) - we had hoped to complete a 30 mile (roundtrip) expedition to Haarlem where we had planned on going to the Frans Hals Museum. We had also wanted to bike south of Haarlem through some of the bulb fields that we had seen before.

We were using our GPS system to guide us and also following the red bike path to Haarlem (red paths are the fastest bike paths between two destinations vs the green paths which are the scenic route!). Halfway through the trip, the battery on the GPS system started to die out and we were having difficulty finding the red bike path. This led us to some very interesting areas around the outskirts of Amsterdam... we saw some beautiful parks, many soccer fields, and new housing developments (block-like apartments which are all very industrial in design - not nearly as pretty as the 17th century architecture seen in the city). At one point we felt we were not even in the same country - Pantea was the only woman around without a veil!

We were lost for a couple of hours but did finally find the red path sign again. By the time we got to Haarlem it was too late for the museum and we were pretty exhausted.  We spent some time in the 'Grote Markt' (the main town square next to St. Bavokerk chuch) before heading back to our apartment. 
Overall this bike trip West of the city ended up taking 7 hours (we covered over 40 miles) and wasn't as pretty as the trip north to Marken.  Most of the area was not that aesthetically pleasing, pretty crowded, and we rode next to a highway for a portion of the route.  Although the day had not been as we had planned, we appreciated seeing this side of life in the Netherlands... and we also enjoyed the exercise!
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