Haarlem, Amsterdam and Neil's last day

Trip Start Sep 18, 2007
Trip End Sep 29, 2007

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Where I stayed

Flag of Netherlands  , Noord-Holland,
Saturday, September 22, 2007

We spent the first part of the day in Haarlem. They had some markets, including one in the large square right outside of our hotel. There was another smaller one up the street from us as well. I was able to walk around town a little on my own. I checked out some more canals, including the area where the bigger boats come in. It was also a location of the town's historic De Adriaan Windmill. Later, the guys joined me and we looked at the canal and windmill again before going to a museum in Haarlem -the Teylers Museum. It was a great museum, in another cool building/house. The founder was one of the people who collected EVERYTHING. There were fossils and bones and astronomy/science stuff, paintings, photography things...so much to see. Most everything is in Dutch but they have handsets for those who speak English or other languages.

We headed back to Amsterdam, wandered around, visited the Hash Marihuana Hemp Museum in the Red Light District (basically lots of marijuana growing in their basement), hung out at several bars/cafes, went to one of the larger squares in Amsterdam (Dam Square). This is one of those grand public areas, lots of large buildings and monuments that come to mind when thinking of the grand places in Europe. There were lots of people milling about, street performers and more public/open-air urinals. Neil finally tried one out. At one of the bars along the canals we hung out, we were mesmerized by a street musician that literally kept playing the same 3 or 4 notes over and over and over. He play, take a break, and then play again. It was very amusing for other people hanging out as well. Neil and Todd tried to go to one of the shows in the Red Light district but lines and costs were prohibitive. So, we headed back to Haarlem, had an enjoyable dinner to end the first leg of our trip. Note for anyone who travels here, service in restaurants is alot different. Unlike in the US, where your server is at your table as soon as you walk in and giving you your check often before you finish eating/drinking. In Belgium and the Netherlands, service is much slower--there is no rush to hurry up and free up a table. Take as long as you want. It takes some time getting used to since we're pretty heavily conditioned....
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