Amsterdam & Haarlem

On Thursday I took the train from Amsterdam to Haarlem to meet up with my tour group. It was about a 20 minute walk from my hotel to the train station, and then about 10 from the Haarlem station to our hotel. This doesn’t sound like a big deal until you strap a 20+ lb backpack on my back, and a 5+ lb day bag, and then it’s another story.  I’m glad that I will only have to do that between locations.

We did a walking tour of Haarlem in the evening, including a tour of a windmill, followed by a traditional Indonesian rijsttafel dinner.  So good!  On Friday, we took the train into Amsterdam and had a full day starting with the Anne Frank House.  It was a very well done museum, connected to the original house, that told the story of this family and their helpers, in the very house where they lived.  It’s difficult to put into words what these type of experiences have on me — to walk the same rooms, to climb the same stairs, to see the preserved pencil markings on the wall of her and her sister’s height — it is beyond humbling.  We went from there to the Rijksmuseum to see the works of Rembrandt and Vermeer, and others.  We had an art historian for a guide that was able to really bring the works to life in a special way.  I then walked over to the Van Gogh Museum and did a quick walk-through, and could have easily spent more time.  We wrapped up the day with a canal cruise, a brief walk through the Red Light District (it was too early in the evening, so no stories to share about that), and had dinner on our own back in Haarlem.

Here are some photos, and I have more that failed to upload.  With the little bits of time that I get on slow wireless connections to try to wrestle with photos, this is proving to be an exercise in frustration.  I may just switch to using Facebook only if this continues.

Updated 9/22 with more photos from Amsterdam and Haarlem.

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