Shopping, strolling, beaches, herring, bock and madras. Just a second day’s reintroduction to Haarlem.


Previously: Renewing friendships in Haarlem. Being thankful. Promising to be back soon.

Our second day in Haarlem was Thursday, September 21.

Marilyn was in school, so Inge met us at the Grote Markt and we went off on a proper walk in search of a thrift store, passing from the center of the city through through a slice of Haarlem’s neighborhoods north of the train station.

But first, there was “second breakfast” herring to eat, as previously documented here: LIVE TO EAT: In Haarlem, the delicious “Hollandse Nieuwe” herring experience.

Originally the “Hollandse Nieuwe” haring being recounted here was intended for consumption on Wednesday, the day of our arrival. However, by the time we finished an opening round of drinks and got organized, the proprietor was depleted for the day.

Hence, the saddest sight in all of the Netherlands.

Hollandse nieuwe haring is a delicious memory I’ll continue reliving in my mind and taste buds — until whenever we return to Haarlem.

Inge opted to have hers sliced. It tastes just as good, albeit slightly less theatrical.

Haarlem’s town hall was the backdrop.

We’d actually strolled a bit before Inge arrived. Alas, the friet (fries) stand wasn’t open yet.

With the herring consumed, we set off for the thrift store. Consider the space it takes to park bicycles as opposed to cars.

However, if even more bicycle parking is needed, there’s always the underground, bikes-only garage by the train station.

It was a delightful walk.

The thrift store had an eclectic selection of glassware and music.

At the adjacent supermarket was evidence that in the Netherlands, bock/bok beers are an autumn phenomenon, not late winter/spring as in Germany.

There was a huge display given over to local beers.

Later in the afternoon, Diana and I walked back to the station and hopped a train to the beach resort at Zandvoort, only a six-mile ride through the relatively truncated Haarlem suburbs and the barrier terrain of the National Park Zuid-Kennemerland.

The National Park is composed of young calcerous dunes, wide beaches and lush coastel forests as well as remnants of cultural history like farms/estates, seaside villages and bunkers. Differences in soil, elevation, climate and groundwater levels in dunes provide diverse living conditions for both flora and fauna alike. While the elements, sand, rain and wind only serve to reinforce the biological dynamics of the area.

It was a temperate autumn day by the ocean, and we restricted our activities to observing the scene from the safety of a seaside restaurant.

A quick selfie as the train pulled into Zandvoort station.

Back in Haarlem from the beach, Diana took a break and I went to Jopenkerk to meet Dewi and Boris. We subsequently decamped for Lokaal, Rob’s signature Dutch beer bar. It is located just a couple minutes by foot from our hotel, and since the closing of Cafe Briljant, it’s his sole pub business.

On the topic of food, it was revealed that seeing as Lokaal has no kitchen, we’d be ordering dinner delivery from Taste of India. This afforded a second happy opportunity for madras and curry. Diana joined us for the feast.

That’s half a profile of Rob in the rear. Weirdly, it occurred to no one to photograph the reunion, and so having finally made it back to Haarlem after nine years, the faces of Rob, Boris and Dewi were not captured on film.


Two full days remained.