Monday, September 24, 2022
What a far flung adventure I have had the good fortune to experience! The long days of warm sunshine seem a memory now as my European trip comes to a close. The sunrise today wasn’t even until 7:27 – and there was a question as to whether it would make an appearance at all given a night of continuous rain and today’s forecast calling for more of the same!
I am a fan of the rain – the lush greens and beautiful nature it helps to produce. And, I don’t particularly mind being out in it if I am properly prepared. I must say that I like to enjoy it from the inside looking out, too! And that’s just what I did for a bit.
The Airbnb I have to myself is charming, so cozy, and with a view out to one of the many canals here in Haarlem. The multi-colored autumn leaves blowing in the wind, rain falling on the cobblestone lanes and upon the waterway and my general tiredness had me in a tug-of-war most of the morning – could I possibly end this trip where I will be flying out of the Amsterdam airport without actually visiting Amsterdam?! I didn’t really leave myself enough time for a proper exploration and instead, these last two days have provoked some strong desires to get on home! I am weary and miss my family.
I had just convinced myself to skip it when the owner of my lovely abode stopped by to introduce herself. She convinced me that I simply must go, decried the ease, speed and frequency of the train and even offered me a more substantial raincoat and bigger umbrella! She successfully twisted my arm…
And she was right – it was an easy walk to the train station that I discovered yesterday in my wanderings, the ride was swift and I departed the front of the train station in Amsterdam Central right where my Rick Steves walking tour began.
My download version has the audio written out as well, and I read most of it on the train ride. All the important government and historical buildings of the first half hour were on the main drag leading out of the station, and it’s a good thing I prepped, because it was raining so hard my phone would’ve been soaked in minutes listening to my download. I know I certainly was! Consequently, I didn’t take any pictures either.
I wish I could say that I loved my experience, but my heart just wasn’t in it. In spite of the weather there were still droves of tourists about and commercialism was everywhere my eyes landed. Of course there was beauty and novelty in the architecture, yet even the historical buildings housed retail or jockeyed for sensationalism. The wind turned umbrellas inside out and after I got soaked to the point of being chilled, I aborted my walking tour halfway through and headed back to the station. When I arrived again in Haarlem it serendipitously stopped raining until I was almost back to my home base. When the skies opened up again I stopped into Toujours Bistro for a snack of bitterballen (“Dutch meat-based snack made by making a very thick stew thickened with roux and beef stock and generously loaded with meat, refrigerating the stew until it firms, and then rolling the thick mixture into balls which then get breaded and fried”, Wikipedia). They were just okay…
Tomorrow I have a cab at 3:30 a.m. to the airport for a full day of returning home with a plane change in Copenhagen. I am very much looking forward to seeing my family after being gone A MONTH!!! Time to get back to creating local adventures!