"VT-meeting 26th April 2003: REPORT" Top 5 Page for this destination Haarlem Travelogue by martin_nl
Haarlem Travel Guide: 700 reviews and 1,664 photos
On April 26, 2003 the annual Flower Parade took place. A good reason for Sandravdp and me to organise a VT-Meeting in historical Haarlem. It was a great day with quite some attendees. Because of the rain we couldn't see much of the city itself, but we had fun nevertheless. The people who were present at the meeting are:
-eden_teuling (+husband Pip) (Netherlands)
-pieter_jan_v (+wife Swanet) (Netherlands)
-matim (+daughter Maaike) (Netherlands)
Since it would be the place to arrive in the city for most people, the meet up was in the trainstation's restaurant. We had a cup of coffee or something and waited for everyone to arrive. There were a lot of construction works going on this day, so many trains were delayed or cancelled. Finally at 13:15 everyine was present and it was time to get some lunch. Before getting outside the trainstation we looked around a bit in the building. Haarlem has together with Amsterdam the oldest train station of the country. The first train to ever drive in the Netherlands went from Haarlem to Amsterdam. Also Ilse (matim) still needed to buy a roll of film, and luckily they had them for sale in the book shop AKO.
When we were all teamed up it was time to go for lunch. We walked along the Kruisstraat to the centre of the city. At the end of the Kruisstraat opposite the store called HEMA we visited the Hofje van Oorschot. Haarlem has some 19 hofjes. These places were designed for the elderly. The houses are always situated in carré, with a courtyard in the middle. Some hofjes can be visited on weekdays and also on Saturday. If you decide to visit a hofje, please keep in mind that people still live here, so keep quiet as much as possible.
After the hofje we walked to the Groenmarkt. All over Haarlem there were street markets because of the flower parade. On Groenmarkt there were quite some stalls selling typical dutch food like loafs of bread, stroopwafels and the famous big yellow cheeses. The restaurant we were supposed to have lunch was called Vincent's. It is the cheapest restaurant of Haarlem. Unfortunately somehow it was closed so we had to find another place to have something to eat. We decided to go to the department store called V&D. On the way we also visited the Stedelijk Gymnasium, a school situated behind the City Hall on a beautiful little square.
On the two top floors of the V&D the restaurant called La Place is situated. You can have delicious sandwiches, fresh juices, hot meals, cakes and a variety of coffee and salads here. Everything is made right in front of your nose, so guarenteed fresh. From the top floors you also have magnificient view over the city of Haarlem. Unortunately however they were redecorating the whole department store, and thus the restaurant was moved to a lower floor, and alas.... no view :-( Luckily they did still serve all the delicious food, which everyone seemed to enjoy a lot.
When we finished our delicious salmon, herbal cheese and ham sandwiches and drank our juices, shakes and soda's it was time to move on to the Teyler's Museum. We planned to walk to this museum via the oldest neighbourhood of Haarlem. But the moment we stepped outside V&D we felt drops of rain falling down on us, so we decided to take the shortest route to the museum instead. We did however walk along the Spaarne river that flows right through the city. On the picture you can see the Spaarne and on the left you see the Waag. This weighing house was used to weigh all the cheese and other dairy products in order to determine the amount of import taxes that had to be paid. In the middle you see the Grote Kerk and on the right the beautiful building of the Teyler's Museum, which is the next stop.
In front of the museum we all posed for a group picture, the one you see on top of this page. One car even stopped so we could have a clear shot, this to the annoyance of the people that drove behind him. The Teyler's Museum is the oldest museum of the Netherlands. The museum of a big collection of all sorts of things. From dinosaur and plant fossils to paintings and drawings, and from scientific instruments to medals and coins. There is always a special temporary exposition. When we visited there was an exposition about piercings. And not just the piercings we are so familiar with nowadays, but also the traditions from all sorts of people from for example Malaysia, Thailand and African countries. This is really worth checking out. Some films and photo's shown can be quite shocking though, so you need a strong stomach!
When we entered the Teyler's it rain was not that heavy, but when we were outside it did rain heavy. Some epople brought umbrella's and they came in very handy. We walked via the Spaarne and Langeveerstraat to the Speckstraat. An area behind the Grote Markt and Grote Kerk with many restaurants including Specktakel where we are having diner. However before we went to the restaurant we first bought some postcards to send to some of our VT-friends who unfortunately couldn't be at the meeting. It was also time to say goodbye to Ilse (matim) and her daughter Maaike, who couldn't stay with us for diner.
We arrived a bit early at the restaurant but they already prepared our table so that was no problem. It gave us some extra time to write all the postcards and have a couple of drinks. The menu we could choose from was very international. Dishes from Australia between those of South Africa and even the Carribean. All the food was presented on different plates which really added to the experience of eating at this place. Not only the presentation was very good the food was too. Everyone really enjoyed it a lot!!
After more than two hours of eating it was time to go and see the flower parade enter the city. The weather was lots better, but the wind was blowing a bit stronger, at least no rain though!! We walked via the Grote Houtstraat, which is the main shopping street of Haarlem to the Gedempte Oude Gracht where the parade would arrive between 20:00 and 21:00. We were just in time and only had to wait for five minutes before the first fanfare, cars and floats were arriving. There were quite some big gaps between the floats, but they all looked magnificient. Halfway through the parade the floats stopped and were stationed at the Gedempte Oude Gracht, where we could take a closer look at them. The floats would be stationed there until Sunday. At the end of that day the floats will be removed.
The parade was also the end of the day and everyone went home, except for Danielle (irisbe), Caroline (B_Caro), Sandra (sandravdp) and me. We went to a pub on the Botermarkt, which is a square very close to the V&D where we had lunch earler on the day and also next to the Gedempte Oude Gracht. We had a special brewed Haarlem Jopen Spring beer. It was really delicious and I think I'll go for some more when the weather gets better and it's time to sit outside on a terrace! After some time we decided to go home or to the hotel too. Caroline, Danielle and I arranged to meet up the next day to visit the Keukenhof in Lisse together. But see our Keukenhof pages for more on that.
All in all I want to thank everyone who could attend this meeting. It was great seeing some new and familiar faces. We had a blast and I'm looking forward to all of your Haarlem pages!
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