When we first came in Haarlem we hadn’t spent that much time in the city. We rented a room in a hotel near the train station in order to go quickly in the morning in other cities. And now that I think about it, the same it was with Amsterdam, where I missed a lot of touristic spots (but the time is not lost, I am still here for the moment).
Last weekend the sun was up in the sky, and even if it was kind of cold, we went on a boat trip in Haarlem – which we never did. The boat was only for 12 people, uncovered and I stayed right next the “captain” 🙂 Being uncovered it was a pleasure to stay with the face in the sun, being beaten by the never ending wind from The Netherlands. The owner of the boat is a haarlemer and he presented us a lot of historical facts about the city, which we missed by ignorance. His stories about how spanish invaded the city and about the hunger from that period, simple make my skin chicken even now. On the Spaarne a house is sharing the story of famine by having 3 breads above the principal door: the house was bought with only 3 breads. Another sad story he told is the fact that in Haarlem people were saying that you can’t hear a dog howling on the streets, because they were eaten… A lot of sadness around that period of time, but of course I think it is a known fact that when a country is invaded the first signs are starvation and poverty (also Romania has a lot of these stories, being invaded by so many nations). We also found out that the city has hidden gardens and special places where old women, without family, can go and leave – but you must be older than 67!
Yesterday evening we also wandered around the city. We have the special route, going to Spaarne and then wander around the river houses or get lost in the unknown neighborhoods. Going on the river side, we suddenly heard a cat bell and in front of me, a cat jumped, with the tail up, purring like Pica never did. She went with us for a while, always in front of us, looking back from time to time. I remembered the pleasant hiking moments from Romania, where a dog will always be with you on the mountains, taking care of you. And these mixed feelings make feel sometimes like in a mystery movie, somewhere in a forgotten town, where everything seems perfect; but there’s always something waiting behind the corner.