Seeing the Netherlands through Amsterdam, Delft and Haarlem

We really enjoyed the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Although we are not allowed to take photos inside the museum, we could take photos at various other places around the museum that showed larger copies of Vincent’s works. This is a Vincent Van Gogh self portrait with Grey Felt Hat dated 1887. He painted many self-portraits and floral still life’s - accommodating and inexpensive subject matter on which to practice. That’s Tammy, Alice and me...Diana. June 10, 2018

Amsterdam. We’re here. This is a full on city with canals, bikers, buses, trams, cars, more bikers and finally people cramming its streets. I’ve never seen so many bikes and people on bikes. This is one city where you have to pay attention and like your parents taught you…look both ways before you do anything…and then look again. But I like the energy here. Amsterdam has a rhythm to it that keeps everything and everyone in movement. And, I love the diversity. All different kinds of people moving about a city full of moving parts. I just want to keep up. I’ll let you know how I do. In the meantime…a snippet of Amsterdam on the move.

We lucked up on the “I Amsterdam” sign behind us. We were scouting out where our day tour of Amsterdam begins in the morning. Thankfully, the Rome2rio app shows you different options of how to get to where you’re going…from walking to taking public transportation or both. I’ve used it on many occasions and its never steered me wrong. We chose public transportation, the tram, from our apartment and did well both ways. June 9, 2018
Amsterdam is bike central. June 9, 2018
There are bike lanes and people walking lanes, but bikers dominate the landscape. And, don’t walk in the bike lanes because bikers don’t slow down and they will ring their bike bells to warn you to get out of the way. June 8, 2018
And, then there are the trams in Amsterdam. They are silent and they move quickly. Between dodging the bikers, we’re having to also look both ways for the trams. Us walkers really have to stay alert. June 9, 2018
Ah, the calm of a canal boat ride in Amsterdam. June 9, 2018

I was 16-years-old when American singer-songwriter Don McLean released his song “Vincent,” a tribute to the 19th century Dutch painter, Vincent Van Gogh. There are verses from that song, also known as “Starry Starry Night” after one of Van Gogh’s paintings, that I remember distinctly til this day. So, coming to Amsterdam would not have been complete without feasting on the works of Vincent Van Gogh at his namesake museum.

We did the Rijksmuseum with its gorgeous Dutch artists from Rembrandt to Vermeer; took a canal boat ride and then spent the afternoon at the Van Gogh Museum. Tomorrow we walk the streets of Amsterdam during a 3-hour walking tour along with a Red Light District walking tour. For now, Dutch artists and their masterpieces.

We really enjoyed the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Although we are not allowed to take photos inside the museum, we could take photos at various other places around the museum that showed larger copies of Vincent’s works. This is a Vincent Van Gogh self portrait with Grey Felt Hat dated 1887. He painted many self-portraits and floral still life’s – accommodating and inexpensive subject matter on which to practice. That’s Tammy, Alice and me…Diana. June 10, 2018
I did sneak in this photograph of the “Sunflowers” by Vincent Van Gogh at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Van Gogh painted five versions of a big bunch of sunflowers in a vase or pot, the first in August of 1888, when sunflowers are in bloom, and the other four later. June 10, 2018
Inside the first floor entryway of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is this slide show of actors who portrayed Vincent Van Gogh and paintings of the artist.
Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) produced some 2,100 artworks in a ten year period that include landscapes, still life, portraits and self-portraits. His suicide at age 37 followed years of mental illness and poverty. Only one painting of Van Gogh’s was sold in his lifetime. And, yet the beauty of his creativity and life story continues to inspire. June 10, 2018
Unfortunately the canal boat ride we took today in Amsterdam was crowded and behind glass windows so the reflection from the glass made the photos look dull. Oh, darn! I may need to do another canal boat ride. June 10, 2018
From today’s canal boat ride in Amsterdam. June 10, 2018
From today’s canal boat ride, a houseboat on the Amsterdam canal. There are some 2,500 houseboats in Amsterdam. June 10, 2018
The Rijksmuseum with the very recognizable “I amsterdam” sign in of course Amsterdam. The museum is home to the works of the great Dutch masters from Johannes Vermeer to Rembrandt. June 10, 2018
A Rembrandt self-portrait as the Apostle Paul from 1661 at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. June 10, 2018
The Night Watch (1642) Rembrandt’s masterpiece, the Night Watch, is a group portrait of a company of Amsterdam ‘militiamen,’ the city’s guard at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. June 10, 2018
The Milkmaid (c. 1657–58) by Johannes Vermeer at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. A maidservant pours milk, entirely absorbed in her work. Except for the stream of milk, everything else is still. Vermeer took this simple everyday activity and made it the subject of an impressive painting. June 10, 2018
A made to scale model of the William Rex, a Dutch warship in the late 17th century at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. June 10, 2018
During the late 17th century and early 18th, spectacular doll houses were created in the Netherlands, especially in Amsterdam. This doll house of Petronella Ooortman in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is made of authentic materials, highly detailed and to scale. These doll houses were not children’s toys, but display pieces furnished for and by wealthy ladies who lavished enormous amounts of time, money and attention on them. June 10, 2018
A room in the late 17th century and early 18th century doll house of Petronella Ooortman in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. June 10, 2018
Several rooms in the late 17th century and early 18th century doll house of Petronella Oortman in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. June 10, 2018
This painting by Jacob Appel shows the doll house of Petronella Oortman at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The painting shows drawn back yellow curtains against the opened cabinet doors. June 10, 2018
This doll house at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam was made for Petronella Dunois (1650-1695), a wealthy orphan who lived with her sister in Amsterdam. The doll house contains a peat loft, a linen room, a nursery, a reception room, a cellar, a kitchen and a dining room. Various objects in this doll house are marked with the year 1676, which was probably when it was largely completed. June 10, 2018
A room in the Petronella Dunois doll house at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The doll house dates from about 1676. June 10, 2018
Another room in the Petronella Dunois doll house at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The doll house dates from about 1676. June 10, 2018
This self-portrait of Vincent Van Gogh is at the Rijksmuseum at the Museumplein or Museum Square in Amsterdam. The Museum Square is home to three major museums – the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and Stedelijk Museum.
Vincent moved to Paris in 1886, after hearing from his brother Theo about the new, colorful style of French painting. Vincent portrays himself here as a fashionably dressed Parisian. June 10, 2018
“My house here is painted outside in the yellow of fresh butter, with garish green shutters and it’s in the full sun on the square, where there’s a green garden of plane trees, oleanders, acacias. And inside, it’s all whitewashed, and the floor’s of red bricks. And the intense blue sky above. Inside, I can live and breathe, and think and paint,” said Vincent Van Gogh in a letter he wrote to his sister in 1888. Vincent rented four rooms in a house on Place Lamartine in Arles, France. The green shutters show where he lived. And, that’s me, Diana, standing in front of this rotating display of Vincent’s various works, including this one entitled “The Yellow House,” at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam where the original painting is on display. June 10, 2018

Amsterdam is way too varied to cover in just one post so instead, I’ve provided little snippets of what I’ve had the opportunity to see…from the canals and bridges…which have names of their own…to the architecture and Red Light District, Amsterdam is jammed with a plethora of visions. Come take a look.

A canal in Amsterdam. June 11, 2018
A canal in Amsterdam…with bikes parked along the banks and house boats or boats moored along canal. June 11, 2018
A canal in Amsterdam…through a residential area on garbage pick up day. June 11, 2018
A canal in Amsterdam with views of the busy, traffic filled bridges that keep the city moving. June 11, 2018
A canal in Amsterdam…where people just sit to enjoy a beautiful day. June 11, 2018
A canal in Amsterdam. June 11, 2018
A canal in Amsterdam’s Red Light District. June 11, 2018
A canal in Amsterdam with a floating Flower Market. The Amsterdam Flower Market is said to be the only floating flower market in the world, and has existed since 1862. June 11, 2018
The clog and tulips, tulips and more tulips in bulb, plastic and real form also are a part of Amsterdam’s image along with the floating Flower Market where these can be purchased. June 11, 2018
A flower vendor at the Amsterdam Flower Market which is said to be the only floating flower market in the world has existed since 1862. June 11, 2018
The old and the new architecture along Damrak in Amsterdam. And through a renovated department store passageway is the main shopping street of Nieuwendijk. June 11, 2018
This arched passageway known as the Beurspassage on Amsterdam’s Damrak has been turned into a rather gorgeous art way. Made by artists Iris Roskam, Arno Coenen and Hans van Bentem, the title of this work “Amsterdam Oersoep” is a journey through the symbol of Amsterdam. June 11, 2018
Glass symbols of Amsterdam, in this case the clog, light up the walls of the art work entitled “Amsterdam Oersoep,” in a newly renovated passageway in Amsterdam. June 11, 2018
Glass symbols of Amsterdam, in this case the coat of arms, light up the walls of the art work entitled “Amsterdam Oersoep,” in a newly renovated passageway in Amsterdam. June 11, 2018
Glass symbols of Amsterdam, in this case a vase of tulips, light up the walls of the art work entitled “Amsterdam Oersoep,” in a newly renovated passageway in Amsterdam. June 11, 2018
These tall elegant gabled buildings with winches on top can be seen throughout Amsterdam. These winches are still used for lifting heavy or bulky items to the top floors. June 11, 2018
More tall elegant bagged buildings with winches on top in Amsterdam. June 11, 2018
More of Amsterdam and its beautiful architecture. June 11, 2018
The colorful buildings along the canal in Amsterdam. June 11, 2018
The modern or 1970s architecture of Amsterdam. June 11, 2018
Some buildings in Amsterdam look like they are leaning slightly forward, because they are. This helped when items clear the building while being lifted up to the top. June 11, 2018
Facing an Amsterdam canal aren’t just about the waterways but also the crammed buildings…in this case a church with the houses crammed lovingly together… with their own special hidden histories. June 11, 2018
I could not find the name of this female statue in Amsterdam, but love her proud stance taking in the beauty of the city around her. June 11, 2018
More of Amsterdam’s architecture. June 11, 2018
Colorful signs or plaques address the front of a number of Amsterdam buildings. June 11, 2018
Colorful signs or plaques address the front of a number of Amsterdam buildings. June 11, 2018
Colorful signs or plaques address the front of a number of Amsterdam buildings. June 11, 2018
This colorful sign or plaque on an Amsterdam building that can also be seen, in other versions and on other buildings in Amsterdam, is the coat of arms. The three vertical crosses supposedly come from St. Andrew, a fisherman who was martyred on an X-shaped cross in the 1st century AD. That became Amsterdam’s symbol as far back as 1505 when as a fishing town registered ships flew this flag. The coat of arms is also decorated with the Imperial Crown of Austria and two golden lions. June 11, 2018
This statue of Rembrandt van Rijn, the Danish painter, is featured in Rembrandtplein, a major square in central Amsterdam. Rembrandt owned a house nearby from 1639 to 1656. In 2006, as part of the celebration of the artist’s 400th birthday a bronze-cast representation of his most famous painting, “The Night Watch,” at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, was added and displayed in the square. June 11, 2018
This statue of Rembrandt van Rijn, the Danish painter, is featured in Rembrandtplein, a major square in central Amsterdam. Rembrandt owned a house nearby from 1639 to 1656. June 11, 2018
Windmills are an iconic part of the Dutch landscape, and I’ve only seen this one so far while riding on the bus and tram in Amsterdam. June 11, 2018
And, there’s also Amsterdam’s Red Light District, from a historical perspective with walking tour guide Kimberly and a walk through the district. The Oudekerksplein lies at the heart of the red-light district of De Wallen. Along the square are some a number of windows from behind which prostitutes offer their services. The statue Kimberly is standing next to is of Belle. The plaque on the statue reads: “Respect sex workers all over the world.”
The Oudekerksplein (“Old Church’s Square”) is a square in the centre of Amsterdam. It is named after the 14th-century church Oude Kerk which dominates the square. The Oude Kerk has been standing in central Amsterdam for almost 1000 years, making it the oldest building in the city. The church was originally Catholic, but was taken over by Protestants during the Reformation. June 11, 2018
One of many alleyways in the Red Light District in Amsterdam. The prostitutes rent the windows for about 150 euros for 8 hours in the Red Light District and charge customers about 50 euros for 15 minutes. June 11, 2018
One of many alleyways in the Red Light District in Amsterdam. The prostitutes rent the windows for about 150 euros for 8 hours in the Red Light District and charge customers about 50 euros for 15 minutes. June 11, 2018
A canal in Amsterdam’s Red Light District. June 11, 2018
One of many alleyways in the Red Light District in Amsterdam. The prostitutes rent the windows for about 150 euros for 8 hours in the Red Light District and charge customers about 50 euros for 15 minutes. There are three districts in Amsterdam and this one is in the De Wallen district. June 11, 2018

Amsterdam’s main transportation may be the bicycle since there are close to 900,000 of them… until it rains or gets stolen. And, that’s when I’m sure the oldest organized transport in Amsterdam, the tram, takes center stage.

Today was all about taking it easy and enjoying Amsterdam by way of its trams, in our case mainly the doubled-ended two cars in one, which criss cross the city are plentiful and truly easy to navigate. There’s something about seeing the city by its public transportation routes as its locals and tourists alike make their ways through the city.

On our first day in Amsterdam we bought a 24-hour pass, at a cost of 12.50 euros or $14.76 US dollars, that basically allowed us to ride all the transportation venues the trams, buses, metros, etc. We wanted to buy passes for our entire time in Amsterdam but for that you have to go to Amsterdam’s Central Station which we did yesterday and purchased a 72-hour pass for 17.50 euros or about $20.64 US dollars. That should get us through Thursday night because we leave Friday for our respective homes.

The Amsterdam tram network, considered the largest in the Netherlands, dates back to 1875. It’s also considered to be one of the largest networks in Europe. Since 1943, it has been operated by the municipal public transport operator GVB, which also runs the metro, bus and ferry services. Let’s see Amsterdam from its trams.

The trams are a fun and fast way to travel in Amsterdam so that’s what we did for a few hours this afternoon…rode the trams. This is me, Diana, in the middle of two trams, the #10, heading in opposite directions. June 12, 2018
Tammy, left, and Alice, right checking out Amsterdam during our hop-on/hop-off tram rides. June 12, 2018
Amsterdam sites from the tram. To the left is an Apple store. June 12, 2018
Amsterdam sites from the tram. June 12, 2018
Amsterdam sites from the tram. June 12, 2018
Amsterdam’s double-ended tram allows people to get on and off at different doors. By the door is a machine where you touch with your card to show that you’ve paid and off you go. June 12, 2018
A canal site from our double-ended tram ride. June 12, 2018
Amsterdam site from the double-ended tram ride. June 12, 2018
Inside a double-ended tram in Amsterdam. June 12, 2018
Amsterdam sites from our tram rides. June 12, 2018
In search of cheese, we got off the tram and did some walking. We came across this flower shop in a beautiful building in Amsterdam. June 12, 2018
The bike brigade along a street in Amsterdam from our walks between tram rides. June 12, 2018
We stopped at this lovely pastry shop, Hans Egstorf in Amsterdam, to get just a snack of pastry and walked into this cute little shop that overwhelmed us with its smell of fresh pastry. And, behind the counter was Hans himself, all smiles, just happy to serve the people coming in and out of his shop. June 12, 2018
Inside the baker shop of Hans Egstorf in Amsterdam are a variety of pastries including the stroopwafels. These are circular thin waffles cut down the middle with a light coating of caramel syrup. The stroopwafels in this photo are plain or without the caramel syrup in the middle. June 12, 2018
Me with our orders of stroopwaffle at the lovely pastry shop of Hans Egstorf in Amsterdam. The thin circular waffle is considered a major thing to eat when visiting Amsterdam and in my case, I wanted my stroopwaffle with chocolate…of course. Yum! June 12, 2018
Just love the architecture in Amsterdam. And, the color Amsterdam black can be seen on the exterior of many of the buildings in the city. June 12, 2018
Just love the architecture in Amsterdam. And, the color Amsterdam black can be seen on the exterior of many of the buildings in the city. June 12, 2018
Just liked the quirkiness of this building in Amsterdam. June 12, 2018
This piece of art graced a door on a building in Amsterdam. June 12, 2018
The Westertoren or tower of the Westerkerk church in the distance is the highest church tower in Amsterdam and can be distinguished by its Imperial Crown of Austria of Maximilian on the top. And, to the left is this elegant arcade of traditional Amsterdam shops and restaurants. June 12, 2018
Not sure who this creature from the deep is, but he makes his home next to a bridge over a canal in Amsterdam. June 12, 2018
The National Monument on Dam Square in Amsterdam is a World War II monument in remembrance to the casualties of World War II and subsequent armed conflicts. June 12, 2018
Back on the tram and we passed the Munttoren or Mint Tower in Amsterdam. It stands on the busy Muntplein square, where the Amstel river and the Singel canal meet, near the flower market. June 12, 2018
On the tram and passing this ornate lamp post on a bridge by the feature with street light lamp post by the Amsterdam Music Theater. June 12, 2018
The streets the trams in Amsterdam travel on are sometimes quite narrow and if you’re not aware of you’re surroundings, a tram can pass very closely by you. The same is true for trams passing one another. They pass within inches of one another. June 12, 2018
Inside the double-ended trams in Amsterdam are monitors that let you know the stops coming up. June 12, 2018
The sites of Amsterdam along the canal from the tram. June 12, 2018
I’ve seen this mural of “Carmen’s Food Corner,” while traveling on the #7 tram in Amsterdam and just loved it. The food has gotten good reviews and I don’t know if this mural is a part of this fast food restaurant or not but I just enjoyed seeing it every time, including this time, that I passed it on the tram. Just wish I had time to stop in and grab a bite to eat. June 12, 2018
A close-up of the mural at Carmen’s Food Corner in Amsterdam. June 12, 2018
Today when we boarded our tram to start our adventure, some pretty extensive work was being done on the tracks. But that didn’t stop the trams near our apartment in Amsterdam from running both ways. June 12, 2018
Tammy putting on the gloves to do a little cleaning up and Alice by the stove preparing tonight’s meal. I can’t believe this 30-something day trip will be coming to a close in just a couple more days. June 12, 2018

We left Amsterdam, just for the day, to check out Delft and The Hague. Both cities are within an hour’s train ride of Amsterdam.

The Old Town area of Delft makes for an easy stroll through picturesque canals. It would have been easy to spend the entire day here. We did see the Old and the New Churches, got to see a family run Delft porcelain shop and basically hung out where the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer did…although there were no real physical remnants of his home…when he lived, worked and died in Delft.

The Hague city center is just that, a city center. But located in that city center is the Mauritshuis museum. It holds some tremendous master pieces of art from Vermeer to Rembrandt…all without the crowds. It was such a pleasure to see and study these paintings without having to compete with dozens of on-lookers. Plus the museum itself, housed in a former Count’s residence, is a gorgeous example of Dutch architecture from the 1600s.

Tomorrow is our last full day in the Netherlands and our last full day of our trip so we’re devoting it to the city of Haarlem, just a 15 minute train ride from Amsterdam. On Friday, we each get on a plane to head to our respective homes. Alice to the Seattle, Washington, area; Tammy to Sydney, Australia; and me to Dallas, Texas.

But for now, here’s a bit of Delft and the marvelous Mauritshuis museum at The Hague.

The scenic canals of Delft, Netherlands. June 13, 2018
The scenic canals of Delft, Netherlands. June 13, 2018
The scenic canals of Delft, Netherlands. June 13, 2018
Scenic street and canal of Delft, Netherlands. June 13, 2018
The Town Hall in Delft, Netherlands, which is part of the Markt Square. The medieval town hall burned down in 1618. But this new one was completed in 1620. June 13, 2018
Several shops in Delft, Netherlands, manufacture and sell porcelain known as Delftware, hand painted blue and white pottery. Through the East India Co., the people of Delft were introduced to 17th century Chinese porcelain which they at first tried to imitate and in time perfected it to such a degree that it became known as Delftware. June 13, 2018
The Vermeer Centre in Delft, Netherlands, is an information center dedicated to the painter Johannes Vermeer and his contemporaries. It is the rebuilt version of the old local Guild of Saint Luke which represented painters, sculptors, and other visual artists but was demolished in 1876. June 13, 2018
The scenic canals of Delft, Netherlands. June 13, 2018
The Nieuwe Kerk or New Church in Delft, Netherland, located in the Market Square, was built between 1383 and 1510. June 13, 2018
The sculpture of Hugo Grotius, a founding father of modern international law, stands in the Market Square outside the Nieuwe Kerk or New Church in Delft, Netherland. Nieuwe Kerk was originally established in 1381 as St. Ursula’s Church. But during the reformation it was transformed into a Protestant Church which is how it got its present name “New Church.” Nieuwe Kerk was also the home of various Royal tombs and other famous personalities. June 13, 2018
Inside the Nieuwe Kerk or New Church in Delft, Netherlands.
Inside the Nieuwe Kerk or New Church in Delft, Netherlands, is the tomb of William the Silent
by Hendrick de Keyser. William is also known as William I, Prince of Orange (24 April 1533 – 10 July 1584), and even William the Taciturn or more commonly known as William of Orange (Dutch: Willem van Oranje). He was the main leader of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish Habsburgs that set off the Eighty Years’ War (1568–1648). He became Prince of Orange in 1544 and is thereby the founder of the branch House of Orange-Nassau and the ancestor of the monarchy of the Netherlands. Within the Netherlands he is also known as Father of the Fatherland. June 13, 2018
Inside the Nieuwe Kerk or New Church in Delft, Netherlands.The elaborate mausoleum in the Nieuwe Kerk was commissioned by the States General to commemorate Prince William of Orange, the ‘Father of the Fatherland’. It was built between 1614 and 1622. William was the founder of the House of Orange-Nassau and the first leader of the Dutch Revolt against the King of Spain. The Prince was assassinated in Delft on 10 July 1584. He was buried there because at that time the family vault of the House of Orange was in Breda, which was under Spanish occupation. The mausoleum was designed by Hendrick de Keyser, an internationally celebrated sculptor and architect in his day. It is constructed of three kinds of marble: black, Italian white from Carrara, and gold-veined black. June 13, 2018
A close-up of Prince William of Orange sculpture, part of his mausoleum, inside the Nieuwe Kerk or New Church in Delft, Netherlands. June 13, 2018
The medieval Oude Kerk or Old Church in Delft, Netherlands. The Old Church spire, which was built between 1325 and 1350 and is now being renovated. The Old Church is a Gothic Protestant church in the old city center and is most recognized by its more than 245 foot tall brick tower that leans a little more than six feet vertically. Native son and Dutch Master painter Johannes Vermeer, who specialized in domestic interior scenes of middle-class life, was born and died in Delft. Vermeer, who died a pauper, did not have his work recognized until well after his death. June 13, 2018
The interior of the Old Church in Delft, Netherlands. June 13, 2018
The first stained glass window was installed in the Old Church in Delft, Netherlands, in 1406, and more were added in the same century. But the city fire of 1536 and the Delft Thunderclap of 1654 (a gunpowder explosion) unfortunately destroyed them all. Plain glass replaced the originals, and it was not until the 20th century that new stained glass windows were installed, one by one. The church now features 27 of them, each telling their own story. This distinctive collection is regarded as the crowning achievement of the renowned glazier Joep Nicolas. The windows of the Old Church are extremely colourful, featuring ochre yellows, heavenly blues, deep reds and dark greens. Most of them depict Biblical stories, such as the Parable of the Prodigal Son, and the story of baby Moses. But there are also a number of interesting memorial windows, such as the Liberation window and the Wilhelmina window. June 13, 2018
A close up of the stained glass inside the Old Church in Delft, Netherlands. June 13, 2018
The Old Town of Delft, Netherlands, is very picturesque but just outside of the Old Town is a modern Delft. We’re taking this tram, first to the family run pottery shop of Delftse Pauw and from there onto The Hague, Netherlands. June 13, 2018
Inside the Delft, Netherlands tram. June 13, 2018
Suburban Delft, Netherlands along a scenic street named Delftwag. June 13, 2018
Suburban Delft, Netherlands along a scenic street named Delftwag. June 13, 2018
Jacqueline at the Delftse Pauw pottery shop in Delft, Netherlands, showing us how this family’s pottery is made. June 13, 2018
Jacqueline at the Delftse Pauw pottery shop in Delft, Netherlands, demonstrating how this family’s pottery is made. June 13, 2018
Just some of the blue and white pottery made and sold at the Delftse Pauw in Delft, Netherlands. June 13, 2018
Just some of the blue and white pottery made and sold at the Delftse Pauw in Delft, Netherlands. June 13, 2018
Just some of the blue and white pottery made and sold at the Delftse Pauw in Delft, Netherlands. June 13, 2018
On the tram to The Hague from Delft. From the left, Tammy, Alice and Diana. June 13, 2018
n the city center of The Hague, Netherlands, some 40 modern sculptures can be found along the sidewalks, like this one of the two women. June 13, 2018
Coming into The Hague, Netherlands, by tram and seeing what looks very much like a burgeoning city. June 13, 2018
Statue of William of Orange on Plein Square in The Hague, Netherlands. June 13, 2018
Statue of William of Orange on Plein Square in The Hague, Netherlands. June 13, 2018
The city of The Hague as seen from Plein Square in The Hague, Netherlands. June 13, 2018
The Mauritshuis museum (yellow building) at The Hague, Netherlands, was built between 1633 and 1644 as a residence for Count Johan Mauritshuis of Nassau-Siegel. He was a military commander and governor of the Dutch colony in Brazil for eight years. Since 1822 The Mauritshuis has been a museum for Old Masters from the Dutch Golden Age. June 13, 2018
“Spelled painting Campaspe” by Willem van Haecht dated around 1630 at the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague, Netherlands. June 13, 2018
Inside the beautiful Mauritshuis museum at The Hague, Netherlands. These stairs lead to the museum’s third floor. June 13, 2018
“Girl with a Pearl Earring” circa 1665 is Johannes Vermeer’s most famous painting at the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague, Netherlands. Vermeer, a Dutch painter who lived, worked and died a pauper in Delft, Netherlands, was recognized for his work years after his death. June 13, 2018
This posthumous portrait of Mary I Stuart (1631-1660) with a Servant was painted by Adriaen Hanneman (c.1604-1671) around 1664 and can be seen at the Mauritshuis museum at The Hague, Netherlands. This portrait which hangs to the right of the wall of the staircase intrigued me because I rarely see portraits of white women from the 1600s with a male black servant. Was this her way of acknowledging him or acknowledging her power and wealth over him. June 13, 2018
“Diana and her Nymphs,” circa 1653-1654 is another Johannes Vermeer painting at the Mauritshuis museum at The Hague, Netherlands. June 13, 2018
The third floor of the Mauritshuis museum at The Hague, Netherlands. June 13, 2018
A self-port of Rembrandt by Rembrandt circa 1669 at the Mauritshuis museum at The Hague, Netherlands. June 13, 2018
This painting at the Mauritshuis museum at The Hague, Netherlands, entitled “Two Moors,” dated 1661 is by Rembrandt. It definitely caught my attention for several reasons, the men are of African descent, their wardrobe and the crudeness or incompleteness of the painting. I don’t see many, if any, paintings of people of African descent by any artists from the 1600s so this one is rather unusual. June 13, 2018
“View of Delft” circa 1660 to 1661 by Johannes Vermeer at the Mauritshuis museum at The Hague, Netherlands. This is the most famous cityscape of the Dutch Golden Age. June 13, 2018
“Vase of Flowers in a Window,” by Ambrosius Bosschaert I, circa 1618 at the Mauritshuis museum at The Hague, Netherlands. June 13, 2018

We spent the last day of our trip in Haarlem, Netherlands, about a 15 minute train ride from Amsterdam. It turned out to be a cold, wet and dreary day but it was a fine ending to a 34-day trip for me and even longer for Alice and Tammy who began their travels visiting family and friends in Hong Kong before meeting me in Copenhagen, Denmark.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Haarlem, but I won’t hold the weather against it. In fact the weather during this trip has been as much of a highlight as the places we’ve seen and the things we’ve done. It was unexpectedly warm and sunny from day one in Copenhagen that lasted through most of our Germany tour and followed us through Luxembourg, Belgium and most of the time we’ve been here in the Netherlands. But as good as this trip and the weather has been, I’m also happy to get back home.

I can’t thank Alice and Tammy enough for being such kind and patient travel mates. As eager as I was to come on this trip, I also had my doubts as to whether I could keep up. But they made it easy and I so appreciate their kindness and support. I may have been just a little slower, but all things considered, I’m really proud of myself for managing as well as I did on this trip.

Tomorrow night, I’ll be back home…and by next week, planning my next trip. I’m feeling the draw of the African Continent. But for now, here’s Haarlem.

We’re standing in front of the Poffertjes Kraam food truck in Haarlem, Netherlands, just before enjoying our poffertjes which are small, fluffy pancakes, served with powdered sugar and butter or strawberries, bananas and whipped cream. The consensus about our poffertjes with powered sugar and butter…from Tammy, myself and Alice…they’re delicious even in the cold and rain. June 14, 2018
The train station in Haarlem, Netherlands, in addition to being a people mover, is a piece of art work unto itself. This current building and version of the train station was done between 1906 and 1908, even though the city has had a train station since 1839, and is the only train station in the Netherlands built in Art Nouveau style. June 14, 2018
The Art Nouveau style train station in Haarlem, Netherlands. June 14, 2018
The interior of the Art Nouveau style train station in Haarlem, Netherlands. This hallway reminded me of the New York City subway systems. I kept looking for the similarities of Harlem, New York, which got its named from Haarlem, Netherlands, but in all honesty, I could not see anything similar about these two cities. June 14, 2018
Art work on the entrance walls of the Art Nouveau style train station in Haarlem, Netherlands. June 14, 2018
The sculpture of a woman and man looking rather fierce and determined can be found by the Haarlem Train Station in the Netherlands. The woman, Keanu Simonsdochter Hasselaer (1526-1588), was a Haarlem wood merchant who became a legendary folk hero for her fearless defense of the city against the Spanish invaders during the siege of Haarlem from 1572 to 1573. And, the man, Wigbolt Ripperda (1535-1573), was the city governor of Haarlem when it was under siege by the Spanish army. The sculptor is by Haarlem resident, Graziella Curreli. June 14, 2018
Just liked the look of this building along a busy street in Haarlem, Netherlands. Love the “Trapgevel” or step gables on buildings I’ve seen here in the Netherlands. This style is characterised by a series of steps on each side rising to meet in the centre. This steps were often topped with white sandstone blocks. June 14, 2018
The front door to the home and museum of the ten Boom family in Haarlem, Netherlands. During World War II, the Ten Boom’s a Christian family open their home as a refuge, a hiding place for Jewish people being taken away by the Nazis in the Haarlem area. June 14, 2018
This photo on the living room wall of the Corrie Ten Boom House and Museum in Haarlem, Netherlands, are of the three ten Boom sisters: Betsie, Corrie and Nollie. Cornelia Arnolda Johanna, better known as Corrie, (1892-1983) was a Dutch watchmaker and Christian who, along with her father and other family members, helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II by hiding them in her closet. June 14, 2018
Casper ten Boom, the father of Betsie and Corrie ten Boom, was a Dutch Christian who helped many Jews and resisters escape the Nazis during the Holocaust of World War II. He ran a family watch shop on the corner of an alleyway and the main shopping street in Haarlem, Netherlands. For aiding the Jews and resisters, he was sent to Scheveningen Prison where ten days after the family was arrested, he died March 10, 1944 at age 84. June 14, 2018
The living room of the ten Boom house in Haarlem, Netherlands. June 14, 2018
More of the living room of the ten Boom house in Haarlem, Netherlands. June 14, 2018
More of the living room of the ten Boom house in Haarlem, Netherlands. June 14, 2018
This is Aty, a volunteer at the Corrie ten Boom House and Museum in Haarlem, showing our small group the false wall and hiding place in Corrie’s room where Jewish families hid from the Nazis of World War II until they could be smuggled to other families. In essence the home became a center for underground activities with a network of contacts that resulted in hundreds of lives being saved. June 14, 2018
These are Nazi ration coupons at the Corrie Ten Boom House and Museum in Haarlem, Netherlands. A fixed number of coupons were issued depending on the number of family members and were color coded for things such as meat, coffee, dairy, sugar, flour, eggs and clothing. June 14, 2018
The dining room of the Ten Boom house in Haarlem, Netherlands. June 14, 2018
The dining room of the Ten Boom house in Haarlem, Netherlands. June 14, 2018
The Alpina triangle, which the Ten Boom family would place in their jewelry shop window on Schoutensteeg in Haarlem, Netherlands, as an “all clear” sign in an effort to help many Jews and resisters escape the Nazis during the Holocaust of World War II. June 14, 2018
The Grote Markt or Big Market in Haarlem, Netherlands, is the central market square and centre-piece for many of Haarlem’s famous buildings, including the Great Church of St. Bavo, pictured here. First mention of a church at this location was in 1307, but the wooden structure burned down and was rebuilt in 1479. June 14, 2018
Another view of the Great Church of St. Bavo’s in Haarlem, Netherlands. The Reformed Protestant church and former Catholic cathedral is huge and along with the City Hall, are the two most prominent buildings in the Grote Markt or Great Market. June 14, 2018
On one side of the Great Church of St. Bavo’s in Haarlem, Netherlands, are these former fish halls, from the fish market days, built against the church dating from 1769. The former fish halls are now used for exhibiting modern art. The clock tower can also be seen from this angle. June 14, 2018
Another view of the Great Church of St. Bavo’s in Haarlem, Netherlands, with the former fish halls and the clock tower. June 14, 2018
Inside towards the nave of the Great Church of St. Bavo’s in Haarlem, Netherlands, is gorgeous organ which is blocked by the low hanging and gorgeous chandeliers. June 14, 2018
A close up of the main eye-catcher of the Great Church of St. Bavo’s in Haarlem, Netherlands is the impressive Christian Müller organ dating from 1738. It was played by G.F. Händel in 1740 and ’50, who travelled to Haarlem especially to play this organ and in 1766 10-year-old Mozart played on this organ as well. June 14, 2018
The medieval brass choir screen from 1517 to the back of the Great Church of St. Bavo’s in Haarlem, Netherlands. The floors inside the church consist mainly of gravestones, one of which is Frans Hals, a Dutch Golden Age portrait painter, who lived and worked in Haarlem. June 14, 2018
Frans Hals the Elder, the Dutch Golden Age painter, lived, worked and died in Haarlem, Netherlands. The 17th century group portraiture artist, is buried here, behind the choir gate of the Great Church of St. Bavo’s in Haarlem, Netherlands. June 14, 2018
The original wooden ceiling of the Great Church of St. Bavo’s in Haarlem, Netherlands. June 14, 2018
A street in Haarlem, Netherlands. June 14, 2018
A street in Haarlem, Netherlands. June 14, 2018
A street in Haarlem, Netherlands. June 14, 2018
A street in Haarlem, Netherlands. June 14, 2018
A street in Haarlem, Netherlands. June 14, 2018
A residential street in Haarlem, Netherlands. June 14, 2018
A Mexican food restaurant in Harlem, Netherlands, where we decided to have our group lunch. June 14, 2018
This is tortilla chips with the red salsa, mango-salsa and guacamole and at Popocatepetl The Mexican restaurant in Haarlem, Netherlands. If you’re a regular Tex-Mex connoisseur like I am, you usually get a bowl of chips and some dang good salsa. And, if you like guacamole, like I do, this is not guacamole. June 14, 2018
And, something I’ve never seen or had at a Mexican restaurant in Texas is a Chorizo Jalapeño Melt…basically a grilled cheese sandwich with cut up bits of chorizo sausage in the middle. This was my lunch at at Popocatepetl The Mexican restaurant in Haarlem, Netherlands. June 14, 2018
The City Hall in Haarlem, Netherlands, in the Grote Markt or Great Market is the seat of the city’s government and was built in the 14th century. June 14, 2018
The quiet canal street of Haarlem, Netherlands. June 14, 2018
The iron bridge over a canal in Haarlem, Netherlands. June 14, 2018