Monday, October 27, 2008

Netherlands Open Air Museum

9-30-08 Arnhem to Haarlem

We wake up to rain, our good, clear weather has finally run out. And of course it rains when we want to visit an outdoor museum. We walk down the 3 flights of stairs to Margot’s ‘in kitchen’ dining room for breakfast. She pulled out all the stops for her great breakfast, we didn’t know where to start. There was granola, milk, drinkable yogurt, regular yogurt, a huge basket of all kinds of warm breads, jams, butters, a platter of 3 different kind of lunchmeats and 2 cheeses, a basket of wedge spreadable cheeses, a bowl of strawberries, soft boiled eggs, coffee, hot chocolate, and OJ. YUM – our best breakfast yet and we stuffed ourselves. We were glad to have such a bellyful knowing we would be walking the museum all day.

We thanked Margot for her hospitality and drive the 2 km to the Netherlands Open Air Museum. This museum is a collection of historic buildings from all areas of the Netherlands, relocated to this wooded park to form it’s own little village. The buildings included mostly farm homes, windmills, businesses, a train station, a doctor’s office, blacksmith, milk and cheese factory, brewery, all from different eras depicting the lifestyle from that time. The center of the town are buildings converted that are now used as a bakery and restaurants to buy food. Some of the buildings had people dressed in period dress that would answer questions, it was very interesting talking to them. Other buildings were well signed in several languages explaining their history or function.

Typical buildings in the Open Air Museum

We also took the little old fashioned tram that circles the whole town, for the round trip tour. The rain fell gently all day as we toured the whole museum for 4 hours. By this time, we were cold, damp, and ready to eat something light. We went back to the cafeteria near the entrance and had a bowl of soup and shared a sandwich.

The tram and the resident gnomes. The big gnome in black was cold!

Today's photos from the Open Air museum

Back on the road for the rainy, 2 hour drive past Amsterdam to our next 3 night stay in Haarlem. We find our B&B easily, located right on a canal in the middle of town. We luck out and grab a parking space on the street right out front.

Our Haarlem B&B, on the third floor, but in the back.

Inge greets us and shows us our room, up 3 very steep staircases. It is a beautiful, comfy room with 2 twin beds, a dining table, microwave & coffee making supplies, internet access. One whole wall is windows so we have a great view of the neighborhood and interesting rooftops. It is raining hard as we unload our luggage and Inge explains the parking meters to us. Our jaws drop as she tells us it is E2.50 an hour from 9am-11pm for a total of E35 a day just to park anywhere in the town of Haarlem!!!!! She suggested maybe trying one of the many hotel parking garages, as they have cheaper rates. A Carlton Hotel was around the corner, so we talk to the parking attendant and learn they have a weekly parking pass for E35 – much better than paying the E105 we would've had to pay to park on the street. Plus the car is in an indoor, security garage, we’ll check on it from time to time. We don’t plan on moving it at all the next 3 days because everything is walkable and we are taking the train into Amsterdam. We feel better now after the initial shock of parking prices wear’s off - LOL! Went to the ATM, and notice it is across the street from the cannabis shop, ha ha!

As soon as we entered both Arnhem and Haarlem, we notice just about everyone of every age is on 2 wheels . . . bicycle or scooter. All the roads have an excellent bicycle lane system so that the bikes and cars don't share the road except in interesections. Everywhere you look are bike parking lots and racks. Bikes have every kind of basket or child seats attached. We've seen other bikes with large wooden boxes built onto the front, holding a weeks worth of groceries, dogs, kids . . . you name it. One thing though, no one wears a helmet. When walking, you've not only got look out for the cars but the bikes as well, they go fast on their way to work or home.

Laundry time! We walk the ½ km to the Laundromat in the rain, checking out all the restos along the way thinking ahead for dinner. The Laundromat was spotless with an attendant on duty to help us figure out the confusing pay & token machines – good thing she was still there before she left for the day.

Started our laundry and so did the weird, bizarre side show. First, there was an old woman doing her laundry, dressed strange with lots of make up, messy hair, that was slightly crazy and saying weird things to everyone. Then we heard a loud crash just outside the door, we turn to see a BMW SUV out front with people inside, with a bicycle crashing from the top of the car, down to the hood and then to the ground. A deranged looking, shaggy middle aged man was standing next to the bike. At first we thought the car hit him while riding, but then we realize the weirdo was mad and threw the bike onto the car in anger and walked away. The shocked driver sat there at first and then just drove away, never getting out to see if he had any damage to his car. Then the weirdest of all – we start to hear glass breaking nearby. We look out the laubdromat door to see some crazy person smashing and breaking out all of his upper windows about 4 doors down. It sounded like he was using a hammer, glass flying everywhere on the parked cars, sidewalk, & street below. People walking and biking all around stopped in their tracks, in shock, to see the spectacle. Was this the same weirdo man who threw the bike at the beemer? It went on for a couple of minutes, looked like a guy from the resto across the street called police and we stayed inside out of the way. OK this town seemed so quaint and neat as a pin but now I think there has been too much legal pot smoking going on – LOL!

We gather our laundry, and head across the street to an Italian resto recommend by Rick Steves. Terry got mushroom pizza, me ricotta tortellini – just OK. It’s raining hard as we walk back to the B&B to settle in for the evening.

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