Netherlands
Spaarne

Here you’ll find travel reports about Spaarne. Discover travel destinations in the Netherlands of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

5 travelers at this place:

  • Day3

    Haarlem

    August 1, 2017 in the Netherlands

    Fifteen minutes west of Amsterdam by train is a small town called Haarlem. It's a mini Amsterdam with less canals. We spent a few hours just wandering around the town.

  • Day42

    Sunday Fun Day Continued

    October 15, 2017 in the Netherlands

    After the canal tour, wandered a bit. Had a drink and tried some bitterballen (kind of like arancini risotto balls but with quite a firm, deep fried, breaded outside). Served with purple-ish mustard. Nice enough but haven't had enough to really pass judgment.

    Next up, a stop at the Chocolate Company cafe for cake, apple pie and coffee. We were tempted by the Hot Choc spoons, but decided no (basically a wedge of chocolate on a spoon in a bunch of flavours that you then submerge in hot milk). Also reluctantly decided against chocolate fondue option.

    Then what better way to finish our day (and our time in Haarlem) than a drink and nachos (delicious) at the board game cafe. This time we tried TIME Stories, billed as a mix of board and role playing game. Not sure it really succeeded at either. Fiddly to set up and play and just wasn't particularly enjoyable. Also less replay value than normal. But hey, might be OK one day - just not high on our list.

    Ascension was fun though - played again and this time Radi won (convincingly).

    Then home to pack for the train to Berlin! We'll miss you Haarlem!
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  • Day38

    The "Haarlem Globe Trotters"

    October 11, 2017 in the Netherlands

    To the bakery (Utopie) to get breakfast (black bread and coffee), lunch on the train (sandwiches), bread and dessert for later (coffee eclair and lemon tart). Yum.

    Then packed (in 15 minutes - talk about efficient/we'd barely unpacked to begin with) and to Gare du Nord station via the metro. Isses with collecting the tickets (currently grumpy with Westpac) but managed to make the train thanks to very nice and helpful staff.

    Nice train ride and 3 hours later we arrived in Amsterdam. Struggling with the language but most people speak good English anyway. Semi figured out the transport system so decided to buy their OV card (contact-less Oyster/Snapper equivalent). They last 4 years so let us know if anyone is going to Amsterdam and wants to borrow them for transport!

    Then a short ride (15min) on a double decker train to Haarlem. Looks pretty cute so far. Found the airbnb place, lovely hosts! An older retired couple - wife a talented artist and husband a local music event organiser. We were shown her art studio (very intricate work with heat and vacuum equipment - gave us a whole new appreciation for how much work is involved in restoring old paintings). Also told us a bit about his NZ family connection and a bit on the history of the house.

    The place is very old (16th century), and when they were refurbishing it they discovered a cellar with a door to the street (despite being below street level). After a bit of investigating, they found out that the cellar is from when the street was a canal and barges used to deposit their goods here. Very interesting - plus the house is definitely charming (with some steep stairs)!

    Did some groceries, then settled in for a quiet evening. Looking forward to speculoos spread and exploring Amsterdam tomorrow morning!
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  • Day41

    Games Galore!

    October 14, 2017 in the Netherlands

    After the museum, walked to a souvenir shop to buy a Christmas ornament (resting temptation to buy many other cool knick knacks). Ended up at the Boardroom - a board game café  (like Counter Culture in Wellington). Heaps of fun. They use a Catan-based difficulty rating - from 0.5x Catan up to 3x Catan. If you're not familiar with Settlers of Catan then this scale would be relatively meaningless.

    Had some beer (NZD$4), including a nice dark bock beer. And popcorn and tea and hot chocolate. We played Elder Sign first - a cooperative survival game with a Cthulu/H.P. Lovecraft-type horror theme. Vaguely dice rolling based. Intimidating at first, with a big rulebook (3x Catan) but we figured it out without too much bother and had a blast. Managed to beat the easiest monster (with only minimal cheating). Yay.

    Then moved on to Ascension - yet another deck building game like Marvel or DC (1x Catan). Wade had played on his phone, but was good to try in real life. Good fun and easy to learn.

    After that, a quick stop at the supermarket for supplies (including a gluten free beer for about $1.60).
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  • Day6

    Haarlem

    February 18, 2017 in the Netherlands

    We didn't sleep well due to the laundry. We woke up late-ish but made our goal of being out the door by 9am. We got some overpriced pastries and coffees from a bakery. We caught the train to Haarlem (17 euro roundtrip for both, which took only 20min. It was very easy. We walked to Molen de Adriaan, a windmill that I had read about. We took a simple guided tour there for 3.50euro per person. It was a great tour. The people who worked there were just sitting around before we got there, and they were happy to show us around. The tour lasted an hour and involved a lot of climbing but it was really informative and we learned a lot. Unfortunately it wasn't a clear day when we were up top so we couldn't see much of Haarlem but still worth doing. I had no idea windmills were used for so many things. This particular one was used for grinding corn among other things. The windmill burned down and was rebuilt in 1999 so it felt very safe inside. After some selfies with the windmill, we walked through the Grote Markt, a large street market similar to the Albert Cuypmarkt. We bought lunch of a mushroom arrancini, doner kebabs, and a stroopwaffel. We bought Maggie some moccasins because she had only been wearing socks up until this point (doesn't normally wear shoes at home because they fall off), and they were a great investment. We stopped for coffee and sat outside under some heat lamps at the Lima Cafe. Service could've been better for sure!

    Went to the Grote Kerk and did a self-guided tour. We spent about a half hour there. It was interesting but very cold inside. Next, we walked a few blocks to the Jopenkerk, a brewery inside of an old church. Great beer but slow service (apparently a common theme for Haarlem). Inexpensive for what we got though. Maybe we were sitting in a bad spot and the bartenders couldn't see us. We took the train back to Amsterdam at 5:15.

    We got dinner at Fou Fow Ramen in the Jordaan area near our apt. It was so busy every time we walked by but we were lucky to get a table. The food was great and fast. We luckily got there at a good time because as we were leaving, the line was out the door.
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Spaarne

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