We arrived Amsterdam Schiphol no problem on Monday morning 7/26 at around 9:30, got our stuff, and took the 300 bus to Haarlem, and walked a couple blocks to our apartment arriving about 11:30. Daniel and Monique, friends of the owner, were there to greet us and give us keys but the place wasn’t ready so we walked around the neighborhood. Haarlem was strangely dead – we couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Stores closed, restaurants shut up with chairs stacked and no one on the streets. It looked like the end of the world – everyone gone to the moon. Finally we found someone and asked where everyone was – she laughed and said “It’s Monday morning – everyone’s asleep!”. We’ve spent a lot of time in Haarlem but somehow didn’t know this.
Anyway at around 1 a few restaurants opened and people suddenly appeared and things got back to bustling normal. We had a nice lunch, and by then it was 2:30. The apartment was ready and Daniel and Monique were already gone. The apartment is perfect – only complaints are the store room for bikes is very small and there were only 2 tiny towels! We called Daniel and he immediately brought over 2 larger ones, which is plenty for us but we emailed Alena to be sure to bring 2 with her. Except for the small storeroom, the apartment is perfect – very open and spacious and only 2 blocks from the main square Grote Markt, but on a very quiet lane – Schagchelstraat – inside the Haarlem walking zone. Cars are only allowed before 9:30 in the morning – after that the posts go up and only locals with special cards can lower them. We made a trip to the grocery store, and then settled in for the night.
This morning we set off to go pick up our bikes – as we were leaving we saw people moving in to the place a few doors down – they have their own way of doing things in Holland. We took the train to Beverwijk and then the walk to Ernst’s shop (that’s Ernst van Zijl at Rijwielhandel van Tunen). He had our bikes all tuned up and ready to go. He’s been a great friend and resource for all things biking. He told us that now 1 out of every three bikes sold in Holland are e-bikes! He had a lot of e-bikes all lined up – Kalkhoffs and Gazelles and others. We bought a couple of extra locks to be extra secure this trip and quickly got on our way.
This is the third time so we know the drill by now. We took the familiar ferry across the Noord-Zee Kanaal and then on through Ijmuiden and Druishuis to the LF1 bike trail through the National Park Zuid Kennamerland. There was a tremendous storm the day before we arrived in Holland and although all the big trees had already been cleared there were still many smaller trees in the trail. We had a very pleasant ride home – it’s well marked and we didn’t even get lost even though we didn’t have a good map. Had another fine lunch in the Grote Markt. We did manage to get the bikes in the store room and put them off to the side as much as possible.