Great Place for a Romantic Getaway
The landlady, Mrs. vanTaarling, greeted us not only with a warm and friendly manner, but also with a welcoming gift of a bottle of wine. When she saw that we were traveling without a car, she even offered to take us to the airport for our return trip to the States.
The apartment is spacious, comfortable and well-equipped with everything you need to feel at home – cable TV, laundry, internet, stove, fridge, cooking utensils, etc. Whatever you need is here. There are also manuals for the various euro gadgets. The manuals are written in Dutch, French and German. Fortunately, my wife and I speak German and French, so we were able to navigate the washer/dryer, microwave, and two coffee machines. If you only know English, however, don’t expect to make much sense of the hieroglyphs. The machines here are very different from the ones we’re used to in the States. Google’s literal word-for-word translator could cause you to start an international incident, so you’re best off just asking Mrs. vanTaarling how to work all the gismos in the apartment. There’s a separate bath and shower. The bathtub is huge – perfect for an evening candle light bath.
Haarlem has all the charm of a 17th century European city without the crowds of unwashed tourists. It is full of quaint boutiques, outdoor cafes, historical architecture, and fantastic local cuisine such as the Indonesian rijst tafel, which is rice with 15 – 20 little dishes each with a distinctive explosion of flavor. The typical western meal has only 3 flavors: meat, starch and veg. After the first taste, your taste buds dull, and you lose the high of the initial flavor. A rijst tafel, in contrast, keeps your taste buds active with small portions of many different flavors. The best rijst tafel in town is at De Lachende Javaan at Frankenstraat 27. Make sure to order your rijst tafel with the local silky smooth beer or “pils.”
Bicycles are an extension of the Dutch soul. There are cyclists and cycle paths everywhere. We rented bikes and biked on this neat bike path through forest and sand dunes from Haarlem to Zandvoort on the coast. Make sure to rent at least 3-speed bikes. You’ll need a few gears to bike over the dunes and into the coastal wind.
All told, our stay in Haarlem at Twijnderslaan 3 was the perfect way to spend our 25th anniversary.
Tourists without a Car,
Helpful votes: 6/6
Did you find this review helpful?