on tuesday i boarded a train for haarlem and went to meet angeline. she had written me while i was still at home in LA and invited me to her home for lunch. being the curious hungry cat i am, i couldn't resist the opportunity for A. a homecooked dutch meal and B. a chance to peek inside a dutchwoman's home. She gave me her address and i decided to take the train to haarlem then figure out the bus route that would land me closest to her house. i love public transportation puzzles and since i don't travel with a phone it adds an additional bit of old-fashioned mystery. would i make it there by the proposed time or would i find myself going the wrong direction deep into the belgian countryside?
the no. 14 bus only ran once per hour so i decided to take a taxi. her house is perhaps 10 minutes from the train station so the taxi was a good option. i could have pedaled there of course on a rented bike, but my need for adventure alas does not extend towards physical exertion.
i arrived in late morning and angeline set about preparing tea & coffee in big floral cups. and. there were cookies.
i asked if i could take a few photos so DFLA readers could get a peep inside a dutch home. angeline graciously consented.
angeline lives here with her husband and 2 teenage daughters. her neighborhood is made up of what we call in the u.s., townhomes. single homes that are joined to one another by a common wall. her house is narrow, but tall, with 3 floors which are connected by an impossibly steep and narrow staircase. here. let me show you what i mean:
due to my lithe and graceful build i had no trouble whatsoever ascending and descending. piece of cake. ahem... but seriously i did think that with time one could get quite used to them. rather like one gets used to living with a bunion.
here i believe angeline was describing to me how often she goes up and down the stairs in a given day.
no actually she was telling me about her middle floor studio. a light-filled room with big windows looking out on the front street. these are just some of the many stacks of handmade books that rested on her shelves.
at my request she gathered up a pile and ferried them back down the stairs in true mountain goat style. it took all of my powers of concentration not to miss a step and tumble down after her. but i didn't! score one for the big american!
i settled into the big wooden dining table, sipped tea and turned the pages of her travel journals. such meticulous books filled with writing, photos, ephemera, and momentos of her trips. i was utterly charmed. how fun it is to thumb through someone else's journals.
while i lolled about being nosy angeline repaired to the kitchen and prepared luscious meatball soup. she also rolled out dough and put small mounds of spinach and blue cheese in the center, sliced dutch cheese, put bread in a basket, set out a bowl of tomatoes, whipped vegetables and another kind of cheese into a dip. although the expression on my face indicates otherwise, i was in true paradise.
i savored every delicious bite!
afterwards i popped back up and went out back to the small garden for more photos. i may have rummaged through a few cabinets, i can't remember.
the opportunity to meet angeline in her home will remain a highlight of my first trip to the netherlands that i won't soon forget. if you want to poke through her life some more you can visit her blog HERE. meeting her was especially delightful since outside of the uk, canada, and australia the majority of my foregin readers hail from the netherlands! i regret not having the time to meet more of you while i'm here. next time!
now let's check out haarlem shall we?
one thing that makes walking in the netherlands such a pleasure is how flat flat flat it is! not a single hill that i've seen so far. the walking is easy and covering a lot of ground is a breeze. i motored all over haarlem. there is plenty to see. there is a maze of small canals and medieval houses that make for plenty of scenic meandering. my photos are actually poor representations of all the beauty i absorbed. it was difficult to capture and after awhile i quit trying.
i made time for some browsing, but did no real shopping. i was content to take in all of the richness with just my eyes. of course i didn't come back to amsterdam empty handed! i did manage to find a bright green pair of reading glasses and a sweet floral piece of oilcloth that will go on my table back at moss cottage.
i don't see how it's possible, but the gorgeous dutch brick architecture is even more lovely and different than in amsterdam. i wish i knew what the correct term for it was. if you're dutch and happen to know please do enlighten me. i have no time for googling and would prefer to hear straight from "the horses mouth" so to speak. hmmmmm. that sounds rude, but i assure you it is not meant to be!