Today I left Amsterdam and boarded a train to Haarlem, a town just west of Amsterdam. (When the Harlem in New York was named, New York was New Amsterdam.) The Dutch version is a lovely, quaint town that was enjoyable to walk around. I visited several sights that are worth mentioning. Corrie Ten Boom was a woman who lived in Haarlem during WWII and she worked with the Resistance and hid Jews from the Nazis. She was eventually caught, but survived the Ravensbruck concentration camp and then wrote a book (The Hiding Place) that tells the story of how she and her family hid fugitives behind a false wall. She is credited with saving over 800 lives and I was touched to be able to tour the house and see the hiding place. The false wall has been opened up so you can see inside, but the original entrance was the sliding door in the bottom shelf on the left. As a “coffee break” today I had hot chocolate and it was served somewhat differently. I got a mug of hot milk and spoon with a solid piece of chocolate attached to it. I then had stir the spoon in the
milk until the chocolate melted. It tasted good and I savored it while eating a slice of Dutch apple pie. I visited the Grote Kerk (big church) which has one of the world’s largest pipe organs. Mozart played this organ and it is impressive to see. I toured the Franz Hals Museum to see his paintings. He was a citizen of Haarlem back in the 1700s. Frankly, I think the Rijksmuseum has a better selection of his work. The last thing I did was tour a windmill. This is a modern reconstruction of a working windmill and it was interesting to see the big wooden gears, etc, but the best part was how “Dutch” it looks from across the river.