Tag Archives: Haarlem

Haarlem and a detour to Zandvoort beach

After nine years of owning a car, I’ve forgotten train journeys. While I’ve travelled further and farther, the places close by became unfamiliar, especially those that were too close by car and a bit too far to bike leisurely—which is pretty much most of the country beyond the city reaches.

It occurred to me that I’ve either passed by or barely passed through Haarlem almost always to get to either Zandvoort or the Bloemendaal beach. So, I set out to explore this tiny city/town and was not disappointed.

I got down at the station, which was vast and seemingly uncrowded.

The dissonance caused by architecture that felt quintessential and familiarly Dutch and yet truly unfamiliar, was striking

The city center filled me with a sense of calm a stark contrast to the bustling city of Amsterdam that I just left behind.

After walking for hours, I couldn’t shake the urge to go to the beach, which was just a stone’s throw away. I took the bus to Haarlem centraal and got onto a train to Zandvoort.

While the beach was deserted by the usual standards of its use, I turned out to be not the only crazy one to brave chilly and windy weather for a glimpse of the ocean.

Walking on an empty beach, soaking in the smell of the sea while washed over with wild winds, left my soul cleansed. The bubble around me, growing over the years, eroded away. The cloak fell down, my mind unbound, my soul unwound, and I felt free.

Standing tall as a sentinel is this residential building, which always evokes an urge to buy an apartment and become a hermit, living the rest of my days in solitude, staring at the sea. Alas, that is not for me; I need the company of people and the energy that comes from bit of the hustle & bustle of a city, or even a small town.

Watching surfer-boarders trying to catch waves and kite surfers taming the winds serves as a reminder that there is a more emphatic version of “being on the beach” than mine, which is relatively meek.

Sitting in an empty beach shack and sipping hot chocolate, watching the waves while away from the wind, was the icing on the evening I didn’t know I needed


I passed by this pretty little dutch down several times, but did not get a chance to explore it until a week back, when a few Russian friends who lived there, invited me over, on a sunny sunday for some lunch and talk and long walk along the country side. This is one town, I wouldn’t mind living in, for its just 10 minutes away from the beach.