After spending most of the day in Haarlem, I’m now convinced that it is a much better place than Amsterdam in almost every way, unless you count massive quantities of stoned British soccer hooligans as an important part of your Rick Steves’ featureset.
I took the train from Amsterdam to Haarlem after spending a while trying to figure out the Dutch train schedule, which required the discovery of a WW2 enigma machine. It was only about 15 km away, so it was a short ride. The town of Haarlem itself was extremely nice, completely unlike the Harlem in New York.
I spent most of the day walking around with my camera and my iPod. I must have walked about 15 km around the city getting completely lost in little alleyways. I took a ton of pictures and have only had a short amount of time to process a few of them for now. These things take a while, since my workflow on these things is Sisyphusian at best.
The first picture below is of Grote Kerk. At the end of the church is a famous pipe organ that Mozart once played on as a child. The pipe organ is 100 feet high with over 5,000 pipes. I recommend the Large version on black.
This is a very nice little restaurant here in Amsterdam where you can dine underneath actual Rembrandt sketches. Most of the restaurant is underground, and there are little tiny rooms and nooks and crannies throughout.