Friday, May 13–Up early, we drive to Haarlem from the south which we’d never done before. What a mess! Lost, and looping around the same streets 3 times! Never again! Once we found Marktplatz and our hotel, which is inaccessible by car because it’s in the market square, we drove into the underground parking facility–only to find it locked up tight due to construction. Apparently, the locals removed the barriers and sat outside the local cafes drinking beer and laughing at the cars trying to park in the lot. The registrar at the hotel helped me drag our suitcases to the Hotel Frans Hal while Skip parked the car 2 blocks away. We had a very nice dinner in the Café Frans Hals (see a pattern here? Frans Hals was a Master Painter from Haarlem), and went to bed. Unfortunately, Haarlem does NOT go to bed on Friday nights and they partied in the streets and alleyways until 4am. I’ll probably not be going back to Haarlem any time soon.....
Saturday, May 14–After 2 hours sleep, we awake to a broken hairdryer, a breakfast room that won’t open until after we leave (not even for coffee!), so we jump in the car and head for Schiphol Airport stopping for breakfast along the way, turn in the car, go through extensive security–twice, and board our plane. Change planes in Philadelphia, arrive at Greater Pittsburgh Airport, pick up car and drive home. The most marvelous thing about Pittsburgh is the approach from the airport–the road goes through the mountain via the Ft. Pitt Tunnel and when you explode back into daylight the city is Right. There. In. Front. Of. You.
Due to the extremely rainy spring we’ve had, the grass had grown in our absence. We decided to rename our house The Hayfield.
So good to have seen old friends, made new friends, walked in marvelous cities, tasted wondrous food, and found one of my ancestral homes. But Pittsburgh? I was born a Yinzer and this is where my heart will always be at home.
Next: Some Swedish wool breeds and how they spin up