Saturday, June 19, 2010

To Market To Market

Today, I took a quick bus ride to Haarlem. I had heard that there was a market there on Saturdays, and having  gotten lost there last night coming from Tierney's Irish Pub, I felt that I should go and have a look around. Being able to successfully navigate from the city centre to the bus station in the dead of night however, didn't preclude the possibility of getting lost again.

So, I jumped on the bus outside my door, and took the bizarrely short journey from Heemstede to Haarlem. Seeing stalls by the roadside, I wrongly presumed that I had already hit the city centre. The fact that I had travelled a distance roughly equivalent to that of a journey from DCU to IKEA should have tipped me off. Though while what I had found was not the market I was looking for, it was still a market. Browsing the stalls I found only artwork, antiques and cutlery. Nothing to really interest me, I decided instead to get lost in a more northern direction.

Walking along one of the many canals in Heemstede, I came across a store which dealt exclusively with scale models of cars. I had a wander around in it, looking at some of the very impressive models. They seemed to have a scale miniature of every car imaginable. Not only Ferraris and other supercars, but several varieties of Honda Civic. The detail on some of the models was breathtaking, one model of a BMW 7 Series looked as if they had assembled it to the same plans as it's larger brother, using smaller parts. Needless to say, the price reflected the work.

From here I lost myself in a more westerly direction, looking over rooftops for the spire of the cathedral I'd passed on the way to Tierney's pub. While searching I began to pass some innocuous looking buildings framed in crimson lanterns. Remembering that I'd spotted some similar lanterns near aforementioned pub, I headed to the end of the alley and rounded the corner. Sure enough, I found myself right where I'd left from the night before. Retracing my steps brought me right to the cathedral and the market I'd come looking for to begin with.

The market itself was of a decent size; They sold hats, clothes, food and leathers. Much of what you can find in any street market in Europe. I didn't see anything that interested me, though I'll be sure to take another look next week. I checked out the high street while I was at it. Nothing particularly interesting to find, though I did manage to catch the end of the Netherlands v Japan match in an electronics store. I also found a post office, which should be useful in future.

After getting lost some more around the city centre, I found myself heading back towards the train station to catch a bus. Just a few feet from the train station, however, I stumbled across a game store. Walking in I found it packed with board games of all types, some in English. Collectible card games, chess boards, card shufflers, RPG source books, lots of toy soldiers though all Games Workshop and a large, very expensive set of Mah Jong. After wandering around it for a while, the owner let me have a look through the new Warhammer Fantasy Battle rulebook. Which was nice of him. I'll have to revisit it in the near future.

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