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4/24 - Noordwijkerhout to Haarlem - Today was the warmest we've seen -

in the 60s by noon and sunny all day. We started the morning cycling through flower fields

then into the woods for quite a while, then about 25 kilometers through dunes to the beach

resort of Zandvoort. From there we turned inland to Haarlem, our destination for the night.

                   

All around the church in Noordwijkerhoot were prize winning flower designs.

ABOVE, left - Daffodil and hyacinth petals made up these cupcakes which seemed

to be a tribute to the soon-to-be-retired Queen Beatrix

Below, middle - This one with cake and champagne was all made of hyacinth petals

It was sort of like seeing the Rose Parade floats, but smaller.

Below, right - Daffodil fields - these were really fragrant

                   

Below, left - Welcome to the never-ending fields of flowers! Daffodils here.

Below, middle - Pink field of tulips - actually they were white with red edges,

so the colors combined to look pink.

Below, right - Yellow and white daffodils. The section on the left

is just beginning to open. Blue hyacinths in the background

                   

Below, middle - Ready to enter the woods and the dunes

                   

Below, left - Judith on hard-packed path through the woods

Below, middle - Bike path in the dunes

Below, right - View of flower fields from up on the dunes

                   

Below, left - No Judith, don't ride into the North Sea!!!

Below, middle - Map of one of the beaches along the route - not far from the town of Zandvoort

Below, right - Judith going up the sand dune to check out the beach

                      

Below, middle - Miles and miles of beach like this one stretched along our route

                   

Below - The Grote Kerk (Great Church) of St. Bavo in Haarlem was built over a 150 year

period (1390-1540) in the late Gothic style of red & gray brick, topped with a slate-

covered wood roof and stacked tower bearing a golden crown and rooster weathervane.

The base of the church is surrounded by shops - selling jewelry, souvenirs, ice cream,

haircuts and artwork in the colonnaded former fish market. Since these shops are connected

to the cathedral, they are church-owned and rented out to bring in some extra cash.

                   

The original stone tower crowned the church until 1530 when the church began

to sink under it's weight. The tower was removed and replaced by the lighter,

lead-covered-wood version we see today.

The church is 240 feet in length and 260 feet in height, and is visible

for miles around, rising above the flat plain that surrounds it.

                   

Finished in 1738, the organ features a mahogany-colored casing with tin pipes and

gold trim, studded with statues of musicians and an eight-piece combo of angels.

Lions at the top hold Haarlem's coat of arms. There are larger organs in the world,

but this is one of the best with 5068 pipes and 30m (100 feet) high.

In 1766, 10 year old Mozart played a concert on this organ.

Interior of Grote Kerk. The simple white walls, black floor, brown wood ceiling

and mahogany-colored organ make this spacious church feel vast, light & airy.

Below, middle - Ceiling at the central crossing of the church where all sides of the

church come together. The large clock actually was running and had the correct time.

                   

Above, right - This stained-glass window, "Peace and Tolerance"

was unveiled by Queen Beatrix in 2008

Below, left - Another beautiful contemporary stained-glass window

Below, middle - The fan-vaulted cedar ceiling is from 1530. The black floor

is paved with 1500 gravestones. The choir's floor holds the grave

of Frans Hals, Haarlem's master artist of the Golden Age

                   

Above - Three ships hanging from the ceiling were a gift from the Shipbuilders Guild.

They date from the 16th and 17th centuries and are modeled on ships built in Haarlem at the time

Below, left - The pulpit is borne on eagles' wings (the eagle being the symbol of St John the Evangelist),

and its brass rails are decorated with snakes, symbolizing Satan's flight before the Word of God.

Below, right - City Hall in Haarlem

                   

Below, left - Cafe building on the Grote Markt Square. Ten streets converge

to form this square and make it Haarlem's centerpiece.

 Below, right - Laurens Janszoon Coster statue. He was an inventor of a printing press

from Haarlem. He is holding the typeset letter A in his hand.

                   

Below, middle - Wonderful stair-stepped facade on this building in Netherlands

Below, right - We stayed at the Ambassador Hotel directly

across from the church and we were in the "Egyptian Room".

                   

Below - We found a quirky vegetarian restaurant for dinner in Haarelm,

"Vlam in de Pan" and the meal was one of the best we've had in Holland!