Light rail alone the Jaffa Road, Jerusalem

Light rail along the Jaffa Road, Jerusalem

The modern city of Jerusalem

The modern city of Jerusalem

It was fun to leave the old, walled city of Jerusalem and explore a bit in the modern era!  Audrey and I walked up the Jaffa Road to the Jewish market, Mahane Yehuda.  What a vibrant place!  It reminded me of Seattle’s Pike Place Market, but with more energy.  From there, we wandered, mapless, on the residential streets of the earliest Jewish immigrants to Jerusalem.  There was always something interesting to see, whether people, cats, or architectural elements.

Along the Jaffa Road (these buildings reminded my of New Orleans)

Along the Jaffa Road (these buildings reminded me of New Orleans)

Olive vendor in the Jewish market

Olive vendor in the Jewish market

Tea stall, Mahane Yehuda

Tea stall, Mahane Yehuda

Kippas for sale

Kippas for sale

Mahane Yehuda market, Jerusalem

Mahane Yehuda market, Jerusalem

A peak into the entry way of an apartment in a Jewish residential area

A peak into the entry way of an apartment in a Jewish residential area

Grillwork on window

Grillwork on window

Overflow from a crowded synagogue, Jerusalem

Overflow from a crowded synagogue, Jerusalem

Using a balcony for storage, Jaffa Road, Jerusalem

Using a balcony for storage, Jaffa Road, Jerusalem

Barge on the River Spaarne, Haarlem

Barge on the River Spaarne, Haarlem

Don’t you love it when you travel to a foreign country and it actually looks and feels exotic and different from your accustomed surroundings?  When I was in Haarlem I felt immediately that I was in Europe.  The houses, buildings, canals, narrow stone streets, doors and windows, sidewalk cafes — everything exuded Old World charm.

Spring in Holland was at least a month behind Seattle’s, and though I was looking for tulips, I saw only snowdrops and crocuses and a few yellow daffodils.  I had planned on renting a bike and touring the countryside near Haarlem, but it was too cold (reached freezing overnight) so I spent my 1-1/2 days there simply walking.  And that was a delightful way to spend my time.  The AirBnB home where I stayed was a 45-minute walk along the River Spaarne from central Haarlem.

Haarlem, like much of the Netherlands, is flat, densely populated, and cosmopolitan.  It is a very walkable city, crisscrossed by canals and the river which are lined, wall to wall, with old gabled homes and buildings, houseboats, and little cafes.  The public transportation on trains and buses is a marvel — clean, on time, and affordable.  I was so taken with the biking culture here that I will devote my next post to bicycles.

Let me share some of the sights and delights of Haarlem with you here:

Rooftop view of Haarlem with Grote Kerk dominating the city's center square

Rooftop view of Haarlem with Grote Kerk dominating the city’s center square

Rooftop view of Haarlem from the 6th floor cafeteria in the V&D Department Store

Rooftop view of Haarlem from the 6th floor cafeteria in the V&D Department Store

Lovely old canal houses along the River Spaarne

Lovely old canal houses along the River Spaarne

Shabby chic -- rustic table and chairs on a canal barge, Haarlem

Shabby chic — rustic table and chairs on a canal barge, Haarlem

River reflections

River reflections

De Adrianne windmill in Haarlem; notice the short rail track from the water to the mill.

De Adriaan windmill in Haarlem; notice the short rail track from the water to the mill.

Cut tulips brighten a window

Cut tulips brighten a window

Bridges and arches over the canals; notice all the bikes on the bridge.

Bridges and arches over the canals; notice all the bikes on the bridge.

I loved seeing "Stinke" cheese spread at the Grote Market

I loved seeing “Stinke” cheese spread at the Grote Market

Butcher stall at the Grote Market in the central square

Butcher stall at the Grote Market in the central square

McDonalds sign.  "Chain stores abort vacation vision." -- Alexandra Horowitz

McDonald’s sign. “Chain stores abort vacation vision.” — Alexandra Horowitz

Even the crows are different from the ones at home in Seattle.

Even the crows are different from the ones at home in Seattle.

Flowers grace a houseboat along the canal, Haarlem

Flowers grace a houseboat along the canal, Haarlem

Door of alms house, Haarlem.  (Wealthy merchants charitably funded homes for widows and poor women.  I took a self-guided walk to see some of them.)

Door of alms house, Haarlem. (Wealthy merchants charitably funded homes for widows and poor women. I took a self-guided walk to see some of them.)

Coffe break at the V&D

Coffee break at the V&D

My mother always told me to clean my plate.

My mother always told me to clean my plate.

 

 

Little Winter Handmade Market through a plate glass window (Houses by My House Party)

I’d saved the date long ago for the Little Winter Handmade Market when I first read about it in one of the blogs I follow (http://abbytrysagain.typepad.com/).  It had been a while since I last visited my sister and brother-in-law, who live near Portland, Oregon, so we combined a family visit on Friday with checking out a few holiday craft markets on Saturday.

I loved the Little Winter market, which was held at the Ace Hotel in the Pearl District of downtown Portland.  Many of the vendors are fellow bloggers as well as gifted artists.  I salute anyone who tries to make a living from his or her art and hope this Handmade Market was successful for the talented participants.

Lovely mirror for styling fanciful hairpieces from Twig and Honey (http://twigsandhoney.blogspot.com/)

Little customer at the Little Winter Market

Botanical-themed art from Mossiere (http://www.mossiere.com/)

Another photographer at Little Winter Handmade Market (I loved her braids)

Little Winter Handmade Market, Portland, Oregon

Farmers’ Markets

August 24, 2009

Vendor at the University Farmers' Market

Vendor at the University Farmers' Market

We are fortunate to have the opportunity to buy fresh, local produce at our neighborhood farmers’ markets.  The farmers appear in the various Seattle neighborhoods on a rotating schedule, so we have access to a market nearly every day of the week. 

Blueberries and raspberries for sale

Blueberries and raspberries for sale

Bouquet in a backpack

Bouquet in a backpack

Buyer selects a yellow pepper

Buyer selects a yellow pepper

Loading up on fresh produce

Loading up on fresh produce

Selecting a red pepper

Selecting a red pepper