Andrew started working Monday, so I’ve been on my own during the day. Our morning routine starts with breakfast:
Our hotel puts out a fantastic spread of breads, ‘American’ breakfast items (scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage), as well as the normal European items (cold meats and cheeses, tomato, yogurt and granola). There is a self-serve coffee machine where the simple press of a button will give you regular coffee, espresso, cappuccino and more.
After andrew left Monday morning, I headed out on a quick walk.
Amsterdam is known for the incredible number of people who bike, and Haarlem is no different. They even have ‘parking garages’ for bikes here (multi-story) and special locks for the bikes that are more efficient (no chains involved). I rented a bike yesterday and biked to the beach–more on that later.
While on my walk, I joined a gym! I’d done some online research prior to my trip and on our way to our hotel, Andrew and I passed this place so I knew it was close. Kenamju was able to give me a reasonable price for two weeks, waived all the fees and even took me on a tour that morning! The have tons of fitness classes, and I already made a friend (shocking, I know). So far, I’ve been to a bootcamp class and a TRX class and I’ve used the treadmill. I’m looking forward to trying cycle tomorrow morning! It actually didn’t even occur to me that I wouldn’t be able to understand what the instructor would be saying until I walked into my first class… Thankfully, it’s not hard to follow along and I’m familiar with all the moves.
I decided to do a longish run on Monday in preparation for my upcoming half-marathon on Sunday. I intended to do 7-8 miles, but got a little lost (again, shocking, I know) and ended up doing 10.5. I took it at an easy pace and kept stopping during the last few miles to try to figure out where I was, so my pace was a bit off. Plus, my GPS took a full five minutes to get going–it’s not used to looking for me across the pond!
I’ve also had to run some errands so far! My days have been suprisingly busy (is anyone really surprised by this?!) for someone in a foreign country with no responsibilities who isn’t really sightseeing much. I’ve picked up some items we forgot, like a comb and a more bill-friendly wallet for Andrew. I even picked up towels for the gym and may grab some sweat bands today while I’m out, too. HEMA is like a mini-Target, with their own branded items, and there are lots of other shopping options and a grocery store very close to where we are staying.
Perhaps the BEST part of my solo-ness are the lunches I get to have! It’s super fun to figure out where I want to go, and Holland seems to really be embracing fresh, local food. There’s lots of variety and without many ‘regional specialties,’ it’s easier for me to eat lighter and healthier than when we’re in France. So far, I’ve had salads, an energy-topped yogurt and a mackerel salad sandwich (think tuna but way better). Beer is also big here, so I’ve been enjoying the local Jopen and Texels brews, as well as the immense selection of Belgian beers.