bike trip from Haarlem to Zandvoort

Trenton on the beach in Zandvoort, the Netherlands

I love the art nouveau style at the train station in Haarlem, the Netherlands

We started our trip, in earnest, at Haarlem Station. We bought day passes in order to take our bicycles on the train and it couldn’t have been easier. We cycled from our apartment to Amsterdam Centraal Station, hopped on an Intercity to Haarlem and were soon on our way. The Art Nouveau style at Haarlem Station is awesome, even when partially obstructed by scaffolding, as in this photo. Everywhere you look there are small details and fonts that make this station stand out. The combination of symmetry, urban landscapes and constant presence of people makes train stations one of my favorite places to take photos.

The ruins of Brederode Castle, or de Ruïne van Brederode as it's known in Dutch, can be seen outside Haarlem in the Netherlands

Trenton found the bike route we were following online and it came with a great guide highlighting landmarks and explaining a bit of the history behind each. Oddly, we stumbled across the ruins of this castle completely by chance; it wasn’t included in the guide. This is Brederode Castle and for a small fee you can tour the grounds. It didn’t cost anything to sneak just inside the entrance and snap this photo, though.

spectacular view of the dunes in Nationaal Park Zuid Kennemerland near Zandvoort in the Netherlands

Sometimes wrong turns take you exactly where you need to go. Trenton and I missed an exit out of the Nationaal Park Zuid Kennemerland and ended up at the top of one of the amazing dunes that buffet the North Sea near Zandvoort. You can barely make out a couple of kids playing by the edge of a small tide pool.

spectacular view of the dunes in Nationaal Park Zuid Kennemerland near Zandvoort in the Netherlands

Another shot of the dunes. This color combination – the pale, cloudy blue-white of the sky and the light golden beige of the sand – is one I’ve come to associate with the Netherlands. In the winter, this is the exact same palette you’ll see when the dry grass is lit from behind by an early setting sun.

Trenton on the beach in Zandvoort, the Netherlands

The beach at Zandvoort is wide and long, and the sand is incredibly fine. You’ll see dozens of windsurfers and a few brave swimmers daring – or foolish – enough to take a dip in the North Sea. Just before coming to rest here on the sand, I was cursing a few seagulls that dive-bombed my lunch, knocking the patat speciaal right out of my hand. Pesky sky-rats.

The breathtaking Cathedral of Saint Bavo in Haarlem, the Netherlands

This was near the end of our journey – the Cathedral of St Bavo in Haarlem. Just behind me in this photo is a wide public square where there’s often a market. I was pining for a wide angle lens when I shot this; the cafés and shops that surround this gorgeous cathedral are just as enchanting.

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