Sunday, September 24th, 2000 Haarlem
Bar/Restaurant downstairs was very busy until after 1 am. I used ear plugs (difficult as I have small ears and they don't fit well) and got some better sleep but the drunks do like to keep it going all night long. About 6 am they started setting things up again. This time for a marathon race! Stages, timers, street games, etc. This is a very busy town! We had front row seats all afternoon to watch the runner cross the finish line! But, at times, we could hardly hear our television as the speakers and music were very loud in the plaza.
After breakfast at 9 am we walked around till 10:30 am and went over to what we thought was the Catholic Church called Oud Katholieke Parochie Van De H.H. Anna en Maria. We were right, but they don’t have a priest, so they have a Communion Service starting at 10:45 am on Sunday. It was actually a full Mass except that there is no offertory/consecration done. The Mass was conducted by a Nun and another women. The choir was also in the sanctuary. Actually a very nice service which lasted about the same as a Mass would have. There were very few young people in the church. Only about five children. Mostly gray hairs so we felt right at home. Jim said that it was one of the most sincere “Peace be with you” that he’d ever experienced. Probably due to the fact that the people wanted to be there not just because they felt that they had an obligation to be there. At communion time, there were two children who each held the host dish for the Nun and helper; one at each side of the church. There were about four adults serving the wine in between. The Nun would take the host from the dish and give it to the parishioner who in turn would break the bread and share with the person behind them. A very nice gesture. We had our English missals with us so really felt like we’d attended Mass.
Later, as we walked around town, we saw the Nun on her bike with two parishioners that we’d seen at church. Looked like they were on their way to the local prison. Possibly with communion for the prisoners??? Speaking of bikes…that is definitely the most popular method of transportation in Belgium and especially in Holland. They have their own roads along side the ones for autos. Motorbikes and Motorscooters are also allowed on the bike roads/paths. Most bikes used are similar to the beach cruisers that we see at home. They all have chain guards and lights. The areas in front of the train stations have hundreds of them. It’s a wonder that they can find their own. They do however, use locks. We saw some bikes that had three wheels and a truck bed for transporting items around town.
After a long walk around town to see some of the local canals and their bridges, we headed back after a stop at the car to check on Jim’s duck shirt. We’d forgotten to take it with the laundry last night, so he’d washed it by hand and we’d laid it in the back window of the car to dry during the day. Made the car windows very steamy, but it worked and the shirt dried by the end of the day!
Worked on my journal, bookkeeping, etc. while Jim watched the First Time Formula One Race in Indianapolis, Indiana. Brand new track built inside of the brickyard track.
It didn’t get started until about 8 pm, so he watched lots of Olympics in Sydney. But they were good! For dinner we walked over about a block and found the Syrian Fast Food and got a Falafel and Humus in Pieta Bread. Ate them in the room. Time to sign off. I have lots of postcards to write as I have 15 Netherlands stamps that I must use by tomorrow before we enter Germany. We understand that they will be setting up another street market in the plaza starting about 4 am. Another night of ear plugs!