Stay in Holland makes sense in Amsterdam and more anywhere. So this country is arranged that all the most interesting no more than an hour drive from her main city. That is why it is not worth driving on the car: you can easily slip the intended point. My buddies, quite prepared and owning English, who in the Netherlands is bothering both native and did not visit Hagu, not identifying it in the road sign Den Haag S-Gravenhage. While they were unwound, found themselves in another charming city, returning, drove in one adorable – in general, carried away.
Just in case: "Departure", in local uit, not even pronounced, but is alive, how don’t they.
Not that all Holland was so small (with the Ryazan region), but the main thing is concentrated in the western part, on the patch from the Hague to Utrecht and from Alkmara to Rotterdam. So the most reasonable – radially leave by train from Amsterdam to light, without caring for parking and traffic jams, to be found in urban centers, in the evening returning to the place of night. And in the evening Amsterdam is exactly engaged in any of the provincial cities.
Plus travel by car – looking at landscapes. And here the landscape is the same everywhere: no. Brodsky has a poem about this country. Poetry from prose is not a rhyme, not the size, not a column, but a concentration of thought:
"Holland has a flat country,
Overgoing ultimately in the sea,
which is ultimately
The essence of history and national character – the sea, his development and fight against it. It is worth looking at the Grand Sliding Dam under Rotterdam; see well-groomed, as if living rooms, fields; Recall that in the XVII century, the most important city in the world was Amsterdam, and the Dutch sailors beat the British and discovered new lands; take into account that such openness is "Overgoing in the sea" – spawned unprecedented cosmopolitanism and free spirit.
In this flat country, the only verticals – the spiers of the cathedrals, and the Dutch gothic is good that outside, what is inside, in spacious and free interiors of temples.
The first in my ranking of Dutch cities, easily achievable from Amsterdam, – Harlem, to which 14 minutes. France Hals lived here, one of the wisest painters in the history of art. Take a look at the group portraits of regents and recents of the nursing home, in which now the Hals Museum: this is a male and female portraits of humanity. And then, with a special feeling, you look at other senile houses around Harlem: each inhabitant has a barcid with tulips, a kitchen room, a private entrance with a bench at the porch. Everyone has it! Four hundred years ago!
Secondly put Leiden. From here, Rembrandt, who left us 90 self-portraits, proving that one person is a full-fledged representative of the human clan, and the mirror is an errorless tool of self-knowledge. Here the oldest university. For the heroic protection of the city from the Spaniards Wilhelm Orange offered Ledensee to the choice: exemption from taxes or the construction of the university. They chose, and from this – delight and envy.
The third will be Delft, where Vermeer appeared – the loves of modernity, found in it the intimate intimateness of restrained feelings and good life. The middle class is what Vermeer is: how not to become a pet.
Position the first five more green cozy city of Gaud and Alkmar with his cheese auctions on Fridays.
And in the evenings we will return to Amsterdam, who confessed freedom even when this word was forgotten, and where they did not know.