In an expensive time and expensive place IKEA is the solution that many of the people we have spoken to recommend with a rueful laugh and a sigh. We love IKEA, we hate IKEA and we go there and we love and hate it so much more.
We started the apartment hunt ourselves with online listings in Amsterdam. How hard could it be, right? Well, frankly, pretty hard. Apartments in our budget were limited and online information did not indicate whether pets were allowed (usually not). We sent dozens of emails expressing interest, and if we ever heard back, the apartments had already been taken. Even when we received an email notification and replied within minutes, the property was often already gone.
Down in the street we hear bikes always rattling, prospective shoppers, tourists, parents and their children, young people, old people and everyone in-between. We've heard more than one woman singing opera on her bike at midnight, more than a few girls giggling on their way to school followed by more than a few boys hollering after them, more than one man whistling a jaunty tune in the afternoon, more than a few middle-aged drunks kicking cans down the street, and then the street sweepers rumble by every morning to start the day anew.
We found our first short stay apartment on Airbnb, and there really couldn't be a better introduction to Haarlem than this cute loft on Wilhelminastraat, a main thoroughfare in town. We've made ourselves right at home here, and it's weird to think that we'll be moving on to another temporary apartment at the end of the month.
On the bright side, we’re making great headway on downsizing, moving and storing our stuff. It feels really good, and absolutely liberating. Every day we’re crossing items off our list and we can see the light at the end of this very long tunnel. This week we’re going to spend time with family, start moving some furniture and attend a wedding, which sounds like a pretty cool week to us.