Today I reacquainted myself with Leiden. In 1996, I lived in Leiden for two months while I worked in our office in Den Haag. We have moved our office now to Leiden. Leiden is known as the birthplace of Rembrandt. It is also well known in Dutch history because it is the location of where William the Silent was victorious over the Spanish on October 3, 1574. As a result, William the Silent gave a gift of a university. The University of Leiden is one of the oldest in Europe and it was the home of one of the oldest botanical gardens, Hortus Botanicus.
I got off the bus on Breestraat and walked a short way to Oude Rijn which runs along Nieuwe Rijn canal. This is the site of the Saturday market. It was much the same as 8 years ago. It runs for about 4 blocks on both sides of the canal and in the shadow of the Stadhuis. The vendors are grouped together by what they sell; you will find the vendors selling vegetables in one area and another area are the fish sellers. I am always curious to see the fish. So much of it is sold whole. There is also a good selection of it smoked such as mackerel. The market sells not only food but also flowers, sundry items like shampoo, clothing and cloth. I got some great looking fresh mushrooms. The vendor had a great selection of not only cultivated but also wild. I also got some snjbonen, broad green beans which I love. The Dutch chop them up fine but I like them in broadly sliced. They are great because they are never pithy.
Along the canal are also a variety of different shops selling items such as coffee, kitchen good, lighting, bedding, antique pictures, wine and also many cafes where were packed.
Off a side alley (Burgsteeg), a short way, is the entrance to the Burcht. It is a restored fort which is where Leiden originated. You can climb onto the ramparts and get a view over the city. A short distance is also the Hooglandsekerk.
I headed up towards the train station to stop at the VVV, the Dutch Tourist Bureau for two good brochures. One was a loop walking tour and the other was on the Almshouses of Leiden.
I circled back and crossed Breestraat and headed for Pieterskerk. The area around it is filled with small shops and restaurants. I had hoped to go in but there was a student event going on and it was not open for entry. I walked around the side to where there is an almshouse where one of the founders of the Pilgrims lived. It was here the followers gathered before leaving for America in 1620.
Near by is the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, the National Museum of Antiquities. It has a great collection of statues, reliefs and mummies from Egypt along with some great Greek vases and Roman statuary.
I headed back to the area around the Burcht to find a favorite beer store De Man Van Drank . It was still there at Nieuwstraat and Hartesteeg just across from the Hooglandsekerk . Man de Dranken. I got two beers, IJ Wit and BioBok, from the Brouweij t'IJ in Amsterdam, a Trappistes Rochefort 6, and a small bottle of Guldenberg. They are great beers but it was difficult to carry them back via the bus.
Late in the afternoon, I headed back for Voorschoten. I got off in the Centrum and picked up a couple of items at the Albert Heijns. It was a long tired walk back to the apartment.
Tonight is the end of European "Summer time", the equivalent of the US daylight savings time. I get an extra hour of sleep!