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Day Trip to Leiden

Posted on August 2, 2008 by Holly Hayes
Part of: The Great European Road Trip

Tomorrow morning we leave Delft for Amsterdam, our last stop in Europe! It is pretty exciting to be getting so close to the home journey.

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Oostpoort (East Gate, c. 1400), Delft

The second half of our week in Delft has been as pleasant as the first, consisting mostly of relaxing days around town plus a nice day trip to Leiden and The Hague. We've had a few more pancakes, a few more canal walks, and lots more easy conversations in English. We will definitely miss peaceful little Delft, but we are looking forward to Amsterdam and even more to coming home.

It was fun to revisit Leiden, as we had spent a day there in November 2006 and liked it. We still liked it this time around, but not as much as Delft. It's mainly because Leiden is a bigger city and therefore more crowded, a little dirtier, and less peaceful. But it also has lovely canals and bridges and interesting shops, plus several churches and museums.

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Fast train at Leiden Central Station. Our train was efficient and on time, but old and stifling hot.

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Outside of Leiden Central

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Windmill

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One of many canal scenes

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Hooglandse Kerk, a Calvinist church like most in the Netherlands

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A side street

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National Museum of Antiquities, which I was so disappointed was closing for the evening on our last visit. This time it was open, and it was great! Mostly Egyptian, with some good Roman and other stuff as well.

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Ancient Egyptian offering table

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Egyptian coffin

We had dinner at the Oudt Leyden restaurant on the way back to the train station. It specializes in "the largest and best tasting pancakes in Leiden", which are served on huge Delft Blue ceramic plates. The sign outside mentioned that Sir Winston Churchill and the Dalai Lama have eaten there.

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The pancakes definitely lived up to the hype. They were large, and they were delicious. David had an "apple strudel pancake" with apples, raisins, cinnamon and almond paste.

banana pancake
I got the banana and powdered sugar pancake, and it was to die for. On the small plate is a Dutch side dish with a great name we hadn't heard of before: kwekkeboom bitterballen. They were kind of gravy-ish inside. Interesting and not bad, but the pancakes took priority and we only ate a couple.

The big Delftware plates were available for sale for €45, so it's a good thing we didn't break them! I thought I might like to buy a more authentic big plate back in Delft, but they are hand-painted and cost around €500. Whoa.

We had a bit of an adventure on the way home, as our train stopped at The Hague and we all had to get off, due to a problem down the line. Thankfully, The Hague is only about 10 miles from Delft and we were able to take a tram the rest of the way. We weren't the only ones who did, so it was a very crowded, hot tram. But it was otherwise nice, and it gave us a chance to see a little bit of The Hague, which is a big, shiny, busy city.

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Off to Amsterdam!

The final three nights of our Big European Adventure will be spent at the CitizenM, a brand-new hotel at the Amsterdam Schiphol airport. Estimated walking time to the airport terminal from the hotel: 1 minute! It's a budget hotel but a very interesting designer one, with pods and mood lighting and all kinds of modern gadgets.

Groovy though it may be, the hotel room is very small, so we probably won't be spending too much time there. Fortunately the airport also has a train station, so it will be very easy to go into Amsterdam to keep busy until we get on the plane Wednesday morning! Woo!!