Exploring Leiden with Keiko

Leiden Travel Blog

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With Keiko at Beans and Bagle
   

Out beyond Schipol International Airport and past Haarlem the towns got smaller and an occasional windmill passed my window. I had always been fascinated by those Dutch icons. I took the numerous plantations of yellow and orange flowers  to be tulips but didn't know their season. My IC Train out of Amsterdam only took half an hour too reach Leiden and Keiko (KeikoCreative) was at the point where we had prearranged to meet right at the train station. It was always a thrill to meet another TravBuddy while on the road. After getting acquainted over coffee and a light snack, she led me down cobblestone streets to show some of the sights.

Leiden

 

We strolled the Rhine toward the De Put windmill which seemed odd from traditional windmills - being much smaller with a newer-looking rectangular shape and barn-like roof. It was painted black with white trim. Nearby, a bridge led us past Rembrandt's house. A small square behind it had a commemorative statue of the artist. Keiko pointed out many of the buildings, old and new, of the historic University of Leiden, oldest in the Netherlands since 1575. The town's colorful history was beyond my comprehension but that didn't stop my fascination. Its many canals, churches, museums, bridges, and early 17th Century architecture made Leiden an exciting city to explore. Its blend of historic and modern character, and dynamic youthful lifestyle, made it easy to see anyone wanting to live or study here.

 

Panoramic views from the circular De Burcht Castle were spectacular.

Dome of the Marekerk, built 1649
The fortress was built on a man-made hill primarily for refuge from flooding; but in following centuries, defense against Roman, Bavarian, and Spanish invaders. The town grew from the strategic site and placards depict historic churches and buildings dominating the modern Leiden skyline.

 

The day was a little chilly so we enjoyed another cappuccino near the Koorn Bridge. The many waterside bistros, bars, and restaurants lining much of the Old and New Rhine Rivers seemed as popular with students and local residents as with tourists and visitors. Further along, specialty and brand-name outlet shops, restaurants, bakeries, and business offices all lined Haarlemmerstraat.  We stopped to browse a large department store, primarily to dodge a light rain. We roamed its aisles and rode its escalators. I bought AA batteries for my camera which had little rest in the picturesque town.

Ms. Piggy in the Netherlands

 

On the way back to the train station, we stopped at the classic Molen de Valk windmill which had been converted into a museum.  A signboard had a real nice cut-away schematic of the structure's seven floors and showed an array of gears and shafts that could drive pumps or machinery. Unfortunately the museum was about to close but I was thrilled to know where I will eventually come to learn about windmills. We crossed a nearby four-lane street to a park where Keiko held Ms. Piggy in the palm of her right hand. I was able to get a picture the JC's Bar logo with a classic windmill in the background. My afternoon in Leiden was rather short but long enough to make me know that I will be back to explore, learn, and discover more of this Netherlands city. Thank you Keiko!

Africancrab says:
Great blog Dan, you always add such detail to your trips. Lovely
Posted on: Jan 26, 2010
Jopin says:
I've always loved reading your blog, Dan! Hope to bump into you in Siem Reap!
Posted on: Oct 09, 2009
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With Keiko at Beans and Bagle
With Keiko at Beans and Bagle
Leiden
Leiden
Dome of the Marekerk, built 1649
Dome of the Marekerk, built 1649
Ms. Piggy in the Netherlands
Ms. Piggy in the Netherlands
Windmill from the train
Windmill from the train
Keiko at the Beans and Bagle
Keiko at the Beans and Bagle
The De Put windmill
The De Put windmill
Rembrandt Bridge and house
Rembrandt Bridge and house
Leiden from Rembrandt Bridge
Leiden from Rembrandt Bridge
De Put windmill from Rembrandts h…
De Put windmill from Rembrandt's …
Sculptures behind Rembrandts house
Sculptures behind Rembrandt's house
Narrow street in Leiden
Narrow street in Leiden
Inside De Burcht fortress
Inside De Burcht fortress
City Hall from De Burcht
City Hall from De Burcht
Hartebrug Church steeple
Hartebrug Church steeple
St. Peters Church from De Burcht
St. Peters Church from De Burcht
At the entrance to De Burcht
At the entrance to De Burcht
Keiko at the pedestrian bridge
Keiko at the pedestrian bridge
Leiden canal
Leiden canal
Confluence of the Old and New Rhine
Confluence of the Old and New Rhine
City Hall
City Hall
Original front of City Hall
Original front of City Hall
Department store goodies
Department store goodies
The De Valk Windmill Museum
The De Valk Windmill Museum
De Valk windmill, built 1743
De Valk windmill, built 1743
Base of the De Valk windmill
Base of the De Valk windmill
Keiko
Keiko
Leiden
photo by: dieforu