June 17, Last Day

It was our last day in Leiden and, as usual, there was far more left to do than time to do it. We had walked much of the canal system, explored the market, and visited museums, but we had not really explored the streets away from the canals, we decided to see a couple remaining must sees, and just explore the streets. First on our itinerary was the Burcht, the remains of an 11th century castle keep, dominating the centre of Leiden and now a city park. It was perhaps most interesting because of the signs describing the historic buildings that could be seen while walking the rampart of the keep, many of which were only partially visible for the trees grown up in the park, or buildings constructed between the Burcht and the building. We had visited a square commemorating Rembrandt’s place of birth, and as we wandered the streets we kept seeing large poster reproductions of Rembrandt’s work with the logo “University Leiden 444”, commemorating the universities founding 444 years ago and the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt’s birth. We were delighted to find the studio where he had studied under Jacob van Swanenburgh for 3 years and where we watched an excellent, humorous, and informative 7 minute film on Rembrandt’s early years. Our wanderings brought us to St. Pieterskerk, begun in 1390 and built over a period of 180 years, it was heavily vandalized during the Reformation, closed to Catholic services in 1572, and reopened for Protestant services the same year. Deconsecrated in 1971, it is now operated by a foundation and rented for public events. After lunch at the Grand Cafe Barrera beside the Rapendburg (considered Leidens most beautiful canal), we found our way to the University’s Academic Building and its Hortus Botanicus (botanical garden) before finding our way along the Rapendburg and back to our apartment. We were up relatively early, cleaned the apartment, said goodbye to our host and caught the train to Amsterdam. We spent a couple of hours in an elegant Starbuck’s Lounge before catching the high- speed Thalys for Paris. The train from Gare du Nord to the airport was jammed, one poor lady had to stand with her face in my armpit for much of the journey and I was thankful that I had showered that morning. The train stopped one station short of our terminal, half the people exited, then the other half. Apparently the train was returning to Gare du Nord. No other explanation, no info on how to get to our terminal, no one around to ask. We finally met a couple trying to get into Paris, they had just come from the terminal via shuttle after their train was cancelled due to an unattended bag. Luckily, the shuttle dropped us right next to our hotel shuttle which departed almost immediately for our hotel. Talk about Spartan, our room rivalled a Japanese computer coffins but we relaxed over drinks, crisps, and a chicken sandwich in the lounge before bed. We were up at six for an uneventful return to Canada.
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© David E. Moon, 2019 All rights reserved

June 17, Last Day

It was our last day in Leiden and, as usual, there was far more left to do than time to do it. We had walked much of the canal system, explored the market, and visited museums, but we had not really explored the streets away from the canals, we decided to see a couple remaining must sees, and just explore the streets. First on our itinerary was the Burcht, the remains of an 11th century castle keep, dominating the centre of Leiden and now a city park. It was perhaps most interesting because of the signs describing the historic buildings that could be seen while walking the rampart of the keep, many of which were only partially visible for the trees grown up in the park, or buildings constructed between the Burcht and the building. We had visited a square commemorating Rembrandt’s place of birth, and as we wandered the streets we kept seeing large poster reproductions of Rembrandt’s work with the logo “University Leiden 444”, commemorating the universities founding 444 years ago and the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt’s birth. We were delighted to find the studio where he had studied under Jacob van Swanenburgh for 3 years and where we watched an excellent, humorous, and informative 7 minute film on Rembrandt’s early years. Our wanderings brought us to St. Pieterskerk, begun in 1390 and built over a period of 180 years, it was heavily vandalized during the Reformation, closed to Catholic services in 1572, and reopened for Protestant services the same year. Deconsecrated in 1971, it is now operated by a foundation and rented for public events. After lunch at the Grand Cafe Barrera beside the Rapendburg (considered Leidens most beautiful canal), we found our way to the University’s Academic Building and its Hortus Botanicus (botanical garden) before finding our way along the Rapendburg and back to our apartment. We were up relatively early, cleaned the apartment, said goodbye to our host and caught the train to Amsterdam. We spent a couple of hours in an elegant Starbuck’s Lounge before catching the high-speed Thalys for Paris. The train from Gare du Nord to the airport was jammed, one poor lady had to stand with her face in my armpit for much of the journey and I was thankful that I had showered that morning. The train stopped one station short of our terminal, half the people exited, then the other half. Apparently the train was returning to Gare du Nord. No other explanation, no info on how to get to our terminal, no one around to ask. We finally met a couple trying to get into Paris, they had just come from the terminal via shuttle after their train was cancelled due to an unattended bag. Luckily, the shuttle dropped us right next to our hotel shuttle which departed almost immediately for our hotel. Talk about Spartan, our room rivalled a Japanese computer coffins but we relaxed over drinks, crisps, and a chicken sandwich in the lounge before bed. We were up at six for an uneventful return to Canada.
Tap/Click to begin slide show
© David E. Moon, 2014 All rights reserved