Monday, April 1, 2013


I think I took more "scenery" pictures (i.e., pictures of quaint or interesting things with little historical value) in Leiden than anywhere else on our trip.  It is really a beautiful tourist destination, perfect for a day-long stroll. These remaining pictures of the city reflect that sense of wandering.

This ship was built in 1896 to carry peat, which I am assuming was used for heating and fertilizer.

Note the pattern created by the off-set bricks in this wall:
And here, note the rippled effect caused by the very unstable wetlands upon which most of the country sits:

A 400-year-old botanical garden on the left, and the man who planted it, Carolus Clusius (1526-1609) on the right:

One of the unique embellishments I loved most in Leiden was the result of their Wall Poem Project of 1992-2005: 101 poems from various countries inscribed on the exterior walls of buildings all around the city. This is Shakespeare's Sonnet XXX, one of my favorites,
As far as I could tell, the poems were always "posted" in the language in which they were written.  This one is by Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva:
Those who placed the poem on the wall were also kind enough to provide translations in English as well as Dutch:

Here is a Japanese cinquain, as beautiful for the artistry of the writing as it is for the words that the kanji represent:

Moving on, this relief sculpture has something to do with William of Orange and 1575, but that's about all the Dutch I can decipher:

Pieterskerk, the church of the Pilgrims and the site where John Robinson, their leader, is buried:

Here, Kitty Kitty Kitty:
The home of Jan Steen, artist and contemporary of fellow Dutchman Rembrandt van Rijn:

The City Hall, my favorite building in Leiden, was badly damaged in the Great Fire of 1929. I think this is the original facade, however, and that the interior of the building has been rebuilt:

There are those red keys again:
And here they are again, along with a restorationist working on an old plaster lion:
He seemed to be working without any way of preventing a fall, and it made me quite nervous:

These, my dear children, are called "records."  Note the John Denver album on the right:

We especially enjoyed the Citadel of Leiden, constructed in the 12th century as a defense against invaders coming up the Rhine. As the city grew up around it, it became less useful and was turned into the park it is today in 1651:

I'm not sure if these symbols on the information sign mean these things are allowed or not allowed.  Either the Dutch don't put a slash through their red circles like we do in the United States, or the Citadel is a major party site.
Wouldn't you love to have a door like this one leading into your backyard?  I would. How about it, Bob?
The Citadel is basically a circular wall that gives a 360 degree view of the city:

A sign in Dutch and English informed us, "The domed church, called Marekerk, was the first Dutch church built specifically for Protestant services. Until then formerly Catholic churches had been used."
After we saw Hooglandse Kerk from the Citadel, we went to see the interior. A Protestant church, it is also known as St. Pancras Church, and dates to the 15th century:
St. Pancras was a Roman citizen who converted to Christianity around 300 AD and who was then beheaded at age 14 for that choice.

Beautiful cross-stitch sampler made in 1934:

A very unusual triptych in the church:

A few more random shots taken as we made our way to another church:

A beautiful door . . . 
. . . but on closer examination, it is even more beautiful:
"I am the way, the truth, and the life"
Hartebrug Kerk, the Catholic Church, built in 1836, is not a particularly important tourist destination, but it was fun to wander into and out of:

Leiden was one of only a couple of times that Bob fell away from his fat-free vegan diet. Fish lover that he is, he just couldn't resist these window displays:
 And truly, one has not been to Leiden unless one has had a herring and onion sandwich:
Leiden was the last stop for the Joneses and DeLongs.  The next day, they returned to Montana and Minnesota.  Chris and I said our fond farewells to gelato together.  I think this was about #50 for us, wasn't it Chris?
Bob and I spent another day in Amsterdam, so I have at least one more (or maybe two) posts to go before I finally finish documenting this amazing trip.


  1. Oh, that last shot brings tears to my eyes. Gelato, I hardly knew ye!

  2. Thou doth protest too much. I think, rather, you two knew gelato too well. I've heard of the Silk Road. I think the Rhine on this cruise was the Gelato River.

  3. The chairs crack me up. Sacrament would be so much exciting if we all got to play musical chairs.

  4. While some wax poetic about the gelato, I am quite impressed with the poems written all around. It would make quite a pilgrimage, wouldn't it, going around and locating all the poems? I was not familiar with the Shakespeare sonnet, so it was lovely to read it.

    Another great post!