Posts Tagged With: Canals

Exploring Leiden (Or: Windmills and canals)

On Saturday Marco and I went to Leiden. It is a university city not far from The Hague (10-15 minutes by train). We first made a stop at the VVV office (tourist office) for a free city guide. Unfortunately it was pretty commercial in nature and it wasn’t quite as informative as the Dordrecht guide was (we paid €5 for that). However the Leiden guide did have three recommended walks in the back so we used that. You just need to keep in mind some of the streets it takes you down are store heavy…

My first picture was easily my favorite:

Leiden windmill and canal

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Dordrecht (Or: A walking tour of the city)

Marco and I took the day off on Friday and we decided to visit Dordrecht, a small town outside of Rotterdam (the credit goes to Marco for the idea of what to do).

partial map of the Netherlands

Dordrecht, just under the red “Zuid Holland”

It is about 35 to 40 minutes by train traveling from The Hague. We did a walking tour of the city (Rondje Dordt – page in Dutch) which was about 3km long and showed the sights of the city.

Here are some of the photographs that we took along the way:

Holland Spoor train station platform

Photograph of Holland Spoor, one of the two train stations in The Hague

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Canals and flowers (Or: Visiting Utrecht)

A few weeks ago Marco and I visited Utrecht. For various reasons it ended up not being quite what I expected but that can be chalked up to two things: the weather wasn’t that great and we went on a Monday, when a lot of things ended up being closed. We mostly stayed in the center of the city and looked at stores (board game stores, comic book stores and similar) rather than doing too many cultural things. I do wish we could have stayed until it got dark, though, as I would have been able to see the Trajectum Lumen. At night certain areas of the city are artistically lit, with guided tours provided on Saturdays.

I did get some good pictures, though. Here are a couple:

canal in Utrecht

Utrecht canal, typical Dutch bike in the photo frame

stairs down a canal in Utrecht

stares down to the canal level on Oudegracht (a main street in the central area). A lot of restaurants are at canal level, so you take the stairs down to reach them.

flowers in Utrecht

close up of some flowers in Utrecht

Its a present store in Utrecht

Items at “It’s a Present” gift store

It’s a present” was actually a pretty cool gift shop even though we didn’t buy anything. It had some really random items for sale, including what you see above. The only negative was that the shop was small, so they had to expand vertically – there’s technically three small floors, but sometimes the stairs can be a bit tricky to navigate.

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Chaos (Or: Feeding the birds)

A random shot of someone feeding the birds in a nearby canal in The Hague:

feeding the birds in The Hague

Picture about 4 times as many birds than shown – this was the close-up. There’s even some swans in there waiting to get fed (and of course due to their large size they get first choice at the food!).

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Wet newspapers (Or: Scenes from Delft)

Here are a few random pictures that I took while my family and I were walking through Delft on the way to the churches. I just could not pass up the lonely looking newspaper stuck in the canal…

paper in Delft canal

Nearby was a residence overlooking the water:

Delft canal scene

It was a nice day to walk through Delft – still jacket weather, but warm enough. Relaxing.

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Amsterdam (Or: View from the canal)

Here are some more pictures from the canal boat ride we took back in the summer of 2010 (“we” being Roger, Marco, Marco’s Mom and I).

Random family above.

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Amsterdam canals (Or: Living on the waves)

During the first summer that I spent in the Netherlands, we did the expected canal ride in Amsterdam. It’s sort of like being a first time tourist in NYC and visiting the Statue of Liberty. I’ve managed to avoid going up to the top of Rockefeller and the Empire State building… somehow.

But I was definitely looking forward to the 1 hour canal ride. I went with Marco, his mother, and our friend Roger (the die hard NY Rangers fan… Let’s go Rangers!). Luckily we managed to be one of the first ones on the boat, so we had the pick of what seats we wanted.

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The View (Or: Looking across Amsterdam)

The public library of Amsterdam is useful for more than just library related activities (or for borrowing a computer to let someone know your phone is currently dead). It also provides a great view of the city from the 6th floor.

Construction around Amsterdam public library

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Canals (Or: Just how many bikes fall in, anyway?)

A journey to the canals of Delft begins here.

Houses along a Delft canal... too close for comfort!

Look at how close the houses are to the edge of the canal. It’s amazing to realize that some (unpictured) houses have doors which face out into the canal. Open up and jump in!

And it makes me cringe a bit. In my hometown, Hurricane Irene decimated a local bar/eatery when it came through in August. The barely four foot wide stream overflowed 7 foot high retention walls, leaving the surrounding area under a foot of water, and their basement completely flooded. It took until Christmas for restaurant to reopen.

Delft canal, with obligatory bikes

I was also amused to see that there really are not any guard rails to prevent the cars from driving in, either. And I found this blog post about bikes being thrown in to be an interesting read, with cool pictures of “bike rescues”.

Father and his sons, feet dangling into the canal

Ignoring the port-o-potty behind them, I focused this picture on the family, curious to see if the father’s feet would ever touch the water — they did not. Just a simple moment, captured forever.

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Bikes (Or: Controlled chaos on wheels)

One thing that struck me was how many fietsen (bikes) there are in the Netherlands. The Dutch boast almost one bike per person. In the Hague, bike paths seem to take precedence over even the roads themselves. Generally the transportation is as follows: roads (for cars, buses, and the occasional tram), bike paths, and pedestrian paths. Bikes also have their own traffic lights at most stops. Interestingly, mopeds also seem to ride on the bike paths, which can make crossing them a bit dangerous at times…

Picturesque Delft canal bordered by homes, and a few bikes to complete the scene

The Netherlands is, as a whole, very flat. I found one “hill” in the Hague — which turned out to be a man-made bridge that was only a few feet high. In the country itself, the highest hill (the Vaalserberg) is just over 1000 feet tall.

A parking lot for bikes in Amsterdam

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