Travel: Leiden, Netherlands
Although we had driven past Leiden’s old town on the way to our hotel, we hadn’t stopped for a look. After our afternoon at Haarlem came to a quick halt due to expensive parking, we decided to spend the evening in the heart of Leiden. Here, by the windmill, we found a cheap parking lot for our rental car.
Hungry, we wandered inwards to the first café we saw and sat down for an early evening snack. Bitterballen were on the menu at De Engelenbak. We just had to try this Dutch snack we had heard so much about! It was delicious in the mustard it was served with.
I also got a Coca-Cola, because there’s nothing like it in Europe where they serve it in the old-fashioned glass bottles. It took me back to my time in Italy, where water wasn’t cheap and I lived off of ice-cold glasses of Coke.
After our stop there, we wandered deeper into the University town. There were interesting shops to pop in to along the way, each with a history of their own. Leiden was small, but beautiful.
We chose a spot for dinner along the canal, in a renovated ballet studio turned upscale restaurant. There was not a patio spot to be found along the canal; it seems all the students were out for the evening, enjoying the spring sunshine and sipping on a Heineken.
The food at the restaurant was deliciously Dutch and very high-end (which usually means small and I was thankful for our snack earlier). The first dish was very interesting, it was complimentary, and I’m glad it was because I would not have it again. The bread and butter was something worth raving about like all bread and butter in Netherlands. My pork with shrimp was amazing but my companion was not all to fond of the raw fish dish. The Dutch like their fish raw it seems!
Our waiter was pleasant like all the Dutch people we had talked to along the way, and he had lived in quite a few places around the world. I love traveling for the people you meet and talk to. Along the way we had heard a few people’s stories and I will remember them in my travel heart. Our waiter was doing quite well for his first day on the job until he nervously spilled my red wine on my lap!
It all turned out alright, and gave me a laugh. I was happy that my skirt wasn’t stained. The fabric held up remarkably well and for those who are interested you can find it at Winners! Dessert, of course, made both of us happy campers.
After a happy (but expensive) meal, back to the hotel we went for a good nights rest. I hope you get the chance to visit Leiden (with maybe more time than I did).