I found another one! (A beautiful medieval Dutch town, that is.)
This time it was Leiden, about 40 minutes from Amsterdam. I’d first noticed how beautiful Leiden is while passing through it on a train during a previous visit to the Netherlands. So I added it to my mental list of places to check out some day.
Leiden is larger than both Gouda and Delft, but still compact and easily walkable. Like Gouda and Delft, it has lovely canals and bridges and beautiful buildings — just more of them. Like Haarlem, it has an impressive church. (Two, actually.)
And like all three, it seems to be a popular wedding destination, but maybe more so, as I counted five weddings in my four-hour wander through the town.
Here is one wedding procession I passed.
And here is another, but in this case, the stretch limo was no match for the curved canal bridge. The bridal party had to get out and walk to their wedding venue.
Which was here: at the Botanical Gardens.
The gardens are lovely to walk through.
They are famous because of this fellow, Carolus Clusius. It was his study of the tulip that made the Dutch mad for the flower. He was not the first to cultivate tulips in the Netherlands (they were brought over by traders from present-day Turkey in the sixteenth century), but his work made them famous.
Clusius was a botanist and a professor at Leiden University, the oldest university in the Netherlands. Two of its distinguished alumni include Descartes and Rembrandt (although apparently Rembrandt did not bother to attend any classes).
This is the university’s academic building, which is next door to the Botanical Gardens where Clusius worked.
One of the wedding parties I passed by took place in an outdoor café beneath this tower, which is part of the Stadhuis, or town hall. Trowestraatje means “little street of faithfulness” — an appropriate name for a street in the shadow of the Stadhuis, I thought. That’s because all weddings in the Netherlands, including church weddings, must start with a visit to the registry office for the marriage to be official. I saw another wedding procession gathered on the front steps to the Stadhuis just around the corner from where I took this photo.
This next photo is of the Koornbrug (Corn Bridge). It got its name from the fact that it was where the corn market was held (which is why it is a covered bridge — to keep the product dry in case of rain).
Leiden also has what’s called a burcht, or citadel, that dates back to the eleventh century. It’s on top of a small hill and its ramparts offer an excellent view over the entire city. Which is where I took this photo from.
What a view.
Leiden calls itself the “City of Discoveries.” Which is so appropriate in my case as it was most definitely a new discovery for me.
I’m so glad I stopped by.