Visiting Leiden was the perfect antidote after celebrating King’s Day in Amsterdam. My girls and I made our way to the city, arriving after a short, 45-minute train ride, and found ourselves at the heart of old Leiden.
My daughter Natasha is studying on a student exchange at Leiden University, the oldest in the Netherlands, established in 1575. The city’s large student population gives the area a vibrant energy.
A full day of lectures kept Natasha from joining us, so we explored the city without her as our guide. She did suggest we seek out the V&D department store for a great snapshot of the city from above. The top floor has a market-style restaurant with an outdoor terrace offering a wonderful view of Leiden in all directions.
With only one day in Leiden, we elected for a slow travel day. We wandered the historical centre taking in the 16th and 17th- century architecture and canals and occasionally ventured in the one-of-a-kind boutiques, interior design shops and unique second-hand stores.
Her school day done, in Dutch style and looking fashionable, Natasha cycled to meet up with us… as we relaxed in the sun at an outdoor cafe.
Here, she is about to park her bike at Leiden Centraal station before taking us to visit her flat and neighbourhood, only a 10-minute commute on her bike.
Ginette and the girls