Monday, 30 July 2012

Leiden - Getting Lost & Yarn Bombing

Leiden – what a beautiful place! Twinned with Oxford, on account of both being the home the their respective countries oldest universities, and full of stunning buildings

We were able to moor at a marina pretty much in the centre of the town, which is flat and compact, so great for cycling around.
View down over Leiden

View of Leiden, from the Marketplace
The only unpleasant moment was entirely of our own making. We were cycling back from the station, when we realised we were heading in the wrong direction, but weren’t entirely sure what the right direct was. So, Stephen decided to cycle on to the next big road junction (which was within view) have a look each way, then come back for Emma and me (she travels on the back of my bike). Sounded like a good plan.

Since we were only going to be waiting a couple of minutes, I didn’t actually get off my bike, just stood straddling it, exactly where we had parted, by the side of the road. I was facing away from where Stephen went, so didn’t see him cycle off.

Ten minutes passed – no sign of him. OK, he must have gone down a side road to find his bearings. Twenty minutes – still nothing.  Slightly concerned both for his whereabouts and the fact I’m still in the cycle lane on the side of the road (it was pretty quiet - rush hour was over), so Emma and I move to the pavement. Forty minutes – nowhere to be seen. Emma is asking for Stephen and I’m telling her he’s gone for “a little look around” and will be back in a moment.

I decide to give him and hour before I make my own way home (I can see a “Stadplan” – a town plan poster a little way away). An hour comes, and goes. I look at the Stadplan, realise it’s pretty easy to get back to the boat and cycle off, getting there about ten minutes later.

Relief! I can see Stephen’s bike on the boat – he hasn’t gone under a bus. He sees me and stops writing a note which reads “Have gone for the Police – back shortly”.

Turns out, he cycled to the next junction, worked out where to go and cycled back to where he left Emma and me, but he couldn’t see us, so cycled back to the boat and had a cup of tea before getting worried and deciding to go to the police.

Why didn’t we just ring each other? Because Stephen’s phone had fallen in the water at Termeuzen and we hadn’t got round to replacing it (we have now; please email or text me if you need the new number).

Panic over! Emma to bed (it was 8:30pm now; way past her bedtime) and a large glass of wine for us!

So, a bit more exploring the next day, which, as luck would have it, was market day. I love markets, and this was a great one. A bit like a Farmers Market mixed with a regular market mixed with a Cheese-O-Rama event. Fabulous! We came home with the best lunch we had had in ages!
Emma shopping at then market
Also, for crafty types, there is a fair bit of yarn-bombing/guerrilla-knitting going on Leiden and The Hague; here are a couple of my favourites; these are mooring posts that have been given knitted and crocheted jackets.

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