Excursion to Leiden

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July 15th 2018
Published: July 15th 2018
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I noted that there were frequent services between Amsterdam Centraal and Leiden Centraal; we didn’t get up early on 23 June. My mother had brought the Chikyu no Arukikata (Japanese travel guidebook) of Belgium, the Netherland and Luxembourg and it contained a good map of Leiden; so I decided to use it.

We were to visit Hortus Botanicus Leiden – Horticultural Botanical Garden of Leiden University. However, we learned from the Japanese guidebook that there is a designated birthplace of Rembrandt and the windmill associated with his work on the way to the destination. The house in which Rembrandt was born was demolished a while ago but there was a plaque installed on the building where his birth house stood. We found the square where the waxwork of Rembrandt painting. Opposite to the square showed the windmill which he painted.

Hortus Botanicus of Leiden

Leiden looked different from Amsterdam. The town was surrounded by old buildings including Leiden University which was built in 1575 by William of Orange. We went to its botanical garden.

We paid €7.50 each for the entrance. There was no senior citizen fee. A beautiful sun appeared when we arrived at the garden and encouraged us. There were several types of gardens – rose garden, Chinese herb garden, Siebold Memorial garden – and glasshouses and an orangery.

Japanese guide book introduces the Dutch doctor Franz von Siebold and its achievements in the 18th century. There is a museum dedicated to his achievements and this museum was just a few minutes away. Inside the Botanical Garden there were several monuments which showed Japanese haiku written in Japanese calligraphy. There were also Japanese written labels of plants. I believed, together with Japanese garden, they were introduced by Siebold.

Next, we strolled through the Victoria house and glasshouse. Glasshouses were divided by tropical, sub-tropical, temperament climate zones, and offered us to view a wide variety of exotic plants.

After exploring the glasshouses, we went to Chinese Herb Garden. There were a number of beautiful Chinese urns used as focal points and they showed some different features from Japanese garden. While ambling through the Chinese Herb garden, we found the garden had a lovely setting by the river and in a sun-dappled position. We saw narrow
Franz von SieboldFranz von SieboldFranz von Siebold

Franz von Siebold was the Dutch doctor and trader and did trading with many countries including Japan 200-300 years ago
boats going through.

Systematic garden displayed an array of allotments where gardeners try growing a wide range of plants including rare and near extinct plants.

After the lunch, we walked through Fern Garden and Vegetable Garden on the east side of the garden.

The shop had a lovely selection of souvenirs – postcards, greeting cards, seeds, soaps and books. We bought several items at this gift shop.

Leiden Market

My mother was interested in the market held along the canals. We firstly found the market found a little park near Pieterskerk. The market staff were selling clothes and crafts which were designed in Indonesia and southeast Asian countries. This market looked rather quiet.

We then headed for the town centre. There was an array of market stalls selling fresh vegetables, fruits, cheeses flowers, fishes and meats and parts of bicycles, which commemorate the ‘bicycle country’, in the town centre. All the fruits and vegetables looked big and juicy. I bought 4 big apples. My mother said, ‘This is the market described in the guidebook.’ We saw more than 100 stalls selling fresh food, various commodity goods, books, household appliances and bags and local people buying massive of items from these stalls. These markets showed how the Dutch people live every day. I found the stall where good quality bags and suitcases were sold at reasonable prices. My mother bought a new suitcase at €50 for me – I carried this new suitcase back to Amsterdam, put my clothes in and took it back to the UK.

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