The most popular cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. There are other beautiful cities in the Netherlands, and Delft is one of them. We wanted to see this cute town which is located in the south of the country and was famous for its porcelain factories in the past. We camped in our tent we bring with us in a camping area very close to the city center of Delft and we used our bikes for transportation to the center.
A Saturday morning at 06:00 we met our friends, Fırat and Burcu, near Zuid (South) Train Station in Amsterdam. The reason we meet early is to reach Delft before the warm weather is upon us. From where we are (Amsterdam) Delft is 65 km, so the plan was to be there after 12:00.
We traveled around the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and crossed the Aalsmeer among the sympathetic typical Dutch houses with gardens. Sunny weather that you will not always have a chance to see in the Netherlands will have continued throughout the weekend. So, after long cold seasons, people who crave hot weather were sunbathing on canal sides or enjoying their sunny times with their boats.
With the breeze blowing on our backs and the impact of almost perfect bicycle paths of the Netherlands, we passed 35 km quickly and had breakfast in Leiden. We locked our bikes right across the cafe in which we planned to take a break near the center of Leiden. The name of the place we made breakfast: Anne & Max Leiden. On saturday there is a bazaar which hosts counters with mostly food products among the channels and side streets. Counters with Cheese, Fish, Coffee beans and by-products are dominant in the bazaar.
WHAT KIND OF CITY IS LEIDEN?
The shadow and light master, Rembrandt, who I admire for his works, was born in Leiden. Jacob Van Leyden (Jacob from Leiden), famous for his medieval paintings with religious motifs, was also born here. One of Europe’s most respected universities that holds 13 Nobel laureates, Leiden University, has been operating since 1575. It is 30-40 minutes by train from Amsterdam and 20 minutes by train from Schiphol Airport.
DELFT IS NO LONGER FAR AWAY
It was not difficult to reach Delft since we traveled 35 kilometers of the road fast. We arrived our camp site, which is very close to the city center of Delft, before 1:00 pm, by taking the proper bicycle paths on the edge of fields, gardens, and meadows. We had not made reservations, when we arrived they were about to have lunch break but they passed the lunch and let us in. Our tents were with us and we paid 13 euros per person per night for the area where we can build our tents. Other than the tent area, services such as Wi-Fi, Shower, Toilet, Laundry, Pool were included. Most of the camping area, like many campsites in Europe, is filled with vans.
We set up our tents, organized our stuff, took our showers, took our bikes and traveled to Delft city center.
WHAT KIND OF CITY IS DELFT?
Delft, like Leiden, is full of canals and typical Dutch houses from the middle ages in the edges of those canals. Today it is known as a technological city and one of the places where entrepreneurs in the Netherlands give the most support / grants. It has an important place in the middle age Dutch history, because William of Orange, who separated the Netherlands from Spain and made it independent, started his struggle for independence in this city. At that time Delft was known as the capital of the new Netherlands.
Delft is also famous for its porcelains like our city Kütahya. But for its blue porcelain. From the 1600’s onward, Delft has become a center of wealth demonstration of the rich by making “Delft Blue” porcelains. At that time, there were 33 Delft blue porcelain factories in the city, only one of them survived today: Royal Delft.
Apart from that, 1600s are important in the history of Delft. In 1654, an armory with 30 tons of gunpowder was exploded, more than 100 people died and thousands injured. The fact that the majority of citizens in the city have gone to the bazaar in Den Haag (The Hague) has reduced the catastrophic size of the disaster. In this explosion, Carel Fabritius, one of Rembrandt’s most promising students, died and almost all of his works were destroyed.
First suggestion, for coffee lovers: KEK – De koffiebar van Delft. A place specializing in coffee and dessert. The coffee varieties are quite large and very tasty. I actually saw this place in the posts of beloved Zeynep Cansoylu’s web site. There are very good suggestions, especially about European cities. I suggest you follow up.
We chose an Italian restaurant for dinner. We ate pizza and it was quite tasty. Place: Dolce Amaro. We sat outdoors because the weather was nice, a pleasant place right by the canal.
After there, lastly, we went to an outdoor restaurant / cafe / bar named Postkantoor Delft. We did not plan visiting this place before, we saw it while passing by and randomly entered, but it is a very nice place. As the name implies, this building was formerly a post office. After serving more than 100 years as Post Office, they turned it into a restaurant / cafe.
CAMP ACCOMMODATION AND RETURN ON SUNDAY
After we left the Post Office Cafe, we took our bicycles from the place we locked in. We went to our campsite and we sat for a while in the cafe in the camping. Of course the cafe was closed, we sat just three of us and had a drink and chatted.
We woke up around 8:00 am on Sunday morning and went back to the center, a little more stroll around the streets with our bikes and after we had breakfast at the Coffee Company Delft, we hit the road. Since we were slower than yesterday, we were exposed to hot weather all day long.
Around Leiden, at the exit of the town named Leiderdorp, we stopped at a local Dutch cafe on the canal. A place on the canal, I suggest you visit here one day if you pass by. Today, it
took 4 hours before we reached Amsterdam since the wind was against us. Also, before we came to Aalsmeer, the back tire of my bicycle popped up somewhere, we immediately changed the inner tube and continued on our way. (you should definitely have your repairs on your bike trips)
We ended our short bike trip of the weekend leaving our friends at the exit of Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam Forest). See you in another trip.
4 July 2018, Murat Kasap
Translation : Ceren Güvenilir