Just to be clear, Fietsknoop is not a bizarrely named Dutch town but an ‘App’ that enables route planning along the many miles of Dutch cycle ways. Jacky had mapped our route, 23.5km one way, with a plan to catch the train back to Leiden. There is only so much cycling Kim can be encouraged to do.
This morning, we discovered Leiden’s historic centre complete with obligatory windmill
Cycling in Holland is a joy. Well maintained, wide, signposted cycle routes feel very safe and the cyclist is king of the roads. It continues to amaze us that cars give way to cyclists and even treat pedestrians with respect. If it wasn’t so blooming cold, we’d want to live here. The App was fantastic, reminding us to pay attention to route markers, and taking us away from the main roads.
We took 1.5 hours to cycle to Delft, just in time for lunch! It would have been rude not to try the local speciality of krokotten. Delft, like many Dutch towns has a very pretty historic centre with a lot of canals and some stunning architecture.
We were surprised by the alarming angle of lean on the ‘Old Church’ tower which stands directly on the ‘Delf’, the old word for ‘canal’. When plans were made to add a tower to the church in 1325, there was nowhere to put it. It is likely the canal was diverted, filled in and the tower built on top of it. This turned out to be a bad idea when the tower started to subside during construction. They managed to stabilise the structure and continue building it straight and that is why the tower has a kink.
Our route to Delft had been so straightforward, we thought we’d cycle back to Leiden. Now we’re not sure if it was all uphill, but it was far more challenging and we battled with a bitterly cold headwind. It was a relief to get off the bikes at the hotel and collapse with a cold beer.
Tomorrow, we are taking the train to Amsterdam and have a walking tour booked. Thank goodness we hadn’t planned to cycle, a break from the saddle will be welcome. The only problem is the weather – heavy rain and high winds are forecast.