I planned to take the weekend in the eastern part of the Netherlands, specifically Delft and The Hague. Armed with free wifi on the trains (which I love) and some train station snacks, it was a very pleasant, sun-soaked two hours to Delft. I had intended to leave my overnight bag at the train station, as I would be going onto the Hague later in the day but their lockers were not available. Thankfully, I remembered reading that one could leave luggage at the tourist office, so I made my way into town. Cobblestoned streets and tree-lined canals made for a charming walk to the office, which happened to be located in the town square. The square was dominated by the imposing Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) and City Hall. Before venturing into the sights, I figured I’d get the lay of the land first. Warm and sunny, it was a perfect autumn day for a walk around town.
The largely pedestrian-filled streets were lined with cute shops, cafés and restaurants. There were a goodly number of tourists about, which made the increase in English signage (relative to Nijmegen) not so surprising. It was a short walk over to the Oude Kerk (Old Church), which you’ll note has a rather distinct lean to it (in fact it leans about 2 meters from the vertical). The interiors were relatively austere–white walls with minimal ornamentation and a few stained glass windows–which actually gave it a quiet sense of elegance. It is also notable for being the resting place of Johannes Vermeer (who spent his life in Delft).
Much of what I love about traveling is the people-watching, so it was nice to just sit along the canals and watch bikes roll by with flower-filled baskets or the darling old couples sitting out at cafes in the sun.
I continued my wanderings through town and stumbled across the Saturday market. Bustling with folk, admiring cheeses, flowers, meats and all those good things. I just love walking through markets, even though I don’t typically buy anything. It’s just such a lively place, full of activity and color and smells (the smell of the stroopwafels was absolutely heavenly!).
It was just a short hop around the corner to the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church). Paying admission for one church gained you access to the other, which was handy. This particular church, while not possessing a particularly noteworthy interior, does house the tombs of many members of the Dutch royal family, including William of Orange, who was assassinated in Delft in the late 1600s.
I wanted to grab a snack before heading out to the Hague, so I did another lap of town in search of a cozy spot. In my wanderings, I came across what looked to be a grand opening party for a concept store. They were passing out glasses of wine (and who I was I to pass that up?). It was a hip kind of store, selling clothing and other lifestyle items. After I enjoyed my free wine, I eventually settled on Kek, a funky little café/restaurant that seemed to have a cheerful amount of character and enthusiasm. I ordered a slice of cheesecake and a hot chocolate, which were both super delicious. The cheesecake in particular was perfectly creamy. Filled to the brim with sweets, an ideal state to be in really, I picked up my overnight bag and waddled my way out to the bus station to take a 40 minute bus ride to the Hague for the night.