I recently returned from a short road trip with my family to the beautiful province of South Holland, and although it was slightly cold and wet our experience wasn’t dampened by the weather. I was really moved by the insouciance and simplicity everything seemed to exist in, a calmness hung in the air everywhere you went and it never seemed to lift. It was as if things in that part of the world just drifted on gently, mornings were mellow and soft, and the day progressed with that soft energy permeating into the afternoon and still pervading in the evening.
It was this sense of quietude and the majestic country landscape that I adored most. In the few places we visited, we hardly saw people out and about save for those few engrossed in quiet conversations in small cosy cafés and restaurants, or the odd cyclists that moved quietly and unnoticed. It was truly an idyllic contrast to the day-to-day life I was used to in London.
Towards the end of our trip we spent a few hours in Leiden, a charming old city renowned for its quaint red brick houses and cafés lining canals. While being home to a lot of medieval architecture it is also the birthplace of the famous Dutch painter Rembrandt, so I was really looking forward to seeing some of his original pieces at the Museum De Lakenhal. However, we didn’t get a chance to visit the museum nor the Hortus Botanicus that I also wanted to visit due to a torrential downpour that confined us to a café for most of our time there.
But despite not fully experiencing the richness of Leiden, we still managed to make the most of our short time there in the rain. I hope to one day return, not only to experience the beauty of Leiden in its entirety, but to hopefully explore more of the Netherlands as well.