Leiden memory lane

I left on the 3rd to fly to Holland to be at a reunion of friends I studied with. My showing up from afar pulled in others who would otherwise not have come. The occasion was the annual reunion of people who had joined the student clubs during a period that included 1971, when I had started my studies.

I flew in a very full plane to Amsterdam. The plane was so full that people were offered money to give up their seat in a clever reversed auction system – you bid an amount you want Delta to give you in order to give up your seat. You can ask for $100, $200 or even propose you own amount.  The approach is full of delicious anticipation, possibly followed by disappointment.

On long trips we are allowed to overnight in Europe, a perk I never use since my trips are often too close together. But this time the timing was perfect. I reserved a small hotel close to the action in Leiden. It is funny that people who go to Holland always want to go to Amsterdam while the provincial cities are so much more pleasant, as interesting and much less a tourist trap.

As it turned out the hotel was a tiny (5 room) boutique hotel on Leiden’s main canal, where the original university still stands. I was given the room under the roof in a beautifully restored old ‘grachtenhuis’ (canal house) that was probably built in the 1600s. The hotel was even nicer than I had imagined from the already very nice webpages. I gave it a five star review on Tripadvisor.

The room wasn’t ready when I arrived early in the morning and so I missed the chance to take a little nap or even shower and change before my brother and sister in law came to pick me. They had organized a nice side trip that included a visit to a delightful museum in Wassenaar (Voorlinden) I had heard about. It is located in one of the old mansions in the, a wealthy suburb of Den Haag, the former home of a wealthy art collector, now open to the public.

Afterwards we visited my nephew and his young family in Den Haag for tea and catching up. And then it was time to go back to Leiden to my charming little hotel which I was anxious to show my brother. There we would meet up with another friend before going to the festivities that had triggered the stop in Leiden in the first place.

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