Last days exploring the Netherlands

Well, my June of exploring is through and, for various reasons wasn’t quite as exploratory as had previously been hoped. I’ve also not really been blogging, oops. All that said, today there was time for one last day trip and so Laura and I headed to the lovely Delft.

Most of you who are reading this and are not Dutch probably know Delft as that place where they make the pottery or, possibly, as the hometown of Vermeer (the gentleman who painted Girl with a Pearl Earring). In our trip we did very little to do with either aspect. I mean I did buy a little delftware duck for my rubber duck collection but that is beside the point!img_1118

Instead, our day was spent strolling around the smaller streets, alongside the canals. It’s such a pretty place, quite honestly. The bridges are low and bedecked with flowers, the canals are surprisingly clean and clear. We had a rather sunny day today too, which did help.

We also went to the two main churches, the old and the new. The Oude Kerk, or old church, is probably the one in which most time can be spent. This one is where Vermeer is buried and, more importantly for us considering Laura’s capstone, so too is Maarten Tromp (naval hero, the Brits killed him. Oops).

The church itself was a bit of a strange experience. I actually realise that, even here and even with my interest in church art, I’ve not really been in protestant churches. Actually not so surprising considering the lack of art. Anyway, I digress. It’s a basilica type shape, all white walls yet with quite extensive stained glass and memorials that are quite decorative. It was a bit jarring in style, if you know what I mean. The place was organised really well though with boards explaining most aspects in quite a lot of detail in both Dutch and English.

After eating lunch overlooked by The Nieuwe Kerk we ventured into our second church of the day. This one holds the royal tomb (which cannot be visited) as well as the mausoleum ofimg_1172 William of Orange which is quite impressive. There were quite extensive restoration bits going on so it wasn’t easy to look around the interior itself. What could be seen was actually quite striking in its starkness. It’s a bare brick interior but then with some beautiful features such as one of the most elegantly exquisite organs I’ve seen. It felt a lot more unified in design and I actually liked it… and we all know I’m one for opulent design!

The main highlight of The Nieuwe Kerk is probably it’s tower – the second tallest in the Netherlands – and it is possible to climb it. It’s worth doing for a view of the town and especially the stunning city hall. It is not, however, for anyone who is afraid of heights, even slightly physically challenged, or actually larger than normal. It’s a very long and uneven spiral staircase up with basically no passing points. It’s a gymnastic experience when you meet someone going in the img_1163other direction. Mildly terrifying? Possibly. Worth it? Certainly.

After taking our lives into our own hands we felt we deserved ice cream and visited a place next to the church, Otelli. This place seriously did some of the best ice cream I have ever tasted so it comes very highly recommended!

And now it’s back to attempting to pack the flat up before the move 😭

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