Thursday, November 7, 2013

Instagram Travel Thursday: Leiden

Yesterday I ventured to the city of Leiden with a woman my husband and I know from another church here in the Netherlands.

The plan was to meet and discuss how I could help with preparation for a district missions trip in addition to meeting a requirement for one of my spring NTS courses.  Because of her interest in art, we also spent time visiting the Museum de Lakenhal.

We met first at Starbucks in the train station, where I got a hot chocolate -- mmmm... -- and she got a "speculaas latte."  Given that speculaas seasoning is kind of like pumpkin spice seasoning, I'm going to guess that this is the Dutch version of a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Sweet mugs.  Too bad they're crazy expensive and my bike doesn't have a cupholder.
We sat there and chatted for a bit -- mostly in Dutch!!! -- before heading outside to head to the Museum.

Side Note:  My Dutch skills have definitely improved.  The other week I held a conversation for about 20-30 minutes with the kapper (hair stylist), and most of that time it was in Dutch.  Yesterday I lasted for about 2 hours, but that wasn't a conversation that went for 2 hours straight, and we did speak some English occasionally.  After the museum, and eating, I was DONE. (I had also only slept 4 hours the night before, thanks to my NTS class.) Now I understand why people's Southern accents or New England accents come back when they're tired.  :)

We were there to check out the UTOPIA exhibit, a collection of expressionist and constructivist art from 1900-1940.  A lot of it was not my style (...."weird"...) but interesting to read about the perspectives of the times.


One really helpful video was found tucked away in a room decorated like a Catholic church.  Using snippets from woodcuts, it told the story of the battles between the Dutch and the Spanish in the 1500s (starting around 1566 and lasting another 10 years or so).  Sorry, my Dutch history is still spotty.  Anyway, somewhere in there, it told the story of the siege of Leiden, which included battles, a famine, and the plague.
The legend behind this "Miracle Loaf" is that when a beggar refused to share it with another person during the famine of 1315, the bread instantly turned into rock.
I think -- but don't quote me on this -- Spain wanted to retain control of the Netherlands and especially enforce Catholicism, but the Netherlands wanted their independence.  Now, on October 3, to celebrate the end of this war, the people celebrate by eating haring (herring) and wittebrood (white bread).  One of the plaques I read later about the Pilgrims claims that perhaps the first Thanksgiving reflected this feast also.

This is more my style.  You could write a whole story about everything happening in this painting!






Lunch break:  I had a tasty egg salad and bacon on a BAGEL!  Yes, a bagel, in the Netherlands.

Check out www.betterbagels.nl for more information!

Eventually we made our way to the Pieterskerk - thanks, Farrah R for mentioning this in your latest post!  The story goes that the Pilgrims came from England to Leiden and spent about 11 years there before heading to Delfshaven (now part of Rotterdam) and then England on their way to the New World.  I wanted to check this place out, take some photos, and learn a little more history.

There are some beautiful chestnut trees outside, and I can't wait to see them when they are blooming in the spring!

We read some information about the Pilgrims, and then I was quite surprised to also see this plaque:
Photo credit: Wikipedia
 From what I could gather, Arminius was a theology professor here in Leiden, and is buried at the Pieterskerk!  Wow!  I couldn't find his gravestone, though.  For those of you who have never heard of this guy, his theology contrasts with Calvinism (and that of the Reformed church) and combines with Wesleyanism as the backbone of the theology of the Church of the Nazarene.  You can read more on the Wikipedia article for Arminius.

Here are some other highlights of the day:

Old police station, c. 1927.  I was told that this building was built in "Amsterdam style" but it certainly looks more Soviet to me.

Some color on a dreary day!



Lastly, the ubiquitous windmill picture.

 I would love to go back to Leiden and spend some more time there walking around, especially on a sunny day!
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