After what proved to be a rather tiring week of final assignments, during which certain standards of cleanliness fell slightly to the wayside, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to a day of playing catch-up on non-academic business. Appointments and errands and a good scrub-down of the apartment? All I wanted was my freedom! (Perhaps slightly melodramatic, coming from someone who just got back from a trip to London …)
When I was done with my pity party, I got to it, and I must concede: if you’re going to be running around a city getting things done, Leiden isn’t a bad place to be. From a purely practical perspective, anywhere you might need to be is likely to be within within a 1-mile radius of your point of departure. But more importantly, it’s simply enchanting.
Plus, you’re never more than a hop and a skip away from a canal.
One of my appointments was across from Pieterskerk (Peter’s church), in what turned out to be a 500 year old jail cell with a dome roof and what remained of a painting of the crucifixion on the stone wall.
I waited until my international coordinator was gone and then very conspicuously whipped out my camera, which makes a lovely noise that was echoed about 100 times by the stone. Very casual.
I have to say it: walking around in Leiden feels like stepping into
Hogwarts a fairy tale. You take a wrong turn off the main road, and suddenly you’re in a quiet little back street, right in the middle of the city, that you may never have known existed. You go get your visa renewed and you’re led off into a medieval jail cell, your forms and passport photos in tow and your jacket dripping rain onto the old carpet. You try to show your friend the gorgeous square you saw the other day, only to realize that you have absolutely no idea how you got there last time.
(Maybe that last one is just me.)
Also, all routes inevitably seem to lead to the same place if you follow them long enough. I’ve been living here for 6 months and how this is possible is still a mystery to me.
Long story short, it was an unexpectedly nice morning. Yes, it rained intermittently the entire time I was out, but in a way that only contributed to my feeling of accomplishment when I was done. I even had quite the wild time cleaning up in here! I got some old Friends episodes going and laughed to myself and, before I knew it, the place was spin&span. There may even have been some sour candy waiting for me as a reward …