A little bit of quiet

This morning I stepped out onto the pavement and was met with complete and utter silence. The street was deserted except for one happily feasting seagull, who’d found the sole garbage bag mistakenly placed outside for a truck that wouldn’t be coming today.
It’s Ascension day, and the start of a long weekend. I’d never actually heard of this holiday until I moved here, but I was very grateful for it this morning. Being an early riser, the city was all mine – at least, for a few brief moments.

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I love Leiden. It’s beautiful, it’s historical, it’s charming, it’s got great food … But some parts of it are insanely noisy. (And I come from Toronto.) First of all, I suspect the ratio of inhabitants to pizza-delivery scooters is roughly 1:1 – and these are not quiet little scooters. These are giant beasts waiting to clip into your sides with their sharp-edged boxes, their engines so loud you can hear them coming long before you see them. Add to this fleet of scooters half a dozen bus routes in a very dense radius, an army of bicycles in various states of decay, and narrow streets lined to the skies with walls of brick houses. That’s a lot of resonance for such a small little place!

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(The city is still full of these gorgeous pink blossoms, and clearly I can’t get enough!)

I found myself on a street I hadn’t explored since one of my very first nights here, when I’d been late for a house viewing and terribly lost. This time, I wasn’t going anywhere and there was absolutely no one around, so I plopped myself down under one of the trees and tried to catch the attention of a certain patroller …

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Alas, he had a jam-packed schedule to keep up with!

I must have stayed there a solid half hour, just admiring the place (cat) and being haunted by thinking about my thesis. (My outline has officially been approved by my advisor, which is both great news and rather terrifying!) When families began emerging from their homes, I started to feel like a bit of creep, so I finally picked myself up and carried on my way.

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As the sun started to peek out, so did everyone else. With one turn of a corner, I was back in the heart of city and the noise … and back to the grind!
(And by grind I mean procrastinating at my desk instead of under pink trees.)

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