My stay in Netherlands was a bit interesting. Talking about Netherlands, what’s the first few things jumping into your mind? Amsterdam? Tulip season? Windmill? Maybe weed… No joke, the most impressive place that Netherlands and its people show me is not Amsterdam or those flower park, it is Leiden, a small town with 30-minute train distance to Amsterdam.
I travelled to Leiden when I left from Den Haag (The Hague) to Amsterdam. It was an early morning with a little cloudy and rain when I stepped out the train station. I didn’t research Leiden that much before I decided to stop over there. The only thing I know is its a small place with the limited crowds related to the university. The first impression of Leiden was quiet and calming because what I saw on my way to the town centre were just windmill, wide streets and quiet canal. Unexpectedly, Leiden changed my mind once I crossed the first bridge which leaded my way to the most crowded Sunday market I’ve never seen. The Sunday market was extremely active and crowded with all the locals and visitors walking around, because that day was the last weekend day before Easter. I was so excited to almost run into the market and to rush into the crowds in front of those cheese, breads, cold cuts & olives stands.
Leiden是我从Den Hagg (The Hague) 到阿姆斯特丹的必经之地，这一早有点阴阴小雨天气，直到跨出火车站那一刻，我对Leiden的认知也就只有“她是个有座大学的小地方”。Leiden给我的第一印象可以用安静祥和来形容。一路从火车站走入小镇，所见的尽是有点那么空荡荡的街道、略有微波的小运河还有不怎么转动的风车。颠覆性的是，跨过第一座小桥便是闹的沸腾的周日集市，热闹景象是我在欧洲看过最火的，满大街的铺满当地人和游客，掰一掰手指，我猜想是因为过几天的复活节的缘故。我也是“人来疯”，兴奋得简直就是要跑着冲进人群里了，左右两边一字摆开的各种摊位，有芝士、面包、冷肉制品、橄榄等不同美食。
It’s a bit shame that in my first leg of backpack trip in Western Europe, I didn’t have chance to cook in hostels for I’m always rushing around and having too many plans for my selves. The same, I could just watch those yummy goods with also “yummy” prices (comparing to the unreasonable prices in Asia). Luckily when I got my first turn and started the second half of the Sunday market, I saw the very crowded raw fish stand, which was serving the typical Netherlands raw fish sandwich (Broodje Haring). This is one of the traditional Dutch food. Normally, the locals eat the raw herring fish by holding the tail and sending into mouth directly. However, they also eat with chopped onion with or without bread. Believing me, it was a must-try item! If I would stay there, I would definitely buy a box of 6 or 8 raw herring and brought back home.
In the market, you could not only find dozens of foods, but also beautiful tulips and other flowers. Those lovely and colours flowers were just too cute to be ignored! Getting too much noise from the market, I knew I could easily escape into those small lanes which brought me to a quiet “Europe-town” world. In this world, I enjoyed the vivid sandy show offered from the dark grey dog, the wonderful scene with the elegant swan, and the most importantly, the amazing mind-cleaning moment with everything peaceful there.
I hope my sharing could inspire your next trip! See you soon.