Apr 18, 2012
Jun 13, 2012
Where I stayed
Leiden is an interesting old town with many canals (it also has a very good supermarket called Jumbo opposite the train station where we got our food and supplies for the next few days). The place is quite busy with shoppers and a large crowd is gathered near a floating restaurant on one of the canals watching a coot with 2 young sitting on a large nest with a mate who kept bringing things to add to the nest (kit-kat wrappers, plastic bags, a large length of blue string, etc.) which the other parent was trying to stuff into the nest while sitting in it. After a few hours wandering around we returned to our campsite (the train takes only 7 minutes, plus a 15 minute walk at the other end), and organised our bedding. Everything seems to fit in the new tent with space for the large packs at the head end and some room for storage at the foot end where we can get out if necessary during the night. After cooking and eating dinner we retire to the tent and read for a while. By 21:00 it is nearly dark (although there are so many lights, and the reflections from Leiden mean that it never really gets dark here) and we go to sleep.
We get up and finish the packs and have another nice, leisurely breakfast. This morning is quite overcast and cold, with a cold wind, as we walk to the station and catch our first train of the day (to Eindhoven) which is quite busy but we get a seat. At Eindhoven we have to wait a while so we get a coffee. The next train to Utrecht is very busy and we have to stand the whole way (this is the train to Amsterdam - but the guard is surprised it is so busy - there must be something going on in town). After a half-hour at Utrecht station we catch the train to Leiden - this train is fairly empty and we get off at Leiden Lammerschans, the stop before Leiden Centraal station, which is the closest station to our campsite. We manage to find the campsite quite easily (Google maps is wonderful - I have printed out all the maps of how to get from train stations to our accommodation for each town we are visiting). We put up the tent for the first time this trip (and for the first time for this tent which we bought in Tasmania a few weeks ago specifically for this cold weather trip. Our previous cold weather tent was very old and gave us some problems with leaks in Tasmania - so we decided to buy a new one when we saw this tent in a camping shop in Launceston for a bargain price). The weather had improved a bit by now and there was some sunshine even though it was still cold, thus this tent has the distinction of being erected for the first time NOT in the rain (somewhat unusual for our camping trips) but it took much longer than usual to set up. After a late lunch we decided to have a look at the town, but after walking a fair way it seemed that Leiden Lammerschans does not really have a town centre as such. We decided to take the train into Leiden itself to have a look around.