Friday, 10 June 2016

2016 Trip To Europe - Day 4 - Delft

Day 4 - To Delft and Back to Haarlem

We took the train to Delft this morning, a forty minute ride.  All our Dutch friends had assured us we would love it and some suggested we should stay there. I’m very glad we did not.

Arriving at the Delft station at ten in the morning, we took a taxi and started chatting with the driver, a young woman who had been a KLM flight attendant for some years. We told her we wanted to see the Royal Delft China factory, and the Vermeer Museum. And of course the center of the old town with its “New” church dating from the 1200’s and its equally old town hall.

She told us there were no Vermeer’s in the “Vermeer Museum”. Just films and clips of his life. A good thing to know. His paintings, I gather, are all in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. We will see them there later this month. 

Delft China Factory
The Delft factory was a delight. Informative and beautiful. So glad we went. We spent close to two hours there, part of which was in their garden tea room, having lunch. I had had some notion of buying some china from the factory. A notion that flew out the window when I looked at the prices.

The same driver (by arrangement) met us and took us into the old town center. We looked at the church first, the anchor of the whole square as in most Renaissance towns. Church at one end of the square, Town Hall at the other.  And in between, shops and restaurants. After the beauty of the one in Haarlem it was a disappointment. “Old” and “interesting” are not always the same thing.

Delft Market Square
We walked around the town square. It was completely surrounded by tawdry tourist goods shops. Not a single inviting outdoor restaurant. After the vibrant outdoor living room of a town square we witnessed in Haarlem it was very disappointing. 

I would sum up Delft as a tourist town, by merchants and for tourists. My advice is to give it a miss. Spend
Haarlem Town Square
the extra day in Haarlem, where the town square is full of the local citizenry eating and drinking and going to concerts and such other entertainments as might be happening. In two days in Haarlem we went to three concerts in the town square. Two in the Kirk. They were of a very high quality. On the day we arrived there was a huge rock concert going on in the square with an enthusiastic young Dutch audience, and enough police presence to be reassuring. It lasted for two hours, then broke up peacefully, and that same evening we went to a superb Renaissance Music performance on original instruments in the Kirk. They say “kirk” here because they’re Protestants, but think Cathedral. That’s what it looks like.

We walked the rather long walk from the Delft town Square to the train station and were just in time for the 3:45 back to Haarlem where we went to dinner on the Square and on to a wonderful organ recital.

Somewhere along the way I fell and cracked my right knee. Yes, the bad one. It took quite a bit of ice and painkiller for me to get to sleep last night, but it’s better today.

I should mention, the streets and sidewalks in Haarlem are all made of brick. As are the houses and even the churches. Most are a faded red, but in several places we’ve seen the Statia yellow brick. It’s often used in entrances – just as it is at French Leave.

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