A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
January and February didn’t quite turned out to be the relaxing start to the new year I was hoping them to be. Work, a bout of man-flu and increasingly intense preparation sessions for Model United Nations (see previous blog post to find out more about MUN in Leiden) left me with much less free time than I expected and I’ve since found myself yearning for the lazy Saturdays of Autumn when I would wake up and indulge in some of the (not so) finer things in life. Although as the French say, “everything in moderation… including moderation” so I am more than ready to break the cycle of non-indulgence and rekindle my passion for non-productive weekend mornings. Not this weekend though, I have deadlines. Maybe next weekend? Or the weekend after? Hopefully some time before June…
Guilty Weekend Morning Pleasure (Gweemp) #1: Listening to Radio 4
Desert Island Discs, Just a Minute, The Archers… (okay, not the Archers). It may sound like I’ve taken early retirement however there is little more satisfying than waking up, making coffee and tuning in to familiar voices from across the Channel whilst lounging in my rocking-even-though-it-shouldn’t-do chair. I may not be giving the BBC presenters my full attention on weekend mornings anymore, however busier times have not led me to abandon them completely as the arrival of the iPhone has meant that their downloaded podcasts have become my playlist of choice when slogging away at the Universitair Sportcentrum. Technology may have brought everyone else the joys of Tinder and Snapchat but it’s transported me back into a timeless age of analogue broadcasting.
Gweemp #2: Lie-ins
Go to Einstein’s last night did you? Get home at 4am did you? Sat on your own doorstep eating patat oorlog did you? (For those who don’t know, ‘patat oorlog’ is the disgustingly delicious combination of fries, mayonnaise, satay sauce and… raw onion. Lekker hoor!) If can answer yes to any of the previous questions then you probably deserve/need a lie-in. Sleeping through breakfast, brunch and sometimes even lunch used to be my preferred way of sleeping off the night before but recently, with there being no time for a ‘night before’ in the first place, this weekend luxury is but a distant memory.
Gweemp #3: Brunch at De Bruine Boon
This unassuming little café is in fact, in my opinion at least, Leiden’s best brunch spot and once inside, spreads over three rooms like an Aladdin’s cave. The club sandwich is fantastic and, when it’s on that day’s menu, the mustard soup is delicious and filling. Check out the ontbijt menu (breakfast menu) and look for the ‘thing’ that is toasted bread with rare roast beef and about a hundred fried eggs on the top. Okay, I eggsaggerate, but it’s the absolutely perfect cure for hunger, hangovers or pure unadulterated gluttony. The staff are friendly and eager to please and I always make sure that De Bruine Boon is on my tour of Leiden when guests come to visit.
Gweemp #4: Brunch at McDonald’s
Don’t judge me. If you’re strapped for cash and breaking your weekend fast at De Bruine Boon seems a little extravagant then you’ll be pleased to know that you can dine like a burger King at McDonalds using the bits of shrapnel you have left over from the previous night. Coffee, croissants and unidentifiable egg-based processed main courses. It may not be haute cuisine but it does the job for under €2. For a less garish fast-food assault on your senses so early in the morning, head to HEMA for an equally cheap, more ‘continental’ breakfast of coffee and pastries for the same money.
Gweemp #5: Spontaneous bike rides
Being in a country so flat, one should make hay whilst the sun shines and take advantage of the ‘low’ element of the Low Countries to cycle out of the Leiden bubble and explore the surrounding countryside. Alphen aan den Rijn is a leisurely 45 minute bike ride from Leiden and Katwijk, a charming seaside town and Leiden’s closest beach, a mere half hour. Now that the weather is making a turn for the better, pump up those tyres and get out into the fresh air. Both your body and your Instagram account will thank you for it.
Gweemp #6: Forgetting that the library opens at 9.30am on Saturdays
Autumn: every week. Now: chance would be a fine thing. Happy studying earthlings :S