A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Seeing that summer time is almost over in Holland I guess I should, at least now, write about one of the best experiences of the Summer for me. Leiden is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and one of the reasons why it is so beautiful is because of the vast array of Canals. On a sunny summer day perhaps the best way of discovering the town is to rent a canoe and just exploring the town for a few hours.
Me and a few friends of mine rented some Canoes at a reasonable price from one of the boat renting places in Leiden and embarked on our adventure. We pushed away from the dock and slowly placed ourselves by the center of the canal. There were a few nervy initial moments as we struggled to get the proper hang of Canoeing. It was slightly difficult to keep the Canoe traveling straight, but nothing could curb our endless enthusiasm.
As we approached the area of the town and entered some of the waterways which were rather narrow, we found that things were to get more complicated. Thanks to the perfect climate on the given day it seemed that along with us half of Holland also decided to explore the Canals. There were many different types of boats as well. Side had to be given as large motor boats were chugging along at a brisk pace, no one wants to bump into one of those things! Things did get more complicated as the canal traffic became very heavy, complete with partying students motoring down the canal. There were the inevitable bump-ins including a small hit at a passing boat, this did cost us some time as we had to maneuver around this in the best way possible.
Soon enough we had left the more familiar surroundings behind us and had entered the deeper water ways which was a gateway to the wilderness of Leiden. It was evident that the waters were much deeper as the waves were stronger and small ships were passing through the same space as us! Anyway after about 3 hours of taking this route, we decided to turn back as by this time the heavy rowing had taken a toll on our aching backs!
The way back was a fantastic experience as well , discovering new sides of familiar places along the way. One of these would be the tunnel below the Breestraat, heading to Kammerlingh Onnes Gebouw. This was simply fantastic! It was almost pitch black as we entered the tunnel.
As the trip almost ended, there was an incident as my friend fell of his canoe as he was trying to get out from it while docking. He also ended up losing his phone. Well nothing could curb our enthusiasm as we all docked out boats and tried searching the canals, full of god knows what, for the phone. However after half an hour of searching we had to give up.
Anyway despite the lost phone experience one of the better days in Leiden! Something which people should try whilst in Leiden, at least once!