LEIDEN OLD AND YOUNG

LEIDEN OLD & YOUNG.

The population of Leiden is about 100,000; more than 20,000 are students. The main university campus is located in the modern futuristic buildings outside the town center. Many departments and offices are tucked away throughout the town, like the International Office right next to Pieterskerk.

Statistics tell us that there are more than 800,000 bicycles in Amsterdam alone, while its population is about one million. One must be careful and keep to pedestrian sides of a street when walking. Young people whiz by at great speeds. At first, it seemed to me that bicycles in Holland were higher than usual. Then I realized that it is the young people who are taller than average. There are many handsome young men and pretty young women cycling around any town.

They say that 98% of the Dutch population speaks English, with the exception of those under the age of 2 and above the age of 98. Dutch is a beautiful language. When you read, you see that it is related to English. For example, the word Weg in place names surely means “way”. “G” at the end of the words is pronounced with a sort of explosion, so it is a bit hard to understand what is said, for example, when a bus-stop is announced. But you can simply read the stops’ names on the e-board inside the bus, train or tram. When you listen to it, you may think that what you hear is German, with a lilting intonation in it. They often say “enyoy”, not “enjoy”, “three” is often pronounced as “tree”; and what I heard as “youmba” turned out to be written as “jumbo”. This came in useful when I was searching for a post-office. It seems that there are none left, at least in Leiden. Across the street from Leiden Centraal is “Jumbo” supermarket. As you go in, right in front of you there is a counter where they sell aspirin etc. And accept your parcels, letters, whatever you wish to send anywhere in the world. You get a box, pack your stuff, pay, then it gets picked up by the postal service.

Errands done, now you can enjoy a leisurely walk following Leidse Loper, or visit numerous museums, relax in a café and have a snack. If you are feeling adventurous, you can take a train or bus to visit another town.

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