The Picturesque City of Delft, Netherlands

We left Edinburgh, Scotland on 9 August and flew 1.5 hours to Amsterdam then boarded a train for 1.5 hours to our Airbnb canal side apartment in Delft for 3 nights. Delft was as lovely as the Royal Dutch Delftware it is known for. But it is also known for Leeuwenhoek (father of the microscope), and painter Johannes Vermeer. While in Delft, we enjoyed seeing Markt Square on market day where we could see all sorts of food items, clothing, a flower market and an antique market. Thanks to our lovely hosts and their gift of stroopwafel on our arrival, we may have become addicted to this cookie from heaven – two thin layers of waffle filled with delectable, and not too sweet, caramel. You can’t be in a grocer or walk down the street without seeing them as they are sold everywhere. I try my best to resist most of the goodies we see, although I feel it is my duty to sample - if not for me, for you!

Day Tripp’n to Den Haag (The Hague)

We took a 25-minute tram to The Hague – known for the Peace Palace with the United Nations International Court of Justice, and home of Vermeer’s Girl With a Pearl Earring (1665) painting at the Mauritshuis Museum, a 17th century mansion.

In 2014, I tried planning a long weekend trip to the de Young Museum in San Francisco to see Vermeer’s Girl, as I refer to his masterpiece. I wasn't able to make it work with our schedules at the time. Since we were only a tram ride away from her home museum, we couldn’t miss out. It was a perfect excuse to stop by The Hague, and it certainly cost us less than a flight and long weekend stay in San Francisco. As we walked the lovely Mauritshuis, we visited the painting a few times before we left. While Mona in the Louvre is accessible if you work your way through the crowds, and something one should see when visiting Paris, I was more impressed with Vermeer’s Girl and his use of light. Of course, that’s what this painting is known for. And even if it is said that the Girl was not based on any person in particular, you feel it must have been because this painting was done with love – at least that’s what I felt. We were also able to see The Goldfinch (1654 painting by Carel Fabritius). I recently read the book called The Goldfinch, a work of fiction by Donna Tartt that used the painting as a basis for an interesting story. After reading the book, it was fun to examine the real thing.

Before we left The Hague, we boarded a tram for a short ride to the North Sea beaches and strolled along the boardwalk.

We enjoyed the peacefulness of Delft and The Hague, although students were away from the universities at this time, and we heard that makes a huge difference in both cities. Timing is everything! We look forward to our next stopover in the Netherlands so we can explore more new cities and areas around the country.

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