Every year, my husband and I try to get away for a few days, just to remember what life was like before we got all grown up. Those days when we didn’t have kids, or a mortgage, or responsibilities, or problems, or any of those things grownups seem to have a lot of.
In the first week of January we went to Leiden for a few days, just the two of us. The boys were with grandma and grandpa being spoiled rotten, and we treated ourselves to a few days in a seventeenth century hotel. This sounds luxurious, but actually these buildings are old and noisy, and have serious draft issues, but it’s the idea the counts.
We had ‘a room with a view’, which in Leiden means a room overlooking the canal. A canal sounds romantic, but did you know that it basically used to be an open sewer? In the old days, and still today for some who live in boats on the canals, people let their sewerage run into the canal and then it got transported to open water. So next time you look at the canals, be sure to suppress any urge you might have to go for a swim!
Walking through the old city of Leiden is a big treat. Where I come from there are no canals, or anything remotely resembling the seventeenth century. Where I live the city was pretty much bombed to the ground in the second world war, so nothing historic to look at unfortunately.
When walking through the streets of Leiden, it’s like going back in time, especially if you look up. On street level there are modern shops, but just a glance above eye level shows old facades with names and dates relating back to their origins. Market houses, storage buildings, places of trade, and homes for the rich and poor of the past. Leiden resembles Amsterdam in many ways, with fabulous museums such as Bourhaave, which is about the history of modern medicine, and Hortus Botanicus, gardens where research into plants is still being conducted today.
And what is visiting a city if you don’t visit a yarn shop?! I found this wonderful shop in the center of Leiden, Meet & Make. They sell luxury yarn brands aimed primarily at knitters, but nothing a yarn lover like myself can’t appreciate. They carry brands such as Baa Ram Ewe, Rowan, and Noro. If you are not into yarn but fabric, they also have a large section dedicated to fabric crafts such as quilting and sewing.
I had my husband in tow, so I kept my visit short, but definitely long enough to admire all the beautiful things on the shelves that reach from the floor to the ceiling! I bought 3 strands of Baa Ram Ewe Titus, a brand I’ve had my eye on for a while now. Titus is made from Wensleydale and Bluefaced Leicester wool, and spun in Yorkshire to support local industries. Titus is available in a variety of colors; I bought 2 shades of blue that I feel are just lovely together.
Going to make something beautiful out of this, I was thinking a simple triangular shawl allowing for the yarn to show its inner beauty.
Hope you all have a wonderful day.
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