With a busy day trip ahead of us, we were up and on the road bright and early. South Holland was somewhere we wanted to explore deeper. The drive from Leiden, where the hotel was, to Delft was a half hour drive.
Arriving at the Royal Delft Experience for opening, we had the place all to ourselves. The factory tour was interesting, and I was glad it was self-guided so we could move along at our own pace. There were so many beautiful modern and historical pieces of pottery on display, all primarily in the iconic Delft blue.
We managed to find a couple pieces to take home from the gift shop that was in our price range (there’s something for every budget and style!).
If you’re a fan of timeless blue and white decor, you’ll fall in love with this place. I couldn’t resist donning the traditional dutch shoes whenever I saw a pair. What could be more iconic Dutch then clogs and Delft pottery? Maybe throw in a windmill…
Our road trip brought us another hour farther south, to the village of Halsteren in North Brabant. Pinterest had been the inspiration for this trip; the “Moses Bridge” at Fort de Roovere was something unique that we didn’t want to miss.
Located inside the historic site, the bridge literally parts the water to allow pedestrians access into the old Dutch fort. While the bridge is a relatively new addition, the moats in the area are very old, originally built to keep the French and Spanish out. Too small for boats, and too deep for the infantry, it is another example of brilliant Dutch design, just as the Moses Bridge is. It’s unbelievable how invisible it is as the waters on both sides are flush.
Since it was a Saturday, locals were setting up for a war reenactment event. Everyone was wearing traditional clothing as they set up a war camp. There was even a crew training a beautiful horse on sight.
Even in the middle of nowhere, the Dutch still spoke impeccable English. It always makes me feel embarrassed as an English-only speaker. We decided to hang out a bit for refreshments at the little shop that was there, to watch them finish setting up.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to spare, even though the performers invited us to stay for the real show. Off to Kinderdijk we went, and we managed to find parking even though there were crowds of people already there. Most tourists came on buses, and most were from England and France. Despite the amount of people, there were still quiet areas to take photos with the old, yet still operating windmills in the background.
There was an older gentleman, pushing an ice cream cart to wherever the tourist groups stopped. We bought two cones from him, and enjoyed the most delicious treat made with real Dutch cream. From another cart, we picked up the poffertjes, those little puffy pancakes I mentioned in an earlier post. They were especially good and fresh. I’m surprised more people don’t speak of Dutch cuisine as it’s really quite fantastic.
In the windmills of Kinderdijk, people were busying about with their lives: doing laundry, mowing grass, and sitting outside. It was really quite amazing that they did this despite the hoards of tourists taking pictures of their traditional homes.
You can pay a small fee to enter inside a couple of the windmills, which have been turned into museums, but we chose not too. Taking in their beauty from the outside and enjoying the pleasant weather was good enough for me. This UNESCO World Heritage site is an important piece of Dutch history, and I’m glad they are keeping their heritage alive.
After a walk throughout the park, we were off in our car, back to Leiden. Our day trip in South Holland was a day to remember.
Directions for South Holland sites: