Thursday, April 30, 2015

Mid-week ride to Leiden

Wednesday weather looked promising -- not so cold as the day before, and low chance of rain until late afternoon.  So we packed a lunch and rode to Leiden.  Needed to navigate the farthest part of the ride (into and out of Leiden itself) pretty carefully, but the rest of the trip was easy.  Congratulated ourselves on arriving safely with a coffee for me, mint tea for Katie at a sidewalk cafe in the old town, in the middle of a street market.  Produce looked killer, especially the melons, but too much to carry so we contented ourselves with some great olives for dinner later.

Old medieval section of Leiden is plenty confusing, but we found a free public parking garage for bicycles then went walking.  Visited the old wool guild hall -- Leiden was a major wool center -- they made and exported great quality stuff though the life of the everyday worker or small independent family shop didn't look any too easy.

Then a tour of the big old church, St Pieterskerk.  A really great church!  Churches in the modern day have kind of fallen on hard times, membership and attendance is way down, maintenance costs are way up, the books just aren't balancing.  I have a small theory and idea on how to help.  Katie and I have walked all around the outside of a couple of big churches without being able to identify the front door.  It seems a small thing, but does make it more than a little hard to get inside.  A "front door" sign might make all the difference.

This church had a nicely marked entrance, and it led through a little ante-chamber cafe where they had a terrific offer:  you paid to enter the church, but if you wanted to get a coffee or tea on the way out you got a 1 Euro rebate and a chance to warm up with hot beverage.  Good system, more power to them for setting it up.  Incidentally, upkeep charge on the church itself averages ~1000 Euro / day.

Got some rain on the ride home, but it was light rain and kind of pleasant.  Bought tulips at a little roadside honor stand!

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