Location: South Holland
Tourist Draw: The New Church with a tower that you can climb, the old church along a nice canal, the Royal Delft pottery factory, a very quaint typical Dutch town. The birthplace of Vermeer, you can see the Vermeer Centrum, a museum of sorts showing the connection between Vermeer’s paintings and the birthplace he loved.
*Nice store, but not inexpensive. Very high end.
Markt 30, Delft — 0031-15-21-57080
Markt 43, Delft — 0031-15-21-32447
2611 GE Delft
tel.: +(31) (0)15 2138925
I love the roof lines in Holland. The whimsical stair stepped rooftops and slight tilt of the old buildings all stuck together. I still enjoy walking through the old towns and enjoy the history there, but I am also beginning to see the commonalities almost too much. Against all attempts to view this place where I live with all the wonder and excitement that I had when I first arrived, there are things that are starting to get, in spite of their interest and beauty, (dare I say it) – ordinary. Ouch. Sorry Delft. It is beautiful. The old Rathaus is beautiful and especially so today with not one, but two weddings in it while we were there. Any building is made instantly more beautiful if a bride is standing in front of it. And the Niewe Kerk (New Church) was impressive with it’s massive tower dwarfing to doll house proportions all the tiny little buildings lining the market square. Of course, there were beautiful old buildings from the 1300’s and earlier, lovely canals with nesting birds and little balls of downy fluff floating after their mommies in the still water, beautiful shop full of all the pretties that a tourist could want (at prices that a prince could barely afford), and sidewalk cafes with food to tempt you.
We stopped at one nice cafe for lunch and sat out under a big tree near the canal and a main pedestrian area where we could people watch. For a true taste of local, you can grab a bit of fried fish at a fish market dated 1342. Our lunch was good and the location was perfect. From there we took a long walk and got ice cream before heading home. It gave me a chance to look into some more shops where I found dreamy Delft pottery that I couldn’t justify with lottery winnings and beautiful Italian pewter priced double what I paid for it in Italy.
The Royal Delft pottery is beautiful – there’s no denying that. There is a long tradition of it there that they are and should be proud of. The pieces are hand painted which, I know from experience, takes time. It is; however, still pottery – fired clay with glaze. The materials themselves are not expensive. And while the workmanship counts for something, I can’t justify paying $$$ (a small tulip vase that I liked was 140Euro) – the big ones went for hundreds on up… and I saw pieces for thousands. But, I love the traditional tulip vase shape with different places for each bloom. It is a traditional piece that, if I were to buy something, I would love to have. So, I’ll look for a mold and see if I can make one. The painting itself isn’t complicated. It’s the shape that is special.
All in all, a very nice day spent relaxing in the sun that was a surprise gift after a rainy forecast and strolling slowly through the old streets pretending that there was not any sort of work ever required of us again. And, we did leave with souvenirs. I found a very nice cooking shop that sold beautiful things, so I got a couple pasta cutters and a few other odds and ends. Fun stuff and great prices!
Parking: BE REALLY CAREFUL WHERE YOU PARK!!! The day was topped off with a whopping 60 Euro ticket for who knows what. There were absolutely no signs anywhere that indicated that we couldn’t park there. There were parking spots and we fit into ours quite well. Others both Dutch and tourist were parked there. Very strange. And very expensive. An unplanned souvenir I could’ve gone without.