Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Day 9: Home Stretch/Final Note on Leiden

Well yesterday marked the half-way point on the trip and boy has time flied!  Today we are spending our final of three days in Leiden which is a much different city than any of the cities that we have stayed at or will stay at during this trip as it is quieter and more peaceful than Prague or what I expect in Amsterdam.  It has been a nice way to relax and just soak everything in.  One thing I have noticed is that there are a lot of bikes in the Netherlands, yesterday we ventured to Utrecht to visit an observatory and even there bikes dominated the city.  It is easy to walk in Leiden, however the only danger is an oncoming bicycle with their only warning is a small ring of a bicycle bell.  I have been almost run over by a couple of bicycles so far on this trip.  Below I have posted pictures of myself at the observatory (I believe the first photo of me on this blog!) and pictures of the bicycle culture here in the Netherlands.  Another thing that you will notice in the pictures are the canals.  In nearly every city near the coast in the Netherlands canals are an important geographical feature that people built to keep the homes and villages dry.  1/3 of the Netherlands is below sea level so these canals help to funnel the water through the cities and helps them avoid the issues that water can cause to cities that lie below sea level.  Tomorrow we are heading to Amsterdam, the capital and largest city in the Netherlands and quite a change from cozy Leiden which we have called home the last three days.  Amsterdam is the last stop on the trip and it is hard to believe that in only a week I will be back in the United States.

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