This was our first trip outside the UK since Brexit and Covid. We wondered if we would notice any significant changes - the answer to that is NO. We have to line up in a different queue at immigration and our passports are stamped, which is kind of nice.
Flew Manchester to Amsterdam on EasyJet. Used public transport. Stayed in Leiden for 5 nights. Weather was mixed.
At Manchester Airport it took just 45 minutes from getting out of the taxi to drinking a cup of tea in one of the cafes airside. The flight was on time, arrived early and we were buying our train tickets at Schiphol train station within 40 minutes of landing. We stayed at the Boutique Hotel d’Oude Morsch about a 10 minute walk from Leiden train station. We left our bags and began Rick Steves walk around Leiden. The weather was perfect blue skies but a little chilly. Leiden is beautiful and nowhere near as busy as Amsterdam. I chose to stay here as there are good rail links. However, very sadly there had been a fatal train crash on the main line between Leiden and Den Haag which meant the rail line was shut the whole time we were there. We enjoyed the walk which gave an excellent overview of this lovely University town.
Rain was forecast for the afternoon so we spent a pleasant morning at the Hortus Botanicus in Leiden and dodged rain showers by going in shops and cafes in the afternoon.
Keukenhof! I had booked the combi ticket (transport and entrance) several weeks before we left to ensure we would get in. It’s a risk re: the weather and it was cold that day but at least it was dry. We were there by 9am and left about 3pm. It was stunning, we did the whisper boat tour but I didn’t think it was worth the extra 10 euro. The bus transfers from Leiden were excellent, very well organised.
Delft. Due to the rail line being closed we weren’t sure how we were going to manage the journey but there were helpful staff outside the station and we were soon on our way via bus and tram. Delft is very pretty and the sun was shining again. However there was a serious incident at the main square which involved the air ambulance having to land there. We enjoyed Delft and once again followed Ricks walk.
Amsterdam. Whoa. Busy, busy, busy. We followed Ricks city walk which was interesting. We got as far as the Jordaan area which was quieter and had dinner before we returned to Leiden.
We moved on to Gent in Belgium
I loved my time in the Netherlands, the people were very friendly, mostly helpful ( we met just 1 grumpy train employee on our last day) and we enjoyed just wandering around the canals and small towns.