Just what is Delft?

You hear of the word “Delft”. You might even know it as the place where Delft ceramics come from/came from. It’s the classic blue-on-white Dutch pottery that you know you know, and which I brought back as a souvenir from my first trip here in 2004. It wasn’t *real* Delft though, and nor did I appreciate that the town from which *real* Delft pottery was invented was so close to Amsterdam, and so perfect a destination.

Let me be clear: if any of my friends are come to the Netherlands, I will strongly insist that they make the effort to get themselves to the *town* of Delft. It’s all the beauty of Amsterdam with many many fewer tourists. It’s a little amazing, frankly. One Intercity bud from Centraal, one hour. 20 minutes from our base in Den Haag.

Delft has canals, canal-front houses, big squares, bigger churches, and lots to see for a day. Or longer even. Approaching from the Tram station, you are greeted by 1970s era flats built atop the ancient protective walls. (I am very certain they’d want to take that design decision back.)

Water, like everywhere in the Netherlands, is everywhere here in Delft. But the canals are just a bit smaller, and there seems to be less flow (so the algae and water lilies are able to take hold). But buildings and canals were built to part of one another. This was our view walking into the old town from the tram station.

The construction here resembles Venice a bit, with houses (at least on one side) built right up to the canal. Perhaps not so grand as Amsterdam, and certainly not Venice. Nonetheless, very nice to look at.

We joke about the parking. No curb, just some differently coloured brick to show the edge of the road and the beginning of a very wet parking space. Back home, hit a curb, no problem. Here…

The facades are typically Dutch, but less ornate. A bit wide than the Amsterdam houses, too, which were taxed according to frontage, and therefor force builders to optimize the footprint and built up high. Still, the variety from house to house makes for a very target rich photographic target.

One of our favourite activities is simply walking around. And searching for ice cream.

Dozens and dozens of cool store fronts, all impeccably kept and beautifully presented. This one was  “The Green Finger”. We’d call it the Green Thumb, back home.

Two things that differentiated Delft from Amsterdam were the (in spome places) lack of people, and the quaint alleyways. No stores here, just houses and bikes.

And then it was on to this beauty, the Neue Kerk – the “New” Church. It was begun in in the fourteenth fricken century, and took 100 years to complete. Let that settle in for a moment; the new church was begun in 1396. It also claims to have the highest tower in the Netherlands, but I think the 1396 thing might be a bit more impressive.

So we climbed it. Most of the 108 meters up.

Views were suitably impressive. We could see the port of Rotterdam from here.

That’s the Old Church. 1246, in case you’re keeping track of dates.

I was playing around with the forced perspective setting on my new Canon GX7. It’s kind of cool; everything looks like a miniature.

 

Obligatory selfie with La Petite FIlle ™

The last hours wee spent drinking coffee and eating apple cake and wandering around. Our server directed us to this little hidden courtyard (hidden behind two archways, not shown), that of the Prinsenhof Museum.

Relaxing on some Gaudi inspired Delft porcelain.

 

And everything so very green. So yes, if you tell me you’re headed for Amsterdam, I’m going to have to insist that you day trip to Deflt as well. A bit better than Leiden or Den Haag, I think, but right up there (but different) from Zaanse Schans for bang for the buck.

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