Sunday 23 June 2024

Amsterdam #5

 June  22nd  Weather fine and blue sky.  

My nephew came and collected me from the hotel early and we caught a bus and tram back to the house.  After a welcome cup of tea we caught a bus to the Schiphol Airport and from the train station there an intercity express train to Leiden.

Leiden is a university city having the distinction of the oldest university in The Netherlands.   I assume that the buildings are scattered throughout the city, but none of the university buildings I saw were old!   Indeed like most of the Dutch cities there is modern edgy architecture.

We visited Naturalis, the Biological Diversity Centre.  A huge structure which from the outside looks rather like a layered sponge cake but from the inside I saw that instead it was more the stratas of the earth and accommodated a spiral type experience of the various floors.   We only had time to visit one floor thoroughly and because of my young great nephew with us went to the 2nd floor where there were taxidermy specimens of a huge number of animals.   

The city centre was abuzz with people enjoying the warm sunny weather which we’ve all been waiting for.   We strolled down streets from which cars and cycles seemed to have been banned and along the way found this barrel organ playing folk style European music.  

The man in front shook his can loudly and forcefully at anyone who had the temerity to take photos.

This shop specialises in Peanut Butter!   And along the road another specialised in cheese.   I was interested to see a passing tourist try to lift one of the wheels of cheese outside the store and to hear her exclaim “oh it’s fake” when she managed quite successfully to give it a hug.   Others seemed to realise that these and a huge pair of clogs were placed there for photo opportunities for tourists!

I wondered why a men’s suit shop should be named The Saints Suits until I looked up and saw the statue on the front facade of the building.

My nephew took Little Sister and I to the Museum of Natural Science and Medicine.   The Theatre Anatomica we saw was from 400 years ago and had been modernised with holograms and computerised film to tell the history of medical and scientific research that the curators had tried to encapsulate in this museum.  

After that introduction we explored the sizeable collection of medical instruments and Little Sister tried out one of the interactive experiences.   Little Sister and I were both very interested to see the original string galvanometer invented by Einthoven as he tried to find a successful method of recording the heart beats of men and women.   His original weighed 300kg and won him a Nobel Peace Prize.  The original medal is displayed near his massive machine and beside it a modern ECG machine which evolved from this research.   

Next to the small pacemaker on display was a button which said if pressed would produce a tracing of the heart.  For both my nephew and myself there was only a flat line and we concluded we must be dead - or perhaps the button was faulty!

So after a good day with 15000 steps of walking we came home to a well deserved rest, dinner and one tired toddler and his great Aunty went to bed.


Maggie said...

Leiden looks like a beautiful place, I love the buildings.
You're certainly getting your steps in! Good for you :-)

Leonore Winterer said...

University cities always have such a special energy about them. Looks like a great place to explore!