With many places to be and towns to explore, Cole & I refused to waste a single second. So, one afternoon after class we hopped on a train and headed to Delft.
It was, in fact, one of the places I was most excited to explore, and with money to splurge, I was determined to snag a few beautiful pieces of blue and white china (or, Delft Blue to the locals), to bring home. Because if you didn’t already know, Delft is the home to these hand painted, classic treasures.
So, we headed off on the train and arrived to our destination within a quick 20 minutes. Having failed to find a map, we spotted the tallest church, and headed in that direction. As a tip – more often than not, this handy little trick will lead you to the old city centre – and this time, it didn’t fail.
We immediately found ourselves surrounded by canals and delicate stone bridges, with every street and corner looking quite picturesque. This, we later realized, is a true feature of the Netherlands.
But, with stomachs grumbling, our bellies dictated our next move.
We located a pancake shop with a patio alongside a canal, and took a seat. Stads Koffyhuis specializes in pannenkoekens, a traditional Dutch dish, which is basically a large thin crepe topped with savoury or sweet options.
After receiving a couple warm drinks to curb the effects of the wind, we settled in and began to enjoy the scenery. Accompanied, by a warm and delicious lunch.
Cole had the beef bowl – with what were proclaimed as the best buns in town. While I settled for a treat.
Because hey, if someone deems apples, dough, syrup, and ice cream as a sufficient lunch, I’ll take it.
After that, we left the café and began winding in and out of the little Delft streets. Admiring the colours, trees, and generally casual atmosphere of it all.
The church we previously spotted led the way to the town square, where we quickly found ourselves surrounded by souvenir shops, cheese, and a gothic town hall.
One thing I will always love about Europe, is the town squares. No matter how big or small, there is a place dedicated to gathering as a community. People are sitting on patios, bikes whizz by, and the sounds of laughter fill the air.
I twirled in every direction, taking in the mixture of grand and small buildings, and revelling in the quaintness of it all.
But of course, one cheese shop immediately called our names, with big wheels of cheese in the windows and a ton of free samples.
Wandering through the shop, we taste-tested everything and discussed which flavours we preferred, while I contemplated how much I could bring home.
My favourite of all was the raw cow’s milk cheese as it had a sharp but creamy flavour. Unfortunately, however, unpasteurised cheese isn’t something I could bring home to Canada – and the wheel was much too big to eat within the next few weeks.
So, I decided on a baby Gouda, which is now happily seated in my fridge at home.
After completing one of my necessary tasks, we moved on to the Delft Blue, meandering through a few stores and admiring the detailed hand painting of each item. It was a difficult choice between dishes, trinkets, or tiles!
With some old and some new, there were price points to fit any budget.
In the end, I selected an old tile from 1880, which is hand painted with a windmill as well as a jug that I intend to use for flowers.
Quite pleased with my finds, we headed back out into the sunshine and made our way around the city centre.
Happily strolling by more churches, museums, and beautiful doors, all the while remarking at how peaceful the city was for what we expected to be a tourist hub.
And discovered and passed under tiny entries, hiding beautiful rose gardens.
The canals twist and turn in each direction, guiding you through the city and ensuring you capture every little detail, while also providing the perfect background for photos.
Like this one, that I just couldn’t get enough of. Stunning from every angle.
We would have happily stayed for dinner, but we had a prior engagement back at the Hague, so we hopped back on the train and returned.
I would highly recommend a visit to Delft if you’re in the area – you can easily see it all in 3-4 hours, or take your time and spend the whole day! It’s absolutely stunning, full of culture, and a nice break from the hustle & bustle of more popular cities.