In Leiden, the neighbours are watching

Leiden is a city decorated with and dissected by canals.

First there was Venice… and now Leiden and Amsterdam. Is there no end to the decadence that Europe has to offer up? (It’s not a rhetorical question. The answer is no!)

On the way back from the Keukenhof Gardens, I stopped along a Leiden canal to watch a rowing race. (Is that what we call it? I suspect that there is a more sophisticated term). Enthusiastic onlookers lined the bridges and the banks of canals, cheering on the rowers as the sleek boats cut through the water. It was just a regular Saturday afternoon in Leiden but for me it was an adventure. My heart pounded.

In the gaps between boats, I checked out the neighbourhood and its picture-perfect red brick apartment buildings. As I spied (with my little eyes), I spotted a man and a woman watching the race. Are they in different apartments? I can’t tell.

For the remainder of my stay in the Netherlands, in both Leiden and Amsterdam, I was aware of people standing at their enormous windows looking out… keeping an eye on their neighbours and also looking out for their neighbours. I watched them watching me and the world. I bet it’s hard to keep a secret in the Netherlands!

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