On the sixth day of the trip I left Noordwijk and rode to Leiden.
It is a very beautiful town indeed! Near the center there are a couple windmills, this is one of them.
With windmills and raising bridges, it cannot really scream "Holland" any louder.
I really like the canal ring around the inner part of the city. One can cycle along the road on the outer side. There are a lot of parks at the canal. One of these belongs to the university:
The cycling infrastructure is neither extremely good or bad. There are separated cycle lanes as I am now used to. In the inner part of the city the houses are too close to each other, therefore there is just one shared road along the canals. The street along the canal ring just has dashed lines for the cyclists on either side.
There are many streets in Leiden and other cities that are made with cobblestones or something similar. Too often they are loose and the bike feels very weird going over them. Some roads have new stones such that the gaps between them are not that large. And sometimes one finds concrete stones that are placed in a parallel and not staggered way. This means that you can slip into a continuous groove which might trip your balance a bit. They are not as bad as the dangerous tram tracks but cycle paths should be done with asphalt everywhere. I realize that the gaps between the stones lets air and water through, but they are not so great to ride on.
My little Dutch skills became better over the days, ordering food and asking for certain ingredients usually worked. I did not understand much of their responses but on this sixth day of the trip I managed to give a stranger directions in Dutch, so I will take that as a partial success. Often people switch to English, others are patient enough to let me gather a full sentence and seem to like seeing me try to speak their language.
The bike ride back to Noordwijk was a pain as there was a constant breeze coming from the sea. The mean wind speed was 15 km/h with peaks at 30 km/h. Crouching made it a little better, but fighting against the wind got old pretty quickly.
Although the scooters did not bother me so much in the beginning, I then started to have objections about them on the bike paths. The number of close passes were really high on that day. Also their drivers try to advance in the queues in front of traffic lights, which is not bad in itself. Everyone that is behind them then has to breathe their emissions, made worse by mindless playing with the throttle. Especially when you are breathing more heavily than usual from fighting against the wind, their emissions become very annoying.