My bike and I flew into Amsterdam from Geneva then, cycled from the airport 15 miles past pancake flat farmland to Leiden (population 125,000). Temperatures are in the high-80's and learn right away how the locals keep cool---cruising the canals in liquor laden boats. Large ice chests filled with beer, wine and spirits are clearly visible as they pass under bridges--with Heineken, of course, being the beer of choice (Heineken was founded in Amsterdam).
Having a boat or a buddy with one is a must.
Leiden's city hall.
One of several windmills in the town center.
The train station has a half dozen designated areas to park your bike.
Absolutely amazing number of bikes. Leiden is home to Leiden University, dating back to 1575, it's the oldest university in the Netherlands.
One of several city gates (from 1600's) still standing
The other city gate (1600's)
The Netherlands likes to build weird buildings. This one has a wooden man built into the structure.
I've seen quite a few of these kind of buildings (colored exteriors) in France and the problem is, they don't age well as colors fade.
Ah, here's another chief greetings visitors entering his pastry shop.
It's only a five mile bike ride from Leiden to the beaches.
Quite a few cozy beach towns.
I cycled around this well-to-do canal-laced area a few miles from Leiden. Why? A while back I read a newspaper article mentioning one of Vladimir Putin's daughters living with her boyfriend in a two-story, high-security penthouse apartment building fronting the river. I found the building.