A nice way to relax and enjoy the sights of Delft is by Canal Boat. The commentary is in English and you learn about the history of Delft. You pass under arched bridges, see old historic homes and go past quite a few museums and Churches.
The tour lasts approx 45minutes and leaves from behind the Market Square in the old city centre at "Koormkt 113"
April - October tours run every day from 11 - 5pm
COST 6 euro. (2009)
One of the many attractions of Delft are the beautiful old canals that can be seen all around the old part of Delft near the city centre. The best way to explore these is on foot so you can stop to admire historic buildings and the many small bridges and that criss cross these canals.
One of the things I love best about Delft is its many CANALS which weave in and out of the old city. They obviously add to its charm along with all the old architecture. I also enjoy seeing all the different Dutch boats that are often moored to the sides of the walls of the canals.
The first and oldest of Delft's many canals was built in 1285 and is said to remain the most beautiful in the city. Coming from the train, it cannot be avoided as any street or alley en route to the center reaches the canal in one short block off the main street and tram line. Lined by multistoried gabled townhouses, plied by the occasional tourist boat, and in season with restaurant-boats, any view of the canal is dominated by the slightly tilted steeple of the Oude Kerk in the background. Narrow bricked streets line the canals.
The townhouses lining the Oude Canal remain true to principle of historic appearances, but most appear to have gutted and reconstructed interiors. Many exteriors have renovations as well, most apparent in the modern windows. Many house businesses with scattered cute restaurants and the occasional hotel.
Delft is "awash" with canals, just like in Amsterdam. This is one of my favourite Delft photo's, taken on the corner of the Wijnhaven and Oude Langendijk, facing north.
A girl canoes past, people are enjoying food or a drink on the boat which is moored at one of the restaurants.
Delft is also the city of the many canals and stone footbridges: they are everywhere, and they are charming. Look into the water: you'lll see wonderful reflections of the surrounding buildings - they make for great photos.
if you're interested in art some of the scenes will be quite familiar: the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) painted them on canvas over 300 years ago. He was born and raised in Delft and loved his town so much that it became the subject of several of his paintings
The city center retains a large number of monumental buildings, whereas in many streets there are canals (Molsaan) of which the borders are connected by typical bridges, altogether making this city a notable tourist destination.
At some point the wooden upper construction was replaced with a stone upper construction, no longer hexagonal, but round. A drawing by Balthazar Joosz, from 1822, already shows the stone construction, so it must have been replaced before that year. Around 1990 the mill was thoroughly restored.
You can view the mill when the blue flag is out. Please ring if you would like to book a group visit.
Just like the other historical important Dutch towns, Delft had many "grachten" (= canals). These were of vital importance in the role that these towns had, namely: import and export! As being members of the VOC (Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie = United East-Indian Company) -ships form the East (and later also West) came in from far away countries bringing spices, silk, porselan and many other exotic goods. The journeys ended among other VOC-places also in Delft, where the goods were stored in storage houses. They were along the canals, a system of "roads" connecting with the harbour. With little boats the goods were brought and stored to be shipped again later to the highest bidder on the European market.
I had sought directions where I thought the accommodation should have been. It turned out that the street was correctly named and the one I wanted was actually a few kilometers away.
Not to worry, the day was young, the town was entertaining, I would walk. Apart from that you can't get cabs in the old town. I did a U-turn and was again facing the old church (pic 2).
I zig-zagged back, aiming for a gap where I could get to the other side of the motorway. I checked my bearings with a local again and it wasn't long before I was on the other side.
Here was a different world. One of the colour green. Verdant fields lay before me as I followed the path beside the canal for a little while.
I quickly came upon a converted windmill. It was now a residence. I hadn't seen anything like it before.
So, when I first arrived I strolled, as I so often do, not knowing or caring but soaking up the ambience of the town. Thus it was that I took a picture of a bridge, without taking too much notice of what was behind.
It turns out that it is a much weathered copy of a sculpted sandstone relief called "John of Patmos". This particular John is the one of evangelist fame and the original dates from around 1380 and can be found in the Reiner de Graaf hospice.
It actually sits above the entrance to the Bagijnhof. One of its most famous priests was Stalpart van der Wiele who was also a solicitor at the High Court of Holland and a writer to boot though his range of topics was generally limited to the Catholic Church. His statue can be seen in the garden behind the door.
The second picture depicts the Boterbrug, a crossing just behind the Markt.
I had a few hours up my sleeve before I moved back for my last night in Dilft and so I rode rather aimlessly and headed up the canal.
I was just getting my bearings when a ship came down the canal. Now, I'm used to 100,000 tonne plus boats coming in and out of Newcastle Harbour so it is a novelty for me to see these cute little canal boats plying their trade.
Though it all looks so romantic I can well imagine it's a fairly tough life.
Just liked this view thru the embrasure of the old gates.... like peeking thru the layer of history at the contemporary life....