When Selma and Manny woke up to their first day in Leiden, they were met and greeted by the other guests staying at the Rode Huis. Their fellow travelers were an older couple from Edinburgh, Scotland and pair of newly-weds from Perth in New South Wales, Australia. Even though they were all speaking the same language, to a casual rural Dutch farmer it probably sounded like a bunch of drunken Frisians.
After an hour of idle talk and inane conversation, they went down stairs to share a sumptuous breakfast of boiled eggs, fresh bread, assorted cold cuts and cheeses with coffee and more conversation.
“ Manny, if we are going to get what we came here for, I think it might a good idea for me to spend some time in the University Library while you scope out the town for touristy things, what do you think?”
“I’m sure they’ve got some galleries and museums that would be interesting and worth the time after I get through with my research.”
“You mean you’d like me to entertain myself, so you can do your work?”
“Well, if you put it that way, . . . . Yes.”
“OK. I’ll get a map and see what there is to see here that we don’t want to miss.”
“Great! And I’ll be able to see how to get to the Library. I know it’s in walking distance.”
A quick glance at the map showed that Selma was only about 150 feet from the University campus and that the route to the Library across campus and over the Paterbrug was also very close. Since the Rode Huis was canal-side and near the middle of the city, Manny was also able to identify a place to spend his first day alone.
“That Leiden American Pilgrim Museum over on the Beschuitsteeg sounds like it might be kind of interesting. I read somewhere that when the Pilgrims left England to escape religious persecution their first stop was in Holland.”