In England it was the most damaging storm since 1987; in the Netherlands there were some pretty good winds and lots of rain, which we seemed to follow throughout the day!

After some difficulty, we finally made train reservations to Luxembourg, our next stop. Then we rode the trains to Delft, through Utrecht (which has a nifty modern station) and Rotterdam, pausing to grab a standup lunch.

When we got to Delft, it was lightly raining. We asked the railroad agent for the tourist bureau, and she gave us a printed sheet of directions. It was about a half-mile, and we appreciated some historic buildings along the way: The tile-roofed building surrounds a small garden courtyard with a fountain Courtyard at the factory an 1862 synagogue, a 1600 stepped gable, and a late Gothic entrance dating from 1545. We walked into the market square, flanked by the town hall and the church; no market today. We spotted the old printing house building called The Silver-clasped Bible, which still bears its insignia, hanging above its door. Then down the square to the tourist bureau (in Dutch it's VVV.)

We asked about the Royal Delft factory, and got more walking directions (to take the bus we'd have to walk all the way back to the train station first). It was another three-quarters of a mile, through some more scenic Delft. We really felt it would have been more scenic if it weren't so wet and windy; we'd certainly like to come back again in good weather.

When we got to Royal Delft, we were pretty well soaked, but we dried out some as we saw the process of making the beautiful blue Delft earthenware. First the clay mixture is poured into molds, layer by layer, then pressed (for plates), decorated with a surface layer of pure clay, fired once to become bisque, marked for painting, painted (the traditional Delft blue looks black when painted on), glazed, and fired again. The results are quite beautiful; it's entirely a hand process, and requires a lot of skill and craftsmanship.

Our sales resistance was high as we exited through the showroom. The attendant gave us vague directions how to walk back to the station; this was when the wind and rain were heaviest. We even caught sight of some small pieces Two cars in a row facing one way, nose to nose with three cars facing the other way, no way out... Traffic impasse at the hotel of hail. We were soaking wet by the time we got to the station, and, on the ride back to Amsterdam, decided to be more cautious before venturing out on foot in bad weather!

On the trains today we noted acres and acres of greenhouses; we don't know what crops are being grown; perhaps flowers for international shipment.

One last note: we took a taxi back to the hotel, anxious to get out of our wet clothes. The street which approaches the hotel entrance was dug up at one end. Our cab drove up behind two cars, stopped head-to-head in the middle of the street. We paid the fare and got out, leaving him to sort it out. Soon there were three or four cars stopped in each direction. Of course both sides of the street were filled with parked cars. To solve this problem, someone would have to get out and direct the traffic; noone around was interested in doing this. We took a picture of this local stalemate.