May 14, 2016
I fell asleep in Paris, drowsily raised my head in Antwerp, and woke up in The Hague. I don’t know what the Dutch driver did but we left Paris half and hour late yet arrived in The Netherlands an hour early. It was 6:00am and I was in The Hague Central train station which was freezing cold so I went to sit in the Starbucks — which was still freezing plus I spent 2.45 on a coffee that I didn’t need. But at least it gave me some place to be for 2 hours. When 8:30 rolled around, I left to explore the city. It was nice to be back in a city with canals and stroll past tall, brick buildings, and get lost in random parks where bunnies with fluffy tails actually darted past me.
I wish I could have gone to the tulip fields but the weather wasn’t wonderful and I had a feeling that the tulip fields wouldn’t have been as grand as they were a few weeks earlier. I did manage to see some tulips still blooming in the city center and they shone brightly against the backdrop of grey clouds.
Most of the streets were empty — I suppose because it was still early in the morning but also because the shops don’t open until noon and because it’s a long weekend. I did wander into some shops when it started raining and I wanted to buy so many clothes — but I didn’t, because I know I don’t need them…I just want them. Oh, but I really did want them though. I wish I was rich.
I also wandered in a few bookshops and of course, the whole time I was thinking “one day, one day, one day…” I cannot wait until the day “one day” becomes today.
I also found shelter in McDonalds for a bit but then the guy asked me what I was ordering so I got up shortly after that to avoid his questions because I didn’t want to order anything. I just wanted to hide from the rain.
The Hague is known as the City of Peace of Justice. It is the location of the Peace Palace and the International Court of Justice — I visited the palace for the 30 minute audio tour which was very interesting. It is also the location of Palace Noordeinde which is where the King lives. Unfortunately, I did not see the King though…and I wouldn’t have recognized him even if he did happen to pass me on the street. I also stepped in the historical Binnenhof, which is the heart of Dutch government.
In the afternoon, the weather improved and some of the markets came to life. I also saw these pictures displayed in a window and I liked the contemporary flavour of them. Fun fact: the original “Girl with a Pearl Earring” is on display at the Mauritshuis located in The Hague.
I decided to buy herring because all the lists of things to eat when in The Netherlands were topped by ‘herring.’ Since I didn’t get it the last time I was in Amsterdam, I decided to try it now. I got “broodje haring” which is herring on a slice of bread, with added onions. It was very tasty and I sat on a bench by one of the canals and it all felt very nice…until about 2 hours later, when I suddenly felt awful. I thought I got food poisoning but apparently, you just shouldn’t eat raw fish on a somewhat empty stomach…who knew! After eating some crackers, I felt much better.