Day 6: Den Haag

This morning, we awoke to beautiful sunny skies. We managed to get out of the apartment around 10-something, and then hopped the train out west to Den Haag (aka the Hauge), which is near the west coast of the Netherlands. We’d never gone that direction before, and it was a cool 40-minute trip that went through some farmlands.

Alas, once we got off the train in Den Haag, the weather had changed, and it was ominously warm and a bit overcast. We headed out towards our main sightseeing stop in Den Haag, the Mauritshuis (an art museum). Luckily, there were helpful signs all along the way to help us get there. However, a couple blocks from the station, we were distracted by a Subway.. Being that it was now just after noon, we decided it was lunch time. The menu was very similar to the Subway menus in the U.S. (with the addition of “chicken tikka” and the exclusion of my usual, the BLT [which I improvised by ordering a veggie delite with bacon]), though the price was of course a bit more expensive. Five-dollar six-inch sandwiches, maybe? The place itself was also swankier — it had a lounge-y upstairs area with couches and even some computers. The sandwiches were delicious.

After our quick lunch, it was only a five-minute walk to the Mauritshuis. As a bonus, an audio-tour device was included in the admission fee, so we were able to hear lots of cool facts about many of the paintings. Our main reason to go there was to see the Vermeer and Rembrandt paintings. This museum’s collection is apparently the best in the Netherlands, and the Vermeer paintings included the famous Girl With the Pearl Earring one. I must admit I have a low threshold when it comes to wandering museums of any kind, but this place wasn’t huge (just two floors, and maybe 9-10 rooms total) and the art was truly amazing.

When we exited the Mauritshuis, we were annoyed to discover the rains had moved in (though thankfully, not winds). However, we walked a few blocks around the Mauritshuis to take in the Parliament building and grounds (see picture).

Though I’d worn a winter hat and had on my rain jacket, A had unfortunately worn a hood-less jacket and didn’t have an umbrella. I had an umbrella (of course, being that I’m Ms. Preparation!), so I gave it to her. We then spent the next hour wandering around the various shopping areas. We’d been told to avoid buying much in Den Haag as everything is pricey, but I did pick up a couple souvenirs (a small Holland snow-globe for myself, and a ceramic windmill-scene thing for my parents). We then escaped into a little coffee place (NOT a “coffee house”!) to warm up and dry off with some hot chocolate (delicious!) and this apple pastry (so-so). Then we trudged back to the train station, and were back at U’s apartment around 6. U’s friend/co-worker Hemant was over, and had brought the fixings for pani puri, a delicious Indian dish (see this site for more on pani puri). We ate, talked, drank and talked some more. Then I spent a good hour online researching hostels in Prague. Finally settled on one (a bit more central than the one you’d recommended, Johanna) and went ahead and booked it. Nice to have that weight off my shoulders — I think figuring out lodging can be one of the hardest parts of trip planning, especially for someone like me who has certain standards for the bathroom situation!! Both of our rooms in Prague in Reykjavik have ensuite bathrooms..

Up next: We’re all three going to head into Utrecht for brunch at U’s favorite pastry place in the shopping/eating area of town by Centraal Station. Then we’re going to hop the train to Amsterdam to finish up our sightseeing there. Hoping to hit up the Van Gogh museum and Heineken factory, and then A has a 4 p.m. appointment at this well-known tattoo parlor in the Red Light District (she’s still working out the what/where details of her tattoo). We’ll also do some light shopping, I’m sure. And hopefully with the three brains between all of us, we won’t get lost quite so much this time! Saturday will be our last full day in the Netherlands, with our Prague trip now booked. Hard to believe it! I’m sure it’ll be great to spend time in Prague and Reykjavik, but I know I’ll miss U (of course!) and staying in an apartment. We certainly can’t leave our stuff out and about in a hostel, though our Prague room at least will contain just the two of us (our Reykjavik room could contain up to eight other ladies).



2 Responses to “Day 6: Den Haag”

  1. Aha, so you're coming over to the dark side of liking museums, eh? ;) (Kind of hard to get away from them in Europe anyway–that's where I really started to appreciate them more, I think.) And glad you found a hostel that works for you guys! I'm sure you have way more selection available at this time of year than in the height of tourist season, when we were there. Have fun!!

  2. Well, I've always liked museums, I just have a low tolerance for actually being in them, haha. Not sure yet whether we'll end up hitting any in Prague, though.There were indeed a ton of hostels to comb through to find our place over there; I'm hoping I got the right combination of service, location, cost, comfort and cleanliness!!

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