Trip Start Aug 18, 2011
41Trip End Ongoing
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The Hague is not an official capital of The Netherlands, but it is sort of like the head of the government. The parliament meets in the city and Queen Beatrix lives in The Hague most of the time, even though her official residence is in Amsterdam, the Royal palace was nestled in a little park in the heart of the city
The beginning of the day was pretty cold so we kept warm by walking around. We looked around the court yard of the parliament building, the oldest building was from the 1300's, but that building is only used for ceremonial purposes now, the chambers that are used now are much newer. The entire complex is edged by a huge lake, I am not sure if this was originally a moat, or is natural, but it was very striking either way.
Just outside of the parliament complex was a museum that we were supposed to see before we died that housed the Dutch Mona Lisa, painted by Johannes Vermeer. However, the museum was under construction and a good portion of the collection had been moved and was preparing to tour the world while the renovations were taking place. Since I wanted to see the painting, “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” we decided to go. The price was not very expensive, so after a lunch at KFC, (Victor’s choice, not mine,) we went to see the Dutch masters. This was also a practical choice, because it killed time and it was warm inside.
The art was moved to the Prince William V gallery across the street from the parliament building
After we were finished in the gallery we had to head to the Palace of Peace to meet up with a friend
We met in front of the Peace Palace, (after Victor and I had gotten lost and ended up being late.) The palace was donated by Andrew Carnegie the money for it to promote peace and prevent wars. However, this was the year before World War One broke out, so this did not exactly work. The building was nice though.
There was an eternal flame monument that was made up of five flames from the seven continents; we were trying to figure out which continents did not get counted as part of the world. The names of the countries were on a small brass line surrounding a rock garden of stones that were donated form all over the world. The American rock was ugly.
Pierre suggested that we could walk down to the ocean and see the pier. It was a bit of a hike, but walks are always shorter when you have someone to talk to.
At the beach we found a sculpture garden which Pierre had found a little creepy, but then we found the plaque describing what it was. The statues were all of fairy tales, some were world famous and others were only Dutch. I explained to Pierre about the Hans Brinker one, he did not understand the statue with its finger in the wall, when I explained that Hans was stopping the leak on the Dyke, the statue made a lot more sense
At the seaside Victor and I got a chance to try a Dutch delicacy, raw herring with onions. It was actually good. The tour guide from our day trip to The Keukenhoff Gardens said that the Dutch way of eating the herring was to tilt your head back and open your mouth, so that is what we did. It was sort of hard to keep the onions in-between the fish when we held it by its tail though.
After the cuisine adventure we walked out on a very long pier. This pier was a replacement for the original pier that was built around the turn of the century. The original one had been a place for the upper crust of society to come and be seen. It however, was torn down by the Nazi’s out of spite. The new one was built in the 1960’s.
At the end of the pier was a tower, where in the summer you can bungee jump off of. It gave us a good vantage point of the city where we could see a classic old hotel that had survived the war. We wandered into the hotel and joked that we would stay here when we win the lottery. It was a posh, cushy sort of seas side hotel
The three of us hiked back into town and enjoyed the last spots of sunshine while enjoying a cold beer which was a perfect end to the day. Pierre had to leave us not long after, because he was headed home for Easter and had yet to pack. So he walked us halfway to the train station and we said our goodbyes.
Victor and I walked back to the train station where we bought a small dinner and caught the train back to Delft for our last night in The Netherlands.