Our day started with a ride to The Hague (Den Haag).
Today is Prinsjesdag. It is a day seeped in tradition when the Head of State, Queen Beatrix, rides in the Golden Carriage from Paleis Noordeinde to the Binnenhof to read the Queen's Speech (Troonrede) on the opening day of Parliament. Therefore, the bus and train system was re-routed a little differently. We took the tram from Delft to Den Haag’s station, then took a bus to the beach. Normally, this tram would take us directly there.
Additional thousands of people filled the streets in order to wave to the Queen as she passed in her Golden Carriage. Simon and I chose to avoid the crowd, until it was over, and went to Kijkduin. Kijkduin is a sea-side resort. We visited Scheveningen last year. The difference was substantial. Unlike Scheveningen, this beach area was smaller and more tranquil. It was beautiful, breezy, but not too cold. We strolled and people watched. There were many places from which to choose to eat and we ended up at a Greek restaurant: Apollo. Let me say, I wish the choice had been different. I typically avoid restaurants that are overcrowded and ones that don’t have enough of a crowd. This one had many empty seats. Guess that is why the menu and food was not much to write home about.
What a joy it was to ride and walk down the streets of The Hague. It just blows my mind at the number of people that fill Dutch streets. Maybe because area-wise, this is really a tiny country and the cities areas are small. I know there some kind of statistic about The Netherlands having the most densely populated per square mile…or something like that…don’t quote me. But the number of people still is quite overwhelming to me.
We visited the museum that holds the Panorama. Panorama Mesdag is a cylindrical painting, more than 14 meters high and 120 meters in circumference. The vista of the sea, the dunes and Scheveningen village was painted by one of the most famous painters of The Hague School, Hendrik Willem Mesdag. It is the oldest 19th century panorama in the world in its original site. It was quite impressive. It’s kind of a surreal feeling to be surrounded by this painting. It looks so real. It’s easy to get lost while looking at the canvas.
From there we stopped at an Irish Pub. It’s funny, I go through the year without even thinking about a drink of wine or beer or anything, but my days in Europe hold a high possibility of some kind of alcoholic beverage from day-to-day.
Our day ended by catching the tram back to Delft. A stop for some Diet Pepsi and deli food and we were home. Simon is attending a meeting and I am here typing and watching “Grey’s Anatomy.” (With Dutch subtitles, of course).
Tomorrow we are off to Amsterdam and will stay over night. I stated earlier that we were going to Brussels on Saturday, but I was wrong. We will go next Tuesday. This coming Sunday is the International Day of Peace. The Hague will host various activities. We had to register via a web-site in order to get a tour of the International Court. There will be a parade and lots music. This should be quite fun too. Stay tuned.