Monday, October 6, 2014

Whole Haag (picspicspics)

Last Friday Hunter had the day off. On Thursday, he messaged me asking about going to The Hague for the weekend. I thought it was a great idea because we hadn't gone anywhere since our London trip in July. It's about a 3.5 hr train ride, which Sadie handled pretty well. This time, I managed to get us a hotel near the train station. This is super convenient for us; since we usually leave our bags at the hotel on the last day, it's easy to just pick them up and walk to the station when we are ready to go.

On the first day, we went to the M.C. Escher museum, which is one of the reasons I had wanted to visit The Hague in the first place. The cost was a little steep for a pretty small museum, but it was pretty cool. They had one of the wood blocks he actually used and a ton of his prints. It was pretty cool to look at the prints up close. They also had a few sort of interactive things: a glass ball you could look at your reflection in and things with weird perspectives where if you took pictures would look cool. I was hoping the gift shop would have like, a small kids puzzle like the Magritte one I got for Sadie, but there wasn't really anything like that. The only puzzles they had were huge ones. I didn't get any pictures there, because the camera was still in the suitcase and my phone battery was dying.

We went back to the hotel to rest and decide what to do about dinner. By this time, I had a pretty bad migraine. I'd had a headache since the night before and had managed to power through but it was getting to where I couldn't do that anymore. I took a bath and rested and then we decided we should think about dinner. We wanted to try Indonesian food again. We had it in Amsterdam and it was pretty tough with Sadie because the restaurant was really crowded, as was the table. This time we went to a place that actually had a high chair and we had a 4-person table so there was plenty of room for everything. It was pretty delicious. I didn't get any big pics, but here is one I posted to Instagram of Sadie eating some Bami Goreng. It's comparable to chow mein, if you've never had it. Indonesian food seems to be as popular in Holland as Chinese is in America. If I understand correctly, it's also the main place in Europe where peanut butter is a thing that people eat. In the German grocery stores, there are two jars of peanut butter, one creamy and one crunchy, and the jar has an American flag on it. There was also a fried banana thing that Sadie liked. I don't even like bananas and I liked it, but I let Sadie eat most of mine.

After dinner we headed back to the hotel. We watched some Archer Vice on Netherlands Netflix and drank a couple of beers we had picked up at the grocery store.

The next morning, Saturday, I got up and went out to get some breakfast for us. We had seen a few bakeries the day before. It was about 8:00 am when I went out. The bakeries were closed. Of the ones that were open on the weekend, they didn't open until 9:00! In Germany, you get there at 9 and stuff is gonna be pretty picked through. So I got stuff at the grocery store. It was pretty dead out there, I guess The Hague is not a city of early risers! Our plan for the morning was to go to the Mauritshuis, which is the major museum in The Hague. The most famous painting they have is "Girl With a Pearl Earring" and they have some other major works as well. I also wanted to see "The Goldfinch," since Hunter and I both read the Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel earlier this year. They also had a bunch of my favorite thing, which is the sort of grotesque still-lifes with lots of food in them and probably a clock. There was a surprising lack of paintings of religious scenes with the patron inserted into them; I only saw one confirmed. Really there wasn't as much religious art as some of the other museums we've been to. I was able to get Sadie a children's book featuring most of the art in the museum as well as a rubber duckie with a pearl earring!

After that, we decided to walk around and check out a few sites. There are a few churches, that you can't really go into, and a palace.

There was this canal with a big fountain; I figured we should get a picture by it.

In front of the palace. Sadie is asleep in these last few if you couldn't tell.

I wanted to get closer to this statue to figure out what its deal was. Getting closer didn't help.

We had fries for lunch, walked around a bit more, then stopped for a drink and a snack. We got Sadie some "poffertjes," little Dutch pancakes with lots of butter and powdered sugar. She enjoyed them, as you can see from the pictures!

Saturday night for dinner, we continued our tradition of eating Ethiopian (well, ok, in this case Eritrean) food in cities around the world. I called to make a reservation, because it was a Saturday night and I'm used to Germany where like, the burger place around the corner takes reservations. So, we got there and it was completely empty. But really, that's probably better for Sadie, so OK. Also, they were out of several of the things we wanted, so we ended up just getting some pretty standard stuff. It tasted fine; my theory is that the taste was partially affected by our perception of the place and its emptiness. I had hoped that Sadie would have a bit more fun with the injera, but she wasn't super into it. The proprietress was really nice; she showed me the kind of baby carrier they use in Eritrea and even gave us an umbrella since it was POURING outside. We planned to bring back the umbrella the next day, but the wind kinda ruined it so... oops.

Once we got home we watched some more Archer Vice, but were too tired to finish off the season, sadly.

Sunday, we had two things we wanted to do: walk through this park that was across the street from our hotel, and visit the beach. 

View of the park from our hotel room

We walked through the park and I had thought there might be cows there, since I had heard something like a moo-ing a few times, but it was actually what I think was a bull reindeer--I can't be certain because I couldn't get really close. Here are the best pics I was able to get:

I'll be honest, I didn't know deer made noises.

We saw some other wildlife as we walked through. I felt like a person from the city who had never seen an animal before! (For those of you who don't know, I'm from the country. I grew up with deer in my backyard. There is nothing really new about these animals to me, yet I was still compelled to take pictures. I don't even like animals, so it's a bit confusing even to me).

After the walk through the park, our plan was to go look at the nearby beach and eat some pancakes. We took the tram up and walked down to the water. I felt it because it looked super cold, but it wasn't that bad. I mean, for those of you who are used to the gulf, yeah, it would be pretty frigid but I'd say it was comparable to a California beach.

I'm not typically a beach person. I would never, like, choose to go to a beach for vacation. But if I had to, I'd probably go to this one. It was nice and cool and everyone was wearing long sleeves and pants, even the little kids wading in the water.

The artsy shot, courtesy of Hunter.

After the walk down the beach, we continued one of our more shameful travel traditions. We ended up eating an overpriced meal at a touristy place. We kinda messed up knowing where the pancake place we wanted to go to was, and it wasn't anywhere nearby, so we ate at a place that was right down on the beach. So, that was cool, but it was nothing special. We basically always end up having one meal like this. We got Sadie a pancake and of course I couldn't resist taking a bunch of pictures.

Since Sadie slept through our first foray down the shore we took her down to play in the sand. I took off her tights and sweater so we could put them back on and they wouldn't be sandy. 

Another collage, since I took way too many pics.

She seemed to like it. She was pretty unsure what was going on at first; I guess it was a new texture for her little feet. She also was eventually shivering, which was pretty much the first time I'd ever seen her visibly cold. As you can probably tell from the pictures of me, it was pretty windy.

I have a few other random pictures of things I saw.

Several views of the giant bike parking facility outside the train station.

 Some skyline

 Our hotel

Public library. It looked super nice on the inside, too.

We had a pretty good time. We don't feel like we need to go back; we saw the things we needed to see, but it was fun and probably a little more relaxing than some trips. Sadie was so good and she didn't really start fussing until the train ride home. I wore her on my back during the trip, which is easier than on the front now that she is getting big! Hunter said every time I put her into the backpack people looked at me like they thought she was going to fall. Honestly I didn't think it would be possible to put her in the backpack myself, but I'm getting pretty good at it. 

I'm not sure when our next trip will be, but Hunter has a lot of vacation days. Like, a lot. Like, he thought he had 29 that would expire at the end of this year, although they probably won't. So even though he doesn't have official time off until Christmas, we may take another few days to go somewhere cool. We both really want to see Vienna, so that's an option. Anyway, until next time!

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