I haven’t wrote anything for awhile. So I will update briefly about my current travels. I am now living in The Hague in the Netherlands.
My first Impressions
Tall, leggy, males and females. Lots of the women have long blonde hair. They look so relaxed and at ease as they cycle around the city. CYCLISTS RULE in this city, there are wide red bike lanes next to pedestrian pavements. The only problem when you first arrive is that you might step onto the cyclist lane BY MISTAKE and notice 6 cyclists heading straight for you. You soon get used to it. I will probably buy a bike in the near future but until then I use the tram or train. Where I live though is walkable to both the city and the beaches. I found a nice 1920’s apartment with rooftop terrace through Airbnb. Inside there are 2 steep winding staircases. I did slip on the stairs once and fell on my butt – ouch! and no I wasn’t drunk haha…
The Hague is so much nicer ( I think) than Amsterdam. There’s a nice long white beach (The Strand) that stretches for 11 km (6.8miles) along the coast, with the North Sea just steps away. The quieter beaches can be accessed from different locations in the Westduin Park. If you walk or run the 11 km beach you will notice that there are 12 different styles of beach on this same strip. Most popular for tourists is Scheveningen at one end of the beach and Kijkduin at the other. But if you want quiet there are lots of areas to choose from. There are 3 nudist beaches and 7 dog beaches, lots of family oriented places, beach bars, barbeques, pizza or coffee bars, trampolines, kite surfing, tents, you name it they have it. I like the wooden bike carriage that people use to cycle their kids around in. Each beach entrance is marked from ‘Strandslag 1’ to ‘Stranslag 12’. I stumbled on one of the nudist beaches one day. Clothing is optional.
Westduin Park runs behind the coastline with sand dunes, cycle and walking paths and horse trails. There’s a group of Scottish cows that roam around the park, their main purpose being to keep the grass short and to improve the soil with their manure. Don’t be alarmed when you first see them they are harmless. Just keep walking or cycling.
Bungy Jumping at the Pier.
The pier and promenade at Scheveningen has lots of activity. You can walk along and have ice-cream or sit down and have a fish/meat barbeque or frenchfries with mayo. Most places will charge €1 extra for a tiny sachet of mayo. You can try bungy jumping at the end of the pier or ride the ferris wheel or simply hang out at the beach. Or visit the iconic Grand Hotel.
The famous copper ‘sculptures of the sea‘ are also on display by the artist Tom Otterness.
If you are staying more than a few days and want to travel around the city by tram it’s better to get an OV-CHIPCARD.
The cost is €7.50 and you top up when necessary.Remember to Tap In and Tap Out for each journey. If you forget you will be charged €4. It can be a pain sometimes.
If you want to use the train you need a minimum of €20 on the card and it has be activated at the station
This is the name of the local supermarket and they are everywhere in the Hague. People carry AH blue an white bags everywhere. What I like most about AH is the self-service fresh orange Juice Machine, with boxes of oranges beside it. You add the oranges to the machine to keep it topped up. Also you can have free coffee whilst you shop. You can buy quality wine and beer for a reasonable price. There are good choices of cheese and yoghurt and pancakes with bacon attached on top. There is a bottle machine that is handy, you pop in your empties and then you get a credit note at the end. Make sure to get a bonus card from the cashier and check online for weekly specials.Recycling bins are always close to AH.
Use ‘Google Translate’ for words you have a problem with, especially at the supermarket. Simple steps first. At the supermarket the cashier always asks if you want a receipt, best thing to say is ‘Ja alsjeblieft’ pronounced ‘Ya al-shoo-blieft’ meaning yes please. Then say ‘Dank je wel’ pronounced ‘Dunk- ye-vel’. The letter G is the sound you make when coughing up phlegm. Good Morning (Goede Morgen) has 2 G’s so it is not that easy to say, sounds like ‘Who-de Mor-hey’.
Mauritius Museum – This is a nice museum with a great coffee shop. Rembrandt, Rubens and Vermeer paintings to name a few.
Louwman museum – I was surprised at how big this place was and how many cars. Over 200 – it was really amazing.
These are two museums I’ve been to but there are lots more.
The Passage – high glass ceilings, elegant shops. Relaxing, no bikes yeh!
Grote Marktstraat – Near to The Passage, a street with lots of shops, local and International. M&S, Zara, Sting, Starbucks, Primark, Tkmaxx is opening October 2016
Fahrenheitstraat – This is my local Street. It has AH, Hema, Blokker. There are three chemists : Etos, Kruidvat, Trekpleister. Lots of cafes, bakeries, cheese shops and fashion boutiques. Also Brainwash (a cheap haircut chain)
Frederik Hendriklaan – Nicknamed ‘The Fred‘ This is a longer version of Fahrenheitstraat. Bigger variety of restaurants and shops. Paagman bookstore, the cafe inside serves the best coffee and cake.
Prinsestraat – Lots of trendy boutiques, good cafes and restaurants.
And finally, my first Impression of the Nightlife.
Grote Markt square and the Plein area are great places for cafes, restaurants and listening to music in the evening.
I’m sure I’ll find more areas to try as time goes on.