Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside...
Scheveningen Travel Blog› entry 27 of 61 › view all entries
One of the great family activities in the clan Sarah Elaine's Parents, is going on day trips in inappropriate weather. As I spent several formative years (aged 2 1/2 to 6, more or less) on Shetland, and then moved to Fife, I was seven or eight before I realised that "picnic" does not generally refer to a baked potato eaten in the car in the driving rain. Seriously. Going to Southend Seafront in January for donuts is a regular family treat. Knowing that in advance will make this whole story make a lot more sense.
I actually intended to go to the museum Gemeente in Den Haag, but I was a little silly. I assumed that it was walking distance from the centre and would be on the tourist maps you can get from the little info machines in the station.
Wrong. I wandered around for about an hour and I must have been a block away for the last 50 minutes of it. The maps in the bus stops didn't have any of the streets that I was actually on marked, and I swear that the place the museum is marked on on the maps is not where it really is. For the first 45 minutes this was cool - I saw some nice buildings, and some more nice buildings, and a park, and then it got gradually harder to view it as a wander rather than just that I was plain lost.
I got off and followed the crowd up a slope and back down a slope to the coast. The wind was blowing straight off the North Sea, which was slate-grey and still wild-ish from the storm surge a couple of days ago. The sand was drifting over the rain-wet beach, the clouds were scudding along, my hat took off down the prom... Perfect Famile Sarah Elaine beach weather! I'm not joking - hot weather beaches are nice and relaxing and all, but I can burn through total block in a half hour of August sun, and whilst they are nice, they aren't very interesting.
At the point when I was beginning to worry about the cold-induced headache that my ears were getting (well, I know what I mean!), I came to the pier.
The museum was now back on the to-do list. I followed the tram lines to the stop that looked like it would work on the map, and found out that the museum was another fifteen minutes down an untrammed road.
I'm going to write a proper review of the Gemeente, but it was good and well worth a trip. Possibly not as long a trip as I made, but then, you'll be clever enough to get the silly bus, right? It's more to my taste than the more famous Mauritshuis, as it happens. I enjoyed my couple of hours there, and then went to go home.
I checked the tram, honestly I did. It was a seventeen tram, with centraal station written on the sign with the tram route on it.
Except that the tram did not want to go to the station. And I was half way back to the museum before I realised that the blasted thing had turned around at Grote Kirk. I got off, in what could best be described as a bit of a temper, and realised that I was getting a really unpleasant headache. This was because the only thing I'd eaten all day was a bag of chips - the landlord had still been painting the stairs and I just wanted to get out of the paintfumes, so I hadn't had any breakfast, and then I just hadn't wanted to stop. I hadn't even had a drink. At this point, with the sleet kicking in and my peripheral vision blocked by my hood, I was starting to feel like - well - there's really no way to persuade yourself that that's fun.
After a very slow train ride home, with my head banging, I was profoundly grateful to the lady in the Café T in the station for even existing. So the fact that the hot chocolate was genuinly great was a bonus. The house reeked of paint, and you could only stand on every second stair, but I was glad to get my dinner and go to bed.
Which is when a bunch of guys in the street started singing...
Still, all in all, a really good day.