The Hague Travel Blog› entry 3 of 7 › view all entries
I'm sitting in a café now. Sue has to work until about 7, so I will explore this city and visit the Mauritshaus which has a great collection of Dutch masters - Rembrandts, Vermeers, etc. and is the home of Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" which I would like to see. Finding the hotel wasn't difficult, but at the moment I'm not sure where I am - I'll ask the guy here in the café. I'm having a capuccino and a great bran muffin with walnuts and raisins which is really good. This place is really nice - I think I'll write a review... I figured out exactly where I am - got my bearings - I'm in a little courtyard called Haagse Bluf which is an interesting place. In renovating this area, they have conserved old facades but have surrounded them with nondescript gray/green surfaces.
After my coffee (I needed it, I've been up since 5 and am sleepy) I continued wandering around the city, through the "Passage" which is a covered arcade from the 19th century with interesting specialty shops. I read that this is the last covered arcade from that era remaining in the Netherlands. I walked all over the place and was able to see the Stadhuis - City Hall - which is a modern building designed by American Architect Richard Meier. It is an immense glass building. It is also referred to as "The Ice Palace." If you google him and check out his web site, there is a presentation about this building which can give you an idea of just how enormous it is and the feeling of space and light that it conveys.
The Mauritshaus kept me busy until I thought I should leave so as not to keep Sue waiting. It is a fantastic museum - especially the art on display, but the building itself is fantastic to see. It is a large house finished in 1644 in North Dutch Classical style and the paintings are displayed in elegant rooms. Definitely worth a visit! I wouldn't mind coming back. The paintings are incredible. It's amazing how these artists were able to so exactly portray reality and use light in fantastic ways. I read that artists specialized in specific parts of a painting.
The visit to the museum includes an audio guide. Do not forget to get this! It really adds to the experience when you are able to hear some insight about what you are seeing. I walked into one of the rooms, looked up and there was the girl with the golden earring looking at me. It is a beautiful painting. It was amazing to look up and see her unexpectedly. I could see how she could inspire Tracy Chevalier to write the book. A lot of the paintings here simply depict the reality of the times, sometimes with a kind of moralizing message.
After the museum I went to the hotel and took a short nap. I met with my sister and some friends at a little bar not far from the Beatrixkwartier tram stop and the fun began! We had a great time. After a couple beers we headed back to the center to a restaurant for dinner at a place called Café Restaurant Rootz. Fantastic! Somehow I ended up drinking a 13% alcohol Trappist beer! Good thing I've been getting some practice in Poland.
After dinner and some carousing, we headed back to the hotel. It wasn't late but we've got a lot to do tomorrow!