Shuffling off to the train station Tuesday morning delivered quite a shock.We needed to board an 8:40A train to rendezvous with Rudolph in Den Haag at 9:30A, but our first train was running four minutes late ---> unforgivable!The realization was that we had been traveling all over the Netherlands on two non-working days, so perhaps we could grant a little leeway during rush hour.Remarkably, the sign boards on the platform advised you that things were running slow and advised us precisely of the delayed arrival time.
During the Den Haag connection we finished up our baguette and Gouda, without coffee, so that was at the top of the agenda after greeting Rudolph in the station.It was another sunny day and Rudolph set the tone by offering wonderful detail on the surrounding skyline as we sat outside at the Ooievaer café.
Den Haag skyline
I’m not going to spell out too many details in this piece on The Hague: better to refer you to Rudolph’s blogs and reviews for first hand knowledge!
The gang set off towards the first stop of the day, the PeacePalace, where Rudolph had arranged a tour for us at 11A.You can only witness the grandeur of the PeacePalace, home of the International Court of Justice, through a guided tour and Rudolph had not been inside since childhood.We went through security and Rudolph had a spirited exchange with a guard: he had employed both English and Dutch in his e-mails to set the tour up and they apparently slated us for the Dutch tour, lol.But things were quickly put to rights and off we went.
Our tour guide was Kathleen, a Belgian, who walked us through the magnificent interior which defies description.Art pieces and exotic construction materials have been donated by nations across the globe.Italian tiles, dovetailed oak ceilings from the US, Ming vases from China, Turkish carpets, rosewood furniture from Brazil…you get the picture…incredibly beautiful.
Bridge over Court Pond in Den Haag
You’ll have to take my word as photography is not permitted once you enter.
A touching story involved a scene painted on the ceiling of one of the chambers featuring Irene, goddess of Peace.Irene’s face was modeled after a gardener working at the Palace by the young man charged with creating the mural, due to his infatuation with her, and of course they ended up getting married.Touring the PeacePalace would prove to be one of the highlights of our time in Netherlands, a destination that certainly would have been overlooked without help from a TravBuddy.
After the tour we took a walk past the royal carriage house and the Binnenhof, the complex of buildings where government sits, with Rudolph providing informative overviews.Our tour proceeded through a park that seemed quite familiar, because we had already seen it through Rudolph’s brilliant photography on this site.On the fringe of the park was the entrance to the EscherMuseum, which I had expressed an interest in seeing.
Den Haag - in the Binnenhof
But the weather was too nice to squander it indoors, so we proceeded to an outdoor café for lunch (I forget, Rudolph, was it Greve?) with intentions of heading to Scheveningen afterwards.
We learned some more about the art of tipping in the Netherlands when settling up.Saturday night Rudolph clued us in that it was customary to tip around 10% for quality service.At Fidelio’s I paid by credit card and there wasn’t an opportunity to add the tip to that transaction, so we simply left some euros on the table.Today, however, Kim paid cash and tried to leave some more cash on the table.Rudolph educated us that when paying cash, just ‘round up’ to an even amount and don’t get change... much easier.