Monday, April 29, 2013

Delft and Den Hague

I decided to get out of Amsterdam for a little bit and head to some other towns. I had read that a trip to Delft, the Hague and Leiden could all be done on one train ticket and if you moved fast, all in one day.

This appealed to me, as I had no desire to get back to the hostel early, and I had wandered around Amsterdam enough at this point. I headed out to Delft, the furtherest away on the train, and arrived an hour later.

Gloomy clouds greeted me, and coupled with the huge construction zone in front of the train station, made for an in auspicious start. I headed out into town, though I was unable to find a tourist office to get a map and I started to wander.

The dutch are very practical when it comes to naming things (ok, they're practical when it comes to most things) and so I visited the "Neuw Kirk" or "New Church" and then wandered to the pottery museum. The Dutch have a more protestant history which doesn't lend itself to beautiful cathedrals, and stripped down churches don't have quite the same allure that embellished cathedrals do for some reason. After I took my browse around, I found the pottery museum. Delft is known for the white and blue pottery that was influenced by Chinese ceramics and adapted and made their own in the Netherlands. So even though I was pretty full up on museums, I was still excited to go. Except it was closed on Mondays. Ooops.

So I started just wandering around the town, taking in the smaller city, still full of canals like Amsterdam. Delft is very pretty, and in a weird way reminded me of Ridgewood. I walked around a while and found the shopping area, where I ducked into H&M to find an orange shirt for the next day (Queen's Day). I also stopped by other shops to get other doodads fro the upcoming celebration.

Around 4pm I hopped on a train, ready to see my next city. It was then that I realized the recommended 8 hours to see the cities meant 8 business hours. Most museums close at 5 or 6, though of course you can walk around a city for as long as you like. I got off in Den Hague, searching for a toilet. Just outside of the train station I saw a library. Perfect. Libraries are known for having books and toilets. I managed to scrounge up the 30 cents for the bathroom fee and went in.

I was tired of walking around, my bag seemed even heavier and I just was looking for a cafe to sit at anyway. The library fit all my needs and more- open until 8pm and free to sit in!

So I plunked myself down on a comfy couch, took a nap and read my book. At 7:30 I left and finally took note of the huge stage that had been erected in the square across from the library. I don't know any Dutch, but I was able to deduce that there was a free concert tonight at 7:30. Ok cool. I'd hang around for the concert, and then head back to Amsterdam. I enjoyed the performance, though I would have liked it better if I had a friend with me to share it with, but that's the nature of traveling alone.

After the concert ended, people quickly hurried away into town. I still hadn't gotten any further than the library, so I figured I'd follow the crowd and see a little of the town as well. It was then that I realized it was not just the one free concert, but a bunch of concerts happening around the Hague until midnight.

I was able to catch a few more, but reading the program was difficult for me, especially as I didn't know the square names and all that. The group I enjoyed the best was "Mister and Mississippi." They had a chill, folksy vibe.

My dogs were yapping, and so at 10:30 or so I headed back to the train station and back to my hostel. It was a very full day, not at all what I expected, but fun all the same.

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