The third day, we took the train to the Hague, which is a very fine city, the matron to Amsterdam’s floozy. The government buildings were particularly impressive as were the Mauritshuis museum and another devoted to Escher.
I’m too old to feel shame so I’ll just say it. I went to neither. It put me in mind of a similar experience in America many years ago. After a 36 day tour where I’d tried to do everything, we finally arrived at George Washington’s house. It was too much. I'd had too much. I remember lying on a vivid green lawn staring up at boldest of blue skies and going asleep. It’s my only memory of George Washington’s house, but it’s a pleasant one.
Now, after six hours in the Van Gogh museum, I was similarly galleried out: aching legs and a brain sizzling with sunflowers.
My wife went to the Escher museum, I ambled across to the Mauritshuis, which holds some fine Rembrandts and Vermeers, but instead of going in, I sat outside reading my kindle and listening to tourists.
Inside is a stylish cafe which sells some excellent beer. Rembrandt tomorrow, maybe.
They had cyclists in the Hague, too, but much better dressed ones and far more sedate. Or maybe I was just getting a little more used to them.
We walked about five miles that day passing some pretty intriguing statues like this for example. The statue of Johan Rudolph Thorbecke is a case in point. I was pleased to note that he was the man who drew up the Dutch constitution guaranteeing more religious, personal and political freedom to ordinary citizens. Worthy stuff. But I was equally intrigued by the other half of the statue showing a woman with erotically crossed legs; well, as erotic as you can be in stainless steel.
And like Amsterdam, it was packed with beautiful buildings that made you groan to think of the steel and glass monoliths that dominate our present day culture.
The three pictures below are those of the Binnenhof, essentially the seat of Government.
I like the contrast between old and new - and where the new has yet to take over
I loved the lavish architecture looming over every shop
A house that caught my fancy
The Noordeinde Palace - one of the three official royal palaces.