Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Netherlands: The Hague

In The Hague, we stayed at an AirBnB apartment with two cats! They weren’t as friendly as our cat friend Gasperino in Rome but they were still animals and it was fun to pet them and watch their crazy cat antics. After arriving from Amsterdam in the morning, we went to the Mauritshuis museum. It is a small museum but houses the famed Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer and The Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius. I was especially excited about seeing the latter as I recently read (listened to) the Pulitzer Prize winning book by Donna Tartt of the same name. I found it to be especially interesting to see the inspiration for a book that I enjoyed. We spent the rest of the evening wandering through the streets, enjoying the historic buildings and the atmosphere of the cafes and restaurants in the center of town.

The Goldfinch

The next day we went for a nice run in a nearby park and went to the grocery store to get breakfast provisions. We were leisurely about the food preparation and didn’t leave the apartment until about midday for a jaunt to Delft. Delft is the city that is home to the famous blue painted Dutch pottery. This pottery has been a recurring theme for us during our travels. It seems to be the primary export of the Dutch during their infamous trading days because we encountered the blue painted tiles (usually a windmill) almost everywhere we went in Asia. This made it a priority for us to acquire a piece for ourselves and to see the city where it's made. We visited one of only two places that still hand paints the pottery (the others use a machine) and had a short little tour of the shop. After that, we walked into the town center where they were having a lovely Saturday market. We perused the stalls and wandered into the churches as well. Another, classically fun and Dutch day.
We went for a fun run

In the workshop

The process of the pottery painting

Looking up at the church in Delft

Check out those lily pads! 

Our last full day in The Hague we spent planning. We have to do a lot more planning in Europe in order to maintain our budget and it can be quite time consuming. The next day we were on a train heading for Belgium!

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