Have you ever been to Holland? I hadn’t been before this August J In fact, after getting the multi-visa, The Netherlands became the dream destination for the nearest furute…em, actually not The Netherlands in a whole, but specifically Amsterdam. So it was quickly decided that the week before my birthday and my birthday itself would be spent in this “must visit” city with my friend.
But what would you do if your friend couldn’t have joined you for the whole week, but only for few days? That’s right – search for another options! Probably I was lucky enough this summer, because a slightly different way of spending this week appeared sooner than I expected. It turned out that my colleague was on a short international assignment in The Hague (or in den Haag, if you wish J) and kindly invited me to stay at her place for a couple of days. And trust me I am not an idiot to say “no” to such opportunity. She warned me of luck of free time she had had and advised to plan also something on my own. Been there, done that! J
To tell you the truth, I hate planning anything, as plans never work out and are always influenced by different circumstances. So by the time I got on the plane Kiev – Schiphol, all I knew was that I would visit few different cities, go to the sea (obligatory!!!) and then spend 4 days in Amsterdam with my friend. Almost a plan, right?)))
And here it was…Schiphol! One of the biggest airports, where you can even have a wedding and then fly to the honeymoon. But with whole this romance, I don’t think Schiphol and I have become even friends. Guys, it is enormous and so complicated for a simple blond girl, who, by the way, has been to lots of huge and weird airports, but this one has not become my type.
But even this couldn’t ruin my mood, as I arrived to The Netherlands and was going to live in the best apartment I have ever been to. But before this, some small tips for you, which can be useful at your arrival:
- first of all download on your phone NS Reisplanner. With this magical app you will be able to plan any trip across Holland you like and the best part is that you will know the exact time and platform you will need to go to find the train. This program will be very useful in the airport, as you won’t need to search for screens with information above each platform and will be able to plan you time after you’ve landed.
- you should easily find the ticket sales point and there are two options: yellow machines and the cash desk. For a newbie I will totally recommend the second one. Machines don’t accept paper cash; they probably won’t accept Visa cards…so why will you need so much stress from the beginning???
- Other two options are to buy a single ticket or to by NS pass. I had a pass with me already (thanks to another colleague of mine), so needed just to put some money on it. If you’re going only to one place specifically, better option is to buy a ticket, but if you’re planning to explore several cities, buy this pass and you won’t need to rely neither on the machines, nor on cash desks working hours.
- And some small last tip: Wi-Fi in Holland is almost everywhere and in the trains as well. So in case you need to contact anyone or to make a route to your hotel/apartment this small advantage will be very useful. It has become to me by the way, as I needed to inform my colleague, that I had arrived and was already heading to The Hague.
- Oh, oh, how could I forget? Take an umbrella with you. I mean it. Even though, I’ve never been to UK but heard a lot of stories about rains whole the time, Holland seems to be the same and in fact, even in summer. When I arrived to The Hague it was raining cats and dogs and luckily there was a roof under which I could wait my colleague for some time. Hopefully the sun decided to show up in some time.
So after I’ve used all those tips (except for umbrella) I’ve finally arrived to The Hague central railway station. You won’t imagine what happened next. I found myself on the 30th floor in an amazing white apartment 5 minutes away from the railway station with the city view, with the sea view and with the sun set view and with a separate cozy room prepared just for me. Could I dream about anything more amazing? I doubt so… J
To tell you the truth, I haven’t spent much time exploring The Hague, it became kind of a starting point for me to travel to Rotterdam, Utrecht, Gouda and to my final destination – Amsterdam. In order not to make a mess I would tell you guys about these awesome places in separate post, because some of these cities are just worth of attention.
Still, there was one place I went in The Hague and people who already know me a bit will quickly guess what it is. Right! To the sea! Where else I could have gone anyway?
There is a magical place in the suburb of The Hague called Scheveningen with a long beach line, cool seafood restaurants and amazing fairy houses that are standing there for more then 300 years. You will need to have a 30 minutes bike ride there…oh right! Bikes! How could I forget about them now? I am in a bicycle country!
Some few words on that first. I’ve never seen such huge amount of bikes before, I’ve never seen the special parking areas for the bikes before either, I’ve never thought that all the bicycles have two lockers in order not to be stolen (that is quite common in Holland by the way – mostly like a hobby). My colleague offered me hers, as she had two. In new buildings in which she was leaving there is a special parking place for bikes on the ground for. Well, that is somehow understandable. But imagine my surprise when I saw that there are special stairs in order you can easily pull out your bike out to the street without any efforts!!! All around it seemed to me, that there is nothing more special for all citizens of the Netherlands then their bicycles J
But anyway, for me there is nothing more important then sea, so I will continue telling you about that awesome place with long and complicated name – Scheveningen. The road there is amazing. Don’t go there by car, as you won’t notice all those fancy, old and very expensive villas on the way to the beach. It seems like each has a long history back to some 16-17th century. They are all so different, but extremely beautiful and charming. The bicycle road is going straight near all of them – so take your time just gazing (but don’t forget about safety!).
And here I was…beautiful sea with yellow sand (won’t mention much about the weather as it was +16), relaxed Dutchmen walking or riding back and forth, some are walking their dogs, others playing with children…the place is just perfect for the rest and not thinking about anything. I’ve parked my bike and went straight to the sea – cold, dark and not calm at all, but amazingly beautiful and welcoming. Only then I’ve realized that it has been already an hour that I had been sitting and staring not thinking about anything at all. Nirvana?
To end this perfect trip, get on your bike and have a small ride around the suburb, admire all those small old pretty houses; talk to locals (as they are very welcoming, or that was me lucky again?) and with full baggage of emotions feel free to come back to the city. For the people staying directly in Scheveningen I would recommend to feel it also in the early morning with a small run along the sea or at the evening admiring the sun set. I can hardly think of anyone who won’t like this place after all.
Have you ever been to Holland? Did you like it as I did? And if you’re interested in details of how I liked it even more, stay tuned (and I do promise to post sooner, then this post – it is just autumn guys with all its problems and uninspirational mood). And of course I will tell you about the place I’ve liked the most and the place I haven’t felt anything special about (and I am sure you will be shocked of my choices). See ya <3