Though not the Netherlands’ capital, the Hague (Den Haag) is the home to the Dutch royal family, the International Court of Justice, and the Netherlands’ national government. The Hague is really a short train ride from Rotterdam. But of course when we got there, the normal route was under construction. I had my heart set on still going, so we found our way there though it took a bit longer. To make things worse, it was a rainy morning. But those two factors meant we had the city to ourselves!
Our first attraction was the Binnenhof. It’s a big governmental complex set along a tranquil lake. It definitely does not look like the US Capitol building, but it’s absolutely impressive. I could imagine a king waving to his subjects below!
We continued our tour on to the Peace Palace (Vredespaleis) to see where the magic (… or peace) happens. We took a little audio tour in the visitors hall to learn a bit of the history. It was built with funds from Andrew Carnegie just as WWI was gearing up (peace would have to wait). But eventually the Palace would be the site of some popular international arbitrations and trials, such as for Slobodan Milošević.
The rain stopped after our lunch (two enormous open faced sandwiches at Cafe Blossom) and we headed back into town. We stopped at an open air market. While Reini stopped to listen to a singing pianist, I snuck off and bought a bouquet of flowers. They had the most beautiful assortment there. Unfortunately because we had to fly back to Innsbruck, I knew I’d only be able to take one bundle back with me (or I totally would have gotten the pink ranunculus too!!). Just for 5 euros, my bouquet of white hyacinth must have had 40 stems! That thing was much heavier than I had thought. Thankfully Reini helped me to carry it. 🙂 It did safely survive the flight and when I opened it in Innsbruck, it made 6 vases full.. The apartment smelled incredible!
Anyway, after my big purchase, we headed toward the fun little town of Delft, described as a smaller, more quaint Amsterdam. It definitely is a charming town. We must have hit it on a holiday because there were many costumed people. We never did find out what the holiday was, but I highly doubt that there are normally people dressed as caterpillars and butterflies… We climbed one of the church towers for expansive views. In need of a break, we sipped on a pair of coffees on the deck of a café over a canal.
Overall, our short trip to the Netherlands was really lovely. It’s a small country that you can get around relatively easily by train. We got to see plenty of beautiful flowers, though I’m sure we would have seen even more had we waited until the middle of April to schedule our visit. I hope we’ll get to stop by again someday soon!