06 July 2015
Fiet in the Sand (The Hague, NL)
I'd never really heard of the Hague until recently when some friends suggested we spend the weekend there. "Where's the place?" "Somewhere on the coast." "Alright." went the conversation. Looking then at a map, I see that it is indeed a coastal city south of Amsterdam. Amsterdam. That's all you ever hear about when people talk about the Netherlands. Anyway, we packed our bags and drove out to the ocean to see what this place is all about.
Basically, the Hague is the Dutch version of Atlantic City, minus all the casinos. Well, Scheveningen beach, anyway. There is a boardwalk, lots of restaurants and bars and places to shop. The beach is sandy and mostly clean, save for a shard of glass here or there, but no hypodermic needles or anything. The particular weekend we were there, the beach was populated by dozens and dozens of volleyball nets, and the rest of the people seemed to be taking part in a giant square-dancing festival. Just when you span the globe to escape American Country Western music, it sneaks up and fills your ears with its twangy warbles.
The rest of the city is all business, though. In fact, the Dutch Parliament and the International Criminal Court are both located in the city, amongst other governmental and business establishments. You also have your centrums, lined with cafes and bakeries, through which you may want to stroll in a leisurely manner. Like almost all Dutch cities, the bicycle infrastructure is quite robust, though there were a few times it just seemed to disappear beneath you and you had to share a road with trolleys and automobiles and guys "walking" their dog.
The hotel we stayed at rented out bikes (or fiets as they are called in Dutch... get the title now?) for €16, good for a 24-hour period. That's a pretty nice deal. They were Gazelle M.P.B.s and for a city bike, very responsive. We rode them down the boardwalk, stopped for ice cream, wandered through the town some more and basically saw most of the Scheveningen area. I would have liked to spend the rest of the day riding, but we had dinner reservations and not everyone shares my enthusiasm for getting lost via bicycle.
When we return to the Hague in the future, I’d certainly like to check out the other parts of the city. But the main attraction, like most seaside towns, is the ocean itself and we were happy to enjoy a couple days taking in the sight of it.
- Bicyclist Abroad