Friday, 2 November 2018

The Hague Part II



Found this gnarly pumpkin in a shop window.

I spent my second day in The Hague relaxing lengthways across the couch. I had been on the go solidly for a week, so it was nice just to take over the house and catch up with e-mails. Tamsin and Guido have a big window with a lovely view of the sky, and their apartment is full of interesting things they picked up during their year travelling around the world.



That evening, we went to Didong, a really lovely Indonesian restaurant where Tamsin used to work when she first moved to Holland. Working there really helped to improve her Dutch and it was really impressive watching her speaking fluently with everyone. Made me ashamed of just how far my Kinyarwanda hasn't progressed.







Like the Lebanese in Luxembourg, they did a wonderful spread of different dishes to try, all of which were very yummy. It was a really nice evening with plenty of laughter.

The next day, Tamsin headed to work and Guido went to a meeting, but he was back by 1 p.m. so we decided to take a little jaunt to the Escher Museum. It was absolutely fantastic, a fine collection of the works of artist Maurits Cornelis Escher, housed in a beautiful former palace of Queen Emma. The building was as beautiful as the artwork. Another nice thing about the museum was that you're free to take photographs without the flash, which means I can now share some of my favourite parts with you.










Display by Rinus Roelofs



 
 
 
  
I liked this one so much I bought a paperweight of it.
 
Light Tunnel
Every room had an impressive chandelier in a different shape, from innocent umbrellas to scary skulls, and even one of an atomic bomb falling!


 

The gift shop also sold some cool lamps. They look 3D but they're actually completely flat, 2D.




One of the best optical illusion was this one called Building on the Move by Patrick LaHeyne.





Thoroughly enjoyed the Escher Museum. Highly recommended for escaping the cold, winter weather in The Hague. We ventured back out afterwards, on a mission to buy darts for my friend's dartboard back in Kigali.



Guido took me past Parliament. That little tower on the far left is the Prime Minister's office. Their version of No.10 Downing Street.

I think something you really notice, even in comparison to Britain, is how low the police presence is. No bobby on the beat outside. No armed guard with a big gun, like you find on every street corner in Kigali. It's a very relaxed country, which does add to a sense of peaceful freedom. 



We also went past the Mauritshuis where the famous painting Girl with a Pearl Earring is housed.




We stopped for a traditional Dutch meatball on the way, then piled back onto the tram and headed for home to get warm. Guido cooked a very traditional Dutch dish, stamppot, which is mashed potato with greens. We had it with vegetarian rookworst as Tamsin is vegy. Good comfort food.


It was a lovely few days rest after the crazy of Luxembourg and TED. Very much enjoyed emptying the wine bottles with Tamsin and Guido, though the cold was quite something. I wonder if I could ever live in those temperatures again, though I'd probably be all right if I bought a decent coat. Rwanda definitely has a more sensible climate.

It was up at 5 a.m. the next morning to get my taxi to Schiphol for a direct flight back to Kigali. The homeward flight was nicer than the one out - fewer passengers, so more room. Sat next to a guy at the gate who is coming out to organise the new Zipline drones for blood delivery. Hugely important work, though does sound a bit too similar to Zeppelin... as in lead... going down like...



I did feel a wonderful sense of being home when the plane landed. Got a taxi back to my place, had a quick shower, then joined a couple of friends at the local bar. 

Home Sweet Home
We were stranded there for a while because the rains came, which brought out these flying bugs which always make me think of fairies. They appear in their hundreds during the first wet.