Day 3: Off to Den Haag! We had 10 AM tickets to Mauritshuis and arrived at around 8:30 AM so we wandered around. The first thing I remember noticing was that although it’s a big city it’s unusually hushed because there’s way more bikes than cars, at least on the streets around the station. I can’t remember ever being in a large city where there wasn’t a constant sound of cars, horns, sirens, etc. There was a sort of hushed swooshing soundtrack to this place. Bikes, bikes, bikes everywhere. It was around this time that I realized I might have been a little too zealous in my water drinking that morning because I suddenly needed a toilet but some places were not yet open and we started a frantic power walk to different stores to find one. I saw a KFC with lights on and door wide open so I walked in startling a woman mopping the floor (who was the only person on the entire trip I encountered that didn’t speak English). She said what obviously translated to “we’re closed.” I tried to mime needing the toilet and pointed to the open door of the toilet just a few steps away hoping she’d take pity on me but she shouted something out to someone and sort of held the mop up in a defensive stance. I thought, my god, this poor woman thinks I’m going to rob them or something. I sheepishly apologized and backed away and it was around this time that my husband waved me over from up the street where he had found a Dunkin’ with a bored guy behind the counter who waved me downstairs to the WC. Phew.
There were about 20 of us that entered the museum at opening time so it was nice and uncrowded. I loved the Mauritshuis! It’s such a beautiful building and I was enamored with the Vermeers. I had The Girl with the Pearl Earring to myself for a while and she’s a stunner. I also really loved A View of Delft and of course the Rembrandts.
After the museum we walked around the water to see the Binnenhof and I contemplated the herring stand nearby but no, not yet. We wandered around Noordeinde street and window shopped and saw Noordeinde Palace. This area was very nice and I liked how the architecture was so different to the other parts of the Netherlands I’d seen so far. Had a great lunch in a nice Italian café called Da Lina’s Little Italy where we had some delicious sandwiches and coffee. Afterwards we made our way to the Grote Kerk but urgh, it was closed that day. We then walked down Lange Voorhout Street and sat on one of the benches before walking back to the train station and heading back to Delft.
Final walk around Delft for our last night here. Purchased a cute little blue and white clogs figurine from one of the stores on the square (cheesy, I know, but it looks nice perched on my mantlepiece). Had dinner on the patio of a restaurant called Wijnhaven where we had beer instead of wine and I had chicken satay and he had a burger. During dinner my husband said “I have a feeling I won’t like the other places on this trip as much as I like Delft.” Awww.
Hotel Grand Canal: Loved this place. Small, clean, perfect location, good price and excellent abundant breakfast. The only downside was there seemed to be some kind of school event happening at the time we stayed there and this resulted in rambunctious street noise. They seemed to be aware of this and provided ear plugs on the night stands.
Final thoughts: Loved Gouda, like and enjoyed Den Haag, but wow did I love Delft. It’s not that I had low expectations, and maybe (?) there’s an emotional attachment because it was the first place, but it was just lovely. Not too big, not too small, lively atmosphere, so old looking – everywhere I turned it looked like a painting. Easy to see why Vermeer was so inspired. I couldn’t stop taking pictures and walking down every little street. It was bittersweet to leave.