Today we packed up and headed in to Delft!
And, Delft was oh so lovely. I could live here. The sun was shining. The infrastructure was fantastic. The people were friendly. The architecture was great. It is a smaller city, to be sure, but a great size, close to the ocean, and easy to get to other great places from.
We stopped in a touristy square lined with gift shops and cafes, but it was surrounded by beautiful lines and the Delft cathedral, so we couldn’t say no. It was also quite quiet at this hour so the girls could run around and stretch their legs. My youngest got out her bike and enjoyed her freedom.
We had a really good meal at a cafe there and enjoyed the food and views.
My eldest was determined to find a pair of clogs this trip and I found an antique store where there were older used hand carved ones! We found a pair that fit and they were red with paddestoel mushrooms which was so cute since we had hunted down those paddestoel markers all over the Veluwezoom and the Hoge Veluwe! I found an old ash tray or something that was a smaller version of what was used to carry coal and keep it by the fireplace — I plan on using mine for salt by the stove, for cooking!
Delft to Den Haag
We continued on towards our campground in Den Haag, and this was also a good ride. I kind of wish we had more time to spend in Delft but thoroughly enjoyed Den Haag, so that was okay.
We rode through Haagse Bos en route to our campground north of town and didn’t realize what an extensive forested area it was! The palace is there, too, and the king was home because the orange flag was raised, or so we learned from a nice gentleman we stopped when we were looking at the castle.
The wooded areas here remind me so much of Québec. Mostly the smell, some times the deciduous makeup and we saw the odd maple leaf. I was smiling the whole ride through these woods and still remember it fondly. It’s like a wonderful (albeit flat) Mont Royal in the heart of Montréal, except in the Hague!
We arrived at our campground — our first giant commercial campground! — and pitched the tent, ditched out stuff (except valuables) and rode back to town to have dinner with my husband’s cousin and her small family. They lived in a dense and trendy area of Den Haag that kind of reminded us of a supersized Montréal, especially Outremont. We could not find bike parking anywhere (!) so we locked all of our bikes together, en masse, and it worked!
Dinner was splendid. My husband’s cousin’s fiancé is Italian and we had good food. Both girls, especially my youngest, ate a solid meal (which was so good to see as her guts had acted up again earlier that day). We had penne with a thin coating of a simple but delicious marinara sauce and some Parmesan. Then a green salad with olive oil and sea salt as dressing. Then baked portobello mushrooms stuffed with cheese and I’m not sure what else, but they were delightful. Then strawberries and plain yoghurt for dessert. Perfect. I think I’d do well in Italy. I’ve always known that, though!
We had a glorious ride back to the campground. Thankfully we had hooked up my eldest to the FollowMe for the ride in and out. About a block before the campground she started to fall asleep! Luckily my husband noticed and kept her awake until the tent.
Bam. Lights out. Everyone’s asleep!
Rest day in Den Haag
Today we had a day in Den Haag.
We retraced our steps from the previous evening’s ride back to the campground because it was so very nice and met my husband’s cousin (who lives in Den Haag) and her sister (who trained in from north of Amsterdam) at the Mauritshuis.
The only catch was that it was absolutely pouring with rain, 3L/m^2! We were soaked! We left the kids’ bikes at camp and put them both in the WIKE and it worked! They were mostly dry.
We walked over to the free guarded city bike parking and left our bikes there.
Then we had lunch at a cafe called Barlow (of all names — this is the name of a very large road/highway in Calgary!). The had a fire so we managed to dry out significantly while there. It was yummy!
Then on to the museum! The girls took lots of photos and were interested in much of the art. It was just the right size for a rainy day.
When we left, we got some reprieve from the rain and rode back through the delightful Haagse Bos again and stopped at the Pannekoeken Huis that we had seen the first time riding through. Turns out the owner, a Greek fellow, had worked in Invermere for years. It was a nice family run business with his son as the waiter and the pancakes were yummy and not greasy this time.
Back to camp.
I really liked the Hague. It definitely had the upscale international city vibe — while downtown I don’t know how many languages I heard, it was awesome — and was more modern, in a way like Rotterdam is, but what really struck me was how similar parts of it were to Calgary. Wide streets! Even on some residential roads, it was almost startling we were so surprised. And cars, lots and lots of cars. To me, this city fuelled me with the most hope that if the Hague can do it, so can North America! And they seem to be doing it. So…
- Overseas travel day: car, plane, train, & bike!
- Day 1 Riding: Arnhem through the Veluwezoom to near Loenen
- Day 2 Riding: Hoge Veluwe National Park
- Day 3 Riding: Westward ho!
- Day 4 Riding + Rest Day: Leersum to Bunnik + Utrecht
- Day 5 Riding: Utrecht to Fort Spion
- Day 6 Riding: Multimodal day, Fort Spion to Dordrecht via Rotterdam
- Day 7 Riding: Rest days, then Dordrecht to just outside of Delft
- Day 9: Den Haag to Leiden via the North Sea Route
- Day 10: Leiden to Schiphol, then home!