Monday, January 25, 2010

Den Haag (The Hague)

An unexpected bonus of our Amsterdam adventure was the treat of connecting with Aaron and Jenna. Aaron is also an accountant colleague on the same expat program; he is based in London. We have had a ball as blogging friends, comparing adventures from afar. So when our travel plans miraculously overlapped in the Netherlands we jumped at the opportunity to get together. We shared McDonald's breakfast in their hotel lobby as the snow whipped around outside. Aaron and Jenna are as genuine and kind in real life as they are via their blog. They too have taken advantage of every opportunity to experience Europe - certainly rivaling us with their travel dedication and endurance. Too bad we had to get going after breakfast because we probably could have sat for hours gabbing away with our new friends!
Driving through the snow and weary from lack of sleep we headed for The Hague. Note to fellow travelers, don't ever stay at the Hotel Schipol, A4 at the airport. The heat broke and we spent a sleepless night huddled the three of us shivering in bed and praying for morning's light, cold air spilling through the sliding glass door. Ugh.
The Hague was a big surprise to my low expectations. We made snow tracks first to the Netherland's Parliament building, which occupies the site of a medieval castle. The Hague is the Dutch seat of government and home to a functioning legislature.
Not too shabby. The Court Pond in the foreground of this photo was totally frozen. Too bad we didn't have our sleds or skates!Dutch shudders like these have got to be one of the most distinctive trademarks of the country.The Hague had a quaint yet chic city center. Plenty of shopping and stylish art deco buildings to catch your eye.The standout of The Hague was the Mauritshuis Museum. Generally considered to be one of the finest galleries in Europe, it's famous for its eclectic collection of Flemish and Dutch paintings from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century.

I had little familiarity with Dutch painters before this visit. But fell hard for Vermeer, Rubens, and Jordaens. We even spotted Vermeer's "Girl with the Pearl Earring" - Connor loved this girl with her blue head wrap. She has since asked me to wrap her head with a towel to be like the girl in the painting!

Here are a few more of our favs from the Mauritshuis:

Another by Vermeer, Diana and her Nymphs...

Adam and Eve in Paradise, a collaboration between Rubens, who painted the figures, and Jan Brueghel, who filled in the dreamlike animals and landscape behind...

Jan Davidsz, Vase with Flowers...

Jacob Jordeans, Adoration of the Shepherds... Click here for full album photos from our weekend in the Netherlands

1 comment:

Jenna said...

Oh Reid you are too kind! We loved meeting with you guys! It was so good to have breakfast with you and an even better treat that you were kind enough to bring it to us! We hope that someday our travels will bring us together again! As always I love all your posts and I read everyone even if I don't always comment! :D