Articles

The Netherlands

21.10.2007: Den Haag
I really should stop blogging at evening: lately I’m very tired and… Mmm… I don’t find either the right content or the right words for my posts. Look at what happened yesterday, for instance. I’m hopeless. Today I went in Den Haag (The Hague) as part of my tour to discover the country where I (currently) live. The city is very small and easy to stroll around: the most remarkable spot is the Binnenhof, the center of Dutch politics. Here are the parliament and the prime minister’s bureau located. Not really far from it is the world famous International Court of Justice, hosted in the nice building you can see in this (not as nice) picture. Today the city was full of Polish people because of some sort of elections… Dunno exactly what was all about, I actually thought Poland was in a dictatorship:mrgreen:

29.10.2007: Amersfoort
Unter den Linden by haikusYesterday I went to Amersfoort, a city half an hour by train from Amsterdam, in the Utrecht province: as you know, this is part of Discovering the Netherlands project I started last week. Because the rail line to Amersfoort doesn’t pass by Sloterdijk, the closest train station, I went by bike to Centraal Station where is even almost impossible to find a place to park! Luckily I caught the direct train in time and I reached very fast my destination. Funnily enough I passed several times by Amersfoort when I traveled by train between Amsterdam and Berlin, which is why I knew the route very well… too well…😥 The city centre is a very charming place, although I had the feeling I’ve been already there: this is unfortunately the problem of Dutch cities, which have their own spirit, of course, but as far as I’ve seen, they look more or less the same. Exceptions are notably Amsterdam, of incomparable beauty and Rotterdam, a mix of Berlin, Hamburg and Ducth stereotypes. The shops in Amersfoort were open yesterday and a lot of people, even more than in Den Haag, were strolling around, making my visit very pleasant. Although Lonely Planet authors like the Vrouwenhof more, I personally prefer the bigger and more colorful Hof: not far from there is the Groenmarkt with this nice cafe the name of which let me think again about Berlin. After a portion of french fries😛 I was going back to the train station when I saw a shop I should never have seen: Dille&Kamille. Back in Amsterdam I had to fight against the wind (even stronger than in Amersfoort) to bike home and, as result, I got a huge headache😦

It doesn’t hurt me.
You want to feel, how it feels?
You want to know, know that it doesn’t hurt me?
You want to hear about the deal I’m making.
You, (If I only could, be running up that hill)
You and me (If I only could, be running up that hill)

And if I only could,
Make a deal with God,
Get him to swap our places,
Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
Be running up that building.
If I only could

05.01.2008: Leiden
On Saturday we didn’t wake up too late to make the best out of the day or, at least, the afternoon. I had time to clean up a bit my place, I bought the last things I needed and then we went by train to Leiden, a small town, famous for its university, half an hour from Amsterdam. Because we were kinda distracted we wandered a bit before realizing we were on the wrong side of the train station:mrgreen: We managed soon to correctly get into the old town where ilGrisa had his first herring because he surprisingly couldn’t find any in Amsterdam. It was a good one, very fresh, especially compared to the bratwurst in Antwerp on Sunday, but this is another story. It was pleasant to stroll around although the center of Leiden was full of people because of the market. Luckily, when we were exactly in front of it, early in the evening, de Burcht (an old fortification) has been open to the public and we could climb on top of its small hill to get a breathtaking view of the town. After a very delicious latte with Illy coffee, on our way to the train station, we found these lyrics on a wall:

I don’t have any reasons
I’ve left them all behind
I’m in a New York state of mind

Later we went home for dinner and to finally watch the live action movie Nana. Please remind me to avoid any other live action Japanese movies:mrgreen: I really loved the story, the characters, their life and feelings, but the direction was utterly bad. I’m definitively going to watch the anime.

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