Traveling to The Hague
Since my I-Amsterdam card was only good for 72 hours, the fourth day of the trip was a good day to travel outside of Amsterdam.
I’ve been told traveling in the Netherlands by train is easy, however in practice I managed to encounter a few problems.
One problem was obtaining tickets in the first place, the queue at the at the tickets and information office seemed to be rather long, and I preferred to get my ticket from one of the many ticket selling machines scattered around the central station. The problem with that machines that most of them only take Holland’s “chip card” as a payment method and none of them would accept Euro bills or my American Express credit card. Luckily I had enough coins and eventually I managed to find a coin-operated machine and buy my ticket. I did make a mental note to make sure I have enough coins to buy the ticket back.
Figuring out which train to get on was also tricky as all the signs are in Dutch, and the station names can be confusing. When I finaly resorted to asking the clerk at the information desk, she directed me to the train going to the “Den Haag HS” station which I found out much later, was not the “Dan Haag Centraal” station for which I was aiming.
By the time my train arrived at the “Dan Haag HS” station I already figured that this was probably not the station I was aiming for, but only when train arrive at Rotterdam did I realize that it was probably not going to arrive at “Den Haag Centraal”, luckily enough I managed to find the right train going back to the right station, but my journey was considerably prolonged.
Touring The Hague
As soon as I arrived at the proper station, being an experienced tourist, I approached the first information desk I could find and asked for a transportation map. The map I was handed, while photocopied and not very detailed was enough to allow me (With little help) to find my way to the Binenhof (The parliament building) that the VVV (tourist information) office that resides next to it.
At the VVV I was informed that that unfortunately there were no organized tours going through the city that day, however I did manage to buy a small booklet called “Walking in The Hague” that included walking instructions to tour the city as well as explanations about the various sites and building. Using the book I strolled around the city until it was time to meet a friend of mine, the reason I chose The Hague as my destination, for lunch.
One thing I noticed during my visit to the city was that despite residing more to the south, it seemed to be a lot colder then Amsterdam, while Amsterdam had its “stormy hour” in the afternoon where it would either rain or snow lightly every day, in the Hague it pretty much rained constantly (Albeit lightly) through the entire duration of my visit.
Meduredam is a rather nice place containing small models of many famous buildings in the Netherlands, and it was warmly recommended by my parents, therefore I asked about it and bought a ticket in the VVV office.
While I’ve been told both by my friend and ant clerk at the VVV office that I should take the tram line number 9 to the to Meduredam, one thing they didn`t mention was in which direction should I take it. Keeping consistent with my talent for choosing the wrong public transportation vehicle, I boarded the Tram going the wrong direction and had to waste 30 minutes waiting for it to complete its tour around the city and come back to the central station before finally going at the right direction and bringing me to Meduredam.
When I finally arrived it was late in the afternoon, growing very cold and Meduredam was almost empty of visitors. Despite that I took a tourist guide boot and started following the touring route through the place.
I wasn’t disappointed. While some of the models were taken away for maintenance, that ones that were left were numerous and interesting enough to allow my to spend my time there up until the point where I felt that if I would stay any longer I would find myself locked in there for the night. As I only made it through half the tour of the place, I could have easily spent a few more hours there.
Evening back in Amsterdam
Being an experienced traveler by now, the trip back to Amsterdam was quick and uneventful, knowing that the “Den Haag HS” was a more popular station I went and took the train from there rather then from the centraal station.
Getting back to my hotel, I decided that I wanted Pizza for dinner, Amsterdam seemingly lacking when it comes to cheap Pizza stands, I eventually found myself having a rather pricey meal at a rather fancy Italian restaurant.
Sitting the in the restaurant having my meal by myself, it occurred to me again traveling alone may not have been the best way to go.
Going back to my hotel I passed next to “The Cave”, which seems to be, according to the writing on and around the door, a local heavy metal bar that features live concerts. Peeking inside I could see the place was deserted but for two guys and decided not to go inside. I did, however, note to myself to check it out over the next few days and try to spend a night there.