Monday, January 31, 2011

Our Rijswijk-Den Haag-Scheveningen Day

Make up any reason whatsoever for a photo hunt and we'll be there! Make it as important as picking up my new residence permit, this time for 5 years, and Astrid will even take off a day from work to make a celebration of it.

And that's exactly what we did a week ago Friday when we drove first to Rijswijk (past Delft) and then through Den Haag to the Scheveningen beach, where we spent the rest of our day (click on map to enlarge).

When I made the same trip to Rijswijk a year ago, to pick up my one-year permit, I took the train because we didn't yet have our car, Granny Towanda. You might remember that Delft was only 4 minutes away by train, so I made my own celebration by visiting that famous city, writing about it on my Vision & Verb post. When they give you a lemon, make lemonade!

This time, having Granny Towanda and Astrid with me made all the difference in the world.

First of all, we're having so much fun with the TomTom, our Christmas present to each other. How did we ever live without it! You wouldn't believe how much less stress there is in the car now. HA! Seriously, it has revolutionized the way we travel. It's so detailed it tells us what lane to be in and what the speed limit is, how fast we're driving, how many minutes it'll take us in the present driving conditions, etc., etc. Of course YOU already knew all about this. But did you know the TomTom was invented in 1991 by two Dutch guys named Peter? Seriously.

If you look at the map above, you can see that Rijswijk is a suburb to the east of Den Haag. So after our 30-min. stop to park the car, go get my new reseidence permit, take a potty break, and get back into the car again, we were on our way into the center of Den Haag (cityscape above).

One day we will photo-hunt Den Haag/The Hague but, that day, there was a planned demonstration with thousands of students protesting new college tuition hikes, so we said "No, thank you" and continued on to the coast, the playground of their rich and famous. What an irony.

That coast or beach is in Scheveningen where the Kurhaus Hotel is...part of Den Haag's playground. We hardly blink our eyes anymore when we "come as we are" into such places. What are they going to say: "We don't like your money!" Besides, it so happens we were the only ones there for our koffie en appletaart met slagroom, just before the lunch hour. By the way, I STILL think of this as eating dessert first, but for Astrid it is still only something lekkers (delicious) for koffie break. Besides, once a week will never kill us.

After our koffie break (priorities), we did a a quick run-through of the main restaurant of the Kurhaus Hotel, oohing and aahing. I'm guessing many rich-and-famous, heads of state, and dignitaries have eaten in that place. And no wonder....

...because following a nice meal, what to do but mosey on outside to the beachfront and look back on that architectural beauty....

...followed by a nice walk on the Scheveningen Pier nearby. Talk about a photo op!

As above, so below. Take your pick...two worlds apart. Most of the pier shops were closed because of so few tourists out-n-about. But we're not big shoppers, so no matter for us.
We just did our camera thing and were in heaven.

From the pier, looking south along the beach, we saw the Hoek van Holland (Hook of Holland) 18 km away (top photo above)...the waterway that takes you to Rotterdam, Europe's largest port. The dark line in the foreground is the rock jetty of the harbor into Scheveningen, which was our goal for that early afternoon, eating up the calories of our koffie met appeltaart.

More than anything else, Astrid wanted to walk the beach. We both got what she wished for!
When we happened upon the sandy floral bouquet (above), Astrid said it was probably from a funeral at in the scattering of someone's ashes, like her father's. It was a tender moment.

And then, just before reaching the harbor entrance, we looked back and caught the sky doing a number on the pier. Did I mention this is one of the things I love about the Netherlands: its skies!

At that same moment, the same skies were doing a number also on the lighthouse there at the harbor. I had captured it just minutes before (bottom left image above) when things were 'normal.' This is one of the reasons why I never worry if the sun isn't shining when we photo-hunt.
Why would you ever need sun with skies like that!

Several steps, shells, and photos later, about 40-minutes' worth, we finally arrived at the harbor entrance. Lucky for us, a Dutch Kustwacht (coastguard boat) was just entering as we arrived
(bottom right-hand image to enlarge).

I'm such a glutton for these harbors, even if they're for fishing vessels instead of for recreation boats.
I'll take whatever I can get.

There at the harbor, by the way, stand these two monuments.
The one on the left is Lady Scheveningen, the patroness of the fisher-women, mourning for those who never returned from sea. The statue was created by artist Gerard Bakker in 1982.

The other monument a stone's throw away, with the pier in the background, commemorates God saving the Netherlands on 24 August 1865. But I can't for the life of me find what that's about. If you can, please let me know! It caught our eye because Astrid's birthday is 24 August!
[Addendum: check Dutchbaby's comment below for the answer!]

By then it was time to walk all the way back to where we had started at the Kurhaus Hotel, but not before Astrid celebrated the day by serving up a multi-fish lunch at a harbor café. See the white truck above? It sits at the long warehouse dock just meters away from the beach and harbor, loading or unloading the gazillion fish captured every day. And yes, haring is a specialty of this for which I've not yet acquired a taste.
Maybe one day.

One last little tidbit: if you could say the word SCHEVENINGEN with a believable Dutch accent during The War, you would have been saved from getting killed. That first syllable is the killer: sch is pronounced like the sch sound in Schiphol Airport (in Amsterdam). The closest approximation in English would be SKAYveningen or SKIphol. Just add a bit of gutturalness to it and you've got it down pat...sure to live another day.

Another day and another photo hunt!


  1. Very impressive again, all those pictures, THANK YOU for taking them.
    You always surprise me with an added page to our rich life we have.
    Rich in things we do, visit, see.
    That koffie at the Kurhaus was so special, 'normally' I would not have set foot there, it is for the rich and famous...AH..
    One day indeed we will go back to Den Haag and explore the innercity.
    Walking the beach is always special, not one day is the same.
    Scheveningen Beach is famous because of the Kurhaus and the Pier.
    One day I will take you to the beach of Texel, that will be another unique experience.
    Thank you for taking time to make these collages.
    I am looking forward our next trip :)

  2. You two seem to manage to pack a lot into a day... and enjoy yourselves so much doing it! I love the photo of the Hook of Holland especially... and the lighthouse ones are gorgeous too... as are the architectural images of the buildings on the beaches... have I mentioned lately how much I enjoy your collages? :-)

    Congratulations on the residency permit!

  3. Astrid: We are rich indeed, MLMA. What we have here at our fingertips and at such little expense thrills me to no end. It just doesn't take much, does it...and yet it all IS much. Yes, one day we will go to your precious Texel. That will be the day. This time at the beach whetted our appetite.

    Victoria: We do pack a lot into a day! I will attest to that. I hope it keeps us young because we want to continue doing this for a long time to come. Thanks for liking the collages. I don't know what I'd do without them. And yes, we're both so happy for the residency permit...5 more years.

  4. You outdid yourself on the bottom photos in the harbor scene. I LOVE them. WOW!!@!@... Walking along the shore line and seeing that sky change so suddenly... again, WOW!

    I get more excited myself about photo ops than shopping. I mean, I'm cleaning out my closets this week and getting rid of so much... stuff I thought I needed at one time... Such a waste.

    Very thrilled on your extended 5 years! Enjoy and keep taking photographs for the rest of us! :)

  5. Love your photos. These ones remind me of two things: Liverpool, England (which I visited 20 years ago) and, rather strangely, an episode of the video game Syberia which took place in an abandoned seaside resort.

    Anyway, I always find it interesting, the memories or associations that images can evoke -- like you with the air balloon, looking at my shawl. (I understood that completely, by the way.)

  6. Loved the lighthouse pictures. Keep on having fun! :)

  7. Wonderful photos, Ginnie - I especially like those with the dark sky - gorgeous. I had to laugh about the sch-sound. We have that in German, too, and when I teach my German class every spring my students ALWAYS have difficulties with that sound, and the ch. So interesting. So - can you say a proper sch-sound?

  8. Margaret: The Dutch skies still amaze me after a year. I will never tire of them. And yes, I know what you mean about shopping vs. photo hunting. No comparison for me either. But then, I never was a shopper, even before photography bit me. Thanks for rejoicing with me over my residence extension. We're both so relieved, of course!

    Karen: You are so right! There are connections all over the place with what we see on the internet...all the time. And after awhile, we often predict what they will be before we see them. HA! Thank you.

    Tim: I don't see many lighthouses here in Holland but when I do, I grab them. Thanks.

    Carola: What's funny about your comment is that during the war it was how the Dutch could tell who the Germans were. THEY were the ones who had problems saying it, so now I wonder what the difference is? Astrid says their guttural sound is more at the back of the mouth than the front. She says the Dutch can really tell the difference from how the Germans say it. And yes, most of the time I can say it just fine. It tickles Astrid to death. :)

  9. I have got to eat one of those appletarts!

    The Kurhaus is gorgeous.

    That about Scheveningen is quite sobering. Such terror, surrounding a word.

  10. Think my comment must have got lost :O(

    Just to say thank you for all the lovely photos of Scheveningen...brought back such lovely memories.

    When I was still at work I had to to take some photos to a gallery and the Photograohy Museum in Rotterdam. After that I had the rest of the day to kill before it was time to catch the Stena back to UK. I had a mosey round Rotterdam and then drove to Schev and did just as in the Kurhaus and then on to the Prom...must have been Feb. so cold and grey like your trip but it was a lovely time.

    Photos are great and really lifted me to remember that time.

    Great news about the 5 year permit

  11. Ruth: Your day will come, dear sister, for an appeltaart met slagroom. Trust me. Astrid says she makes a pretty mean one herself but I've not yet had the chance to prove it. That, too, may happen some day. :)

    And yes, you are so right about that word. The stories are told as jokes about the Dutch language, but when you pay attention, it really IS sobering. Some things are not funny anymore!

    Cusp: Oh, wow. I love it when someone else can stir memories within me, so that I could do it for you is very special. Thank you for sharing this touching comment.

  12. Lovely, lovely photographs. Especially surprising to me were the pier montages. I would never have thought they could be made so visually exciting.

  13. The pier and the hotel are simply amazing, such beautiful architecture! You two really know how to make the most of a day's journey!

  14. Wow - talk about photographs! Such a great day. I've been near this area in 2002, I think to Hoek Van Holland and walking out on the beach. I remember it being windy and cold!

    Such great eats, stories and photos of the day... :) I love it!!!! And would enjoy much of the same..

  15. Ted: You would have had a heyday there with your camera! I kid you not. :)

    Mad: You'd love a visit and Jimmy both. Maybe one day?! :)

    ET: I can see you loving every minute of it, Jen. Maybe you'll be back again!

  16. Pretty there but also a bit too industrial for me-beach + factory, but that's how it is now, isn't it... I wouldn't mind the coffee with someting delicious like on the picture you took:)

  17. I just discovered your blog through London caller page and it's very impressive with nice pics and collages very nice job done .I will record to your newsletter to follow the coming articles
    have a great day

  18. Ola: While we were walking the beach, we were not caught up in any of the industry. It wasn't until we walked to the harbor that we saw it but even then it didn't bother us. It just seemed part of the whole. Part of the sea! And yes, the koffie met appeltaart is always a winner, wherever we go. :)

    Noel: Thank you so much for stopping by here and commenting...after seeing me on LC's site. Don't you just love how blogging connects us like this, all around the world!

  19. You must know by now that if you throw down a challenge, I'll be one of the first to bite. I googled:
    "nederlands geschiedenis augustus 1865"

    and it sent me to the Dutch wikipedia page for Scheveningen:

    "De latere koning Willem I zette bij aankomst in zijn vaderland voor het eerst voet op Nederlandse bodem te Scheveningen. Hij landde aan op het strand van Scheveningen op 30 november 1813 en werd een dag later te Amsterdam uitgeroepen tot soeverein vorst der Nederlanden. De Scheveninger Jacob Pronk Nz speelde bij de landing van de toenmalige prins een belangrijke rol. Op 24 augustus 1865 werd ter ere van deze landing op een hooggelegen duin - een der tegenwoordige slapersdijken - een gedenknaald onthuld."

    and here's Google's translation to English:

    "The later King William I sat on arrival in his homeland first set foot on Dutch soil in Scheveningen. He landed on the beach of Scheveningen on 30 November 1813 and was one day later, Amsterdam proclaimed sovereign of the Netherlands. The Scheveningen Jacob Pronk Nz played at the landing of the then prince an important role. On August 24, 1865 in honor of this landing on a high dune - one of the present dikes - an obelisk unveiled."

    It's nice to know that my Dutch translation skills are a tikkeltje better than Google's :-D

    I really enjoyed starting my armchair excursion with that appeltaart with that huge dollop of slagroom!

    Your photos of the fishing vessels are so fantastic.

    I made the mistake of telling my kids about "Scheveningen" being the acid test for Dutchness in WWII. They practiced and practiced...
    Let's just say that they would definitely be able to tell anybody who won the World Series, which evidently was the American acid test during The War.

  20. DB: I knew someone would figure it out! Next time I'll try Googling in Dutch, not English. You get much more information. DUH. THANK YOU. I'll now make a reference to your comment in my text.

    Knowing who won the World Series makes a lot more sense to me than how to pronounce a word, but then...language usually is the final clincher in the end! (sigh) You know I love doing these posts of our photo hunts. They keep me alive. :)

  21. I was a bit disappointed, Ginnie - it's not the "coffee" I was expecting! Ha ha...

    No way! TomTom is a Dutch invention?!
    I always thought it was invented by the Thai!
    You see, they have tuk-tuks there. Ha ha...

  22. LC: HAHAHA. The latte macchiato is my favorite of all koffies, so I'm a happy camper when they can make it. Not everyone can.

    I was surprised, too, when I found out the Dutch invented the TomTom. That's cool. But the Thai? I'm sure they have their own 'edge' on things. HA! Anyway, thank you so much for stopping by and commenting here. That means a lot to me.

  23. Thank you for this report! It was like being with you there. What a fabulous place to explore. I think we've been looking it up once as a place to maybe visit in the future, but we got no further. Simply adore all architecture shown here. Maybe another year.... *dreaming*

  24. LCTB: You'd absolutely love it, if you ever have a chance to come see it. Maybe in time we'll be able to show it to you!