A few weeks ago Marco and I went to Utrecht for half a day. It’s about a 45 minute train ride – when the trains ride properly anyway. There were some issues that day, so I think it took about an hour and a half to get there. Opps! It’s a city in the middle of the Netherlands with about 350,000 residents.
The main reason for this trip was to visit the Hoog Catharijne mall, which has probably been under renovation for years. At least it seemed that way. I don’t think it is completely done, but the parts that are done look really good. Check it out:
And just outside the mall in one of the canals is a piece of art: a whale made of plastic. Of course, a statement on plastic in the oceans.
And a close-up look at the whale from the front:
It’s a nice day trip, especially when you a combine it with a tour of the older parts of the city (which we did a few years back).
A photo of the Christmas tree at the local Media Markt here in The Hague:
Media Markt is “the” electronics store of the Netherlands, a chain that started in Germany. According to Wikipedia, it’s the largest electronics retailer here in Europe, and the second largest worldwide after America’s Best Buy. The one thing to get used to is that most or all of the stores are franchises, so the price might differ between stores.
Media Markt is also known as the place to go during the BTW-vrij week, which usually happens around the end of January. BTW-vrij = Media Markt deducts the taxes from the price so you don’t have to pay it.
Captured at Albert Heijn, the local grocery store:
Lots and lots of wine bottles… someone must have had a party! This is by the bottle return area (the bottom part pictured here is for returning a beer crate), so I assume wine bottles don’t have a deposit on them. I am not much of a wine drinker (besides the occasional prosecco) so I’m not sure.
Still, kudos to them for leaving them behind without making a mess. Although it does mean work for Albert Heijn to get rid of them.
This past Friday was ShoppingNight in The Hague. That’s when all of the shops in the city centre stay open until midnight. About half offer either discounts or treats to get you into the store. I had previously posted about this event back in 2013.
This year Marco and I partook in a free ice cream cone (Marco) and a slush puppy (me) over at Media Markt. Outside of that we visited a few stores, notably C&A and Hudson Bay, to see what they had offer.
There was also entertainment:
Three girls preparing just off site before heading out into the main city centre to perform
It’s strange to be shopping so late – but it’s also a lot of fun. If you don’t mind crowds, of course…
On Thursday evening Marco and I went to Marks & Spencer for a coffee. In November of last year the company had reported that they would be closing the two Dutch stores, along with other international stores, in a cost-cutting measure. But The Hague store is still open… with no additional details about exactly when it would close.
A look at the cafe on the top level
Chocolates on sale for Easter – either the frozen castle or a R2D2. I think I’d go for the R2D2!
So… still open for now. Not that I am complaining! I really like their coffee.