You learn something new every day. Marco and I took a short walk before dinner and I took a few photos of The Hague’s skyline, not far from Centraal Station. I’m a fan of Malieveld, but apparently the small park on the other side of the street is called “Centraal Park”. At least, that’s what Google Maps calls it.
Here’s a look at The Hague’s skyline from this angle.
Earlier this week Marco took this photo of the Buitenhof for me. What do you think?
Of course you probably notice the flowers first, but the clouds above do deserve a glance as well. A touch of gray.
There was a press conference earlier this evening. The main topic was whether or not there be a country-wide requirement to wear a face mask at all times when outside. At the moment you are only required to wear a face mask when using public transportation.
And another article, this one from Omroep West: Terrassen mogen uur langer open tijdens warme Haagse nachten. It’s an article about how terraces can stay open longer during the summer if the temperature is over 25C/77F Thursday through Sunday. The city government will look at the upcoming weekend’s temperature every Thursday and announce if terraces can be open longer that weekend. ☀️
After a long working day, both Marco and I are ready for the weekend! The weather looks like it will be cooperating as well, with highs around 25C (77F) tomorrow. I definitely have not been getting outside enough this week so I am looking forward to a nice, long walk. I’m not sure where yet, but anywhere I can stretch my legs and socially distance myself sounds good to me.
Here’s a photo from the Holland Spoor train station last week:
It’s definitely a dirty floor, so I decided not to give you an extra large version of this photo. Ha! But as you can tell these stickers are reminders about what to do in the train station (wear a face mask, keep your distance and stick to the right).
The Netherlands is in a minor heatwave that will last for about 3 and a half days. High 80s, low 90s temperatures (Fahrenheit). That does not sound that hot, but for us poor souls without air conditioning (or an office to retreat to) – whew! I am warm. I didn’t have as much trouble yesterday, but today I am definitely feeling it. We have one more day of high temperatures tomorrow before the weather turns on Saturday, including a bit of rain.
From next week the corona statistics that RIVM (National Institute of Public Health) reports will be reported on a weekly basis rather than a daily basis. Statistics include number of positive cases, hospital intakes and deaths. This is because the corona crisis is winding down. For now at least.
The Netherlands is enjoying a last minute fling with summer today, with temperatures over 80F. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but here it is! I decided to take a stroll over to the Palace Gardens, which I’ve already blogged about a few times over the years (2012 and 2016).
It was lovely to sit in the sun and just read a book. Today I started a book by Neil Gaiman – The ocean at the end of the lane or De oceaan aan het einde van het pad in Dutch, as that was the language I was reading it in. It’s about a man who goes back to where he lived as a child to attend a funeral. While there he gets lost in his memories of his childhood.
One interesting and unexpected thing was that the book begins with a preface which reads “Ik schrijf in mijn eigen taal. Dat is Engels. Ik ben er erg dol op. Het is een goede, soepel taal, waarin ik kan uitdrukken wat ik te zeggen heb. …” Or, translated: “I write in my own language. That is English. I am very fond of it. It’s a good, flexible language where I can express what I need to say.”
I thought that was quite strange, and wondered if that preface was in every version of the book. But no, he goes on to say that his sister-in-law lives in Utrecht (a city in central Netherlands) and he brings his family to the Netherlands as often as he can to visit. He goes on to say that you don’t need an English/American upbringing to read this book, and since it is now translated into Dutch you can read it too (of course the preface was translated as well, since he doesn’t speak Dutch). Kind of cool.
The only small downside to going to a park to read is that sometimes you can get distracted and not be able to focus on the story. Especially when what you are trying to read isn’t in your native language… When I arrived, I chose a nice sunny bench, at the end to give others plenty of room to also sit down (the benches generally fit three adults). I’m at the far left, with no benches to my left. To my right, there are another three benches, all grouped right next to each other.
After a while, a man sat down on the other end of the bench I was at. No problem at all; he was just watching his kid. About five minutes later a woman sits down next to him, so I promptly and politely moved my backpack to the ground so she definitely had enough room. And then they began to talk. Argh.
Oddly enough, I had no problem when the conversations happening were at the next bench (about five feet away), but one foot away was a bit much. Especially since they were tourists speaking English, which meant hearing one language and reading another. I was pondering my options – 1) suck it up and keep reading 2) go find another bench 3) leave. But after a few minutes they all got up and left. Yay.
So I kept reading, having a personal goal of getting to 100 pages. I did that, and was at page 103 when two more people sat down at “my” bench with a few other folks in their group standing around them. And they began to talk loudly. Arghhhh again. This time I gave up – I was past my goal anyway – put my bookmark in place, stood up and left immediately.
I don’t know. Maybe I expect too much. It is a communal park after all. 🙂
The Netherlands has been in the grips of a record-setting heat wave this week, with at least five provinces reaching 40C (104F). Due to the fact that The Hague is so close to the North Sea, we didn’t quite reach those temperatures – for us it was more like 36-37C (96-98F).
However, most people don’t have air conditioning in their homes. Why would you, when temperatures like this only happen a few days of the year? Luckily public buildings and work places tend to be at least climate controlled. On days like this it is beneficial to go into work rather than being at home, where the temperatures inside can easily hit 84-86F.
I was pleasantly surprised to see this table outside of LaSalle, a French restaurant here in The Hague city centre:
The sign says ‘Pak maar!’ or ‘Help yourself!’. They even thoughtfully put out a water bowl for pets, either dogs on a leash or neighborhood cats.
You have to understand that water fountains are almost unheard of in this country, both indoor and outdoor. The city and water company Dunea are trying to increase the amount of free water spots in the country, but that takes time.
To see free water on a record setting day – Thursday it was 40.7C (105F) in Gilze en Rijen (GoogleMaps) – is a step in the right direction.
Recently the company I work for met at the Scheveningen beach for the annual summer party. I signed up Marco and myself for the cocktail workshop. Here’s a look at the White Russian that I made:
There were some no-shows at the party, so everyone was able to do another cocktail in the second workshop. In that one, Marco and I made “the Split”, which is named after a Dutch popsicle. That cocktail was with likeur 43, orange juice, yoghurt likeur and ice cubes.
Today’s actually the last day for a while of weather that can be labeled “very good” for a while, with temperatures around 94F here in The Hague. We should also be getting a bit of rain tonight, hopefully, although it will do nothing for the drought conditions the country is experiencing.
On a brighter note, Marco and I visited Five Guys for a second time for some burgers and fries. This time I took a picture of the bulletin board where guests can leave reactions:
There are of course a lot of wishes that Five Guys would come to someone’s country. And the ‘best milkshake in town’ paper makes me realized I’ve never had a milkshake at this fast food place. Maybe I should change that at some point…
So… the Netherlands finally figured out how to do a good summer. Although it might be doing it a bit too well, actually. We haven’t had any rain in about a month and a half (with some crazy exceptions like Twente getting more than a month’s worth of rain yesterday – yikes!) and it has been warm for the Netherlands. Admittedly nothing the US hasn’t seen, but still. I need to apologize to Marco as I always complain about how summer lasts less than a week in this country.
Today it was about 95F here in The Hague, with 96-97F predicted tomorrow. And that’s not even close to the highest temperature recorded in the Netherlands today. Another city called Almelo registered 38.9C or 102.02F at the height of today. Almelo is on the east side of the Netherlands, not too far from Germany.
And how do Marco and I stay cool in a country that doesn’t have much air conditioning in homes? Well, besides water and fans…
The first is freezer pops, or ijslollies in Dutch. A blast from the past and great for the nostalgic feelings.
At the end of June Marco and I went to the Haagse Wereld Hapjesfood festival at the Lange Voorhout. That translates to something like ‘Bites of the world, from The Hague’. It featured 25 different restaurants based in The Hague or surrounding area, with cuisines ranging from Persian to Argentinian to Slovakian.
The one restaurant that caught my eye was Pops, an American restaurant over in nearby Wassenaar. They really outdid themselves with their decorations:
A look at the overall area:
And, of course – you need entertainment with your food:
It was a fun experience and a great initiative by the city!