We missed the King! We had heard that the King and Queen would be parading to the Parliament on the third Tuesday of September, but, alas, we didn’t see them. Timing is everything!
We left Gouda yesterday, biking 27 miles to get to Den Haag. Similar green fields and canals to the previous days. We did have another “road block”, this time sheep. Then in the distance, we saw a strange tube, with an opening high in the sky. At our coffee break, we asked a Dutch bike tourist and found out it was a ski “resort” http://www.snowworld.com. Who would guess such a flat country would have a ski “resort?”
We entered Den Haag just at the lunch hour – what a mass of pedestrians and bikers, but we made it unscathed to our hotel, Mosaic Hotel, a wonderful boutique hotel about a mile outside the Centrum.
After showers, we walked back to the town center, only to discover that the Parliament Building had no tours as they were preparing for the events today. We did visit the Mauritshuis, the nation’s picture gallery with works of Rembrandt, Vermeer and Rubens among others.
Next order of importance was to find a laundry. We discovered those are not plentiful in Holland – the front desk found one 15 minutes away. Don seemed confident that there might be one closer and we asked someone at the local grocery store, no luck. Then we asked a lady walking on the street toward the grocery. She, of course, spoke perfect English, and, upon finding our dilemma, insisted that we do our laundry at her house in the neighborhood.
Frederique and Dick and their daughter Jona and their St. Bernard live in a lovely townhouse with a small garden in the back. The laundry was on the third floor and we stuffed in our bike shorts and several jerseys. An hour and a half later, we returned to retrieve our clean shorts and wonder at the serendipity of this hospitality.
No rush this morning as our plans were to ride to the beach, wander a bit, then maybe watch the procession of the TV. We did ride to the beach (Scheveningen), wandered around the Kurhaus, then back in town we visited the Peace Palace, home of the International Court of Justice. We managed to get somewhat into the blocked traffic, and doing so, got to see some of the calvary honor guard.
Once the procession was over, we visited the Escher Museum, located in the palace of the late Queen Emma. What an amazing artist of wood cut prints and lithographs, dominated by optical illusions and perspective!
Just in case King Wilhelm-Alexander was strolling the grounds, we biked past the royal palace, where the procession had begun earlier in the day.
Our wandering today was 15.82 miles. (I’ll upload today’s photos another day.)
We have discovered that the Dutch pronounce Gouda ‘How-duh’ – and have tried to say it correctly today.
We got a late start this morning, after 10 am. Even the courier was waiting for our bags.
The first miles were heading out of Leiden, with a bit of wandering to look at suburban housing. Many of the roads were brick, not as rough as cobblestone, but wear on the hands. Passed over the main highway with noise baffles, even below an aqueduct – the best plan for Rethink 65/70 (for readers in Indianapolis).
Again we rode along canals and green fields, seeing more swans and white-beaked birds in the water than before. By afternoon, we saw lots of leisure cyclists of all ages and sizes – even saw a woman with a baby in a front pack and a toddler behind in a seat.
Near the town of Boskoop, we came upon numerous nurseries. When we stopped for lunch in Bodegraven, it was recommended we visit a nearby fortress, off our route. We discovered that the grounds had been taken over by the Citroen Club of the Netherlands – fun wandering among the cars.
Don, the excellent map reader, got us back on course, traversing a lake to get to Gouda. Wandering toward the hotel, we stopped at the Cheese Museum for an interesting tour, also a view of the Town Hall built in 1450.
Tonight we are at Best Western Gouda. After showers, we walked back into the center of town for dinner, enjoying the sun glow on City Hall.
Total of 32.45 miles, avg. speed 10.3 mph; Garmin reads 1578 ascent, 1558 descent.