The Hague- City Guide

Last weekend, my boyfriend and I took a little right-before-Christmas trip to The Hague, in the Netherlands. We did some blog mentioning worthy stuff, so here we are. Den Haag turned out to be a cozy, compact city with very little must-sees, but lots of hyggelig cafés, coffee roasters and shops. If that sounds like your cup of tea, definitely read on.

Before we headed straight to the town of The Hague, don’t skip Museum Voorlinden. It’s been a while since I’ve seen such a cool museum. It’s a modern art museum that houses the biggest private collection of the Netherlands. We definitely experienced some ‘Hu?! That’s cool” moments. Our favourite pieces included Ron Mueck, Yayoi Kusama, and Marthine Tayou. It’s an very slick, cool lined museum right on the edge of a huge park that is ideal for walking. Best of both worlds!

In The Hague, we made Rariteitenkabinet our first stop. This little quirky shop was one of our favourites. It’s home to an unbelievable amount of stuffed animals, gems and weird collectioners objects. The man in the shop told us it was his passion run out of hand (only a bit). We didn’t know where to start or how to stop looking.

After a bit of walking around we needed some warming up, so we decided to stop by the Van Kleef Jenever distillery. It’s one of those places where it looks like time stood still. But here comes the cool part, you can choose to do a tasting there and they let you try any type of jenever for only 80 cents. Bargain! We went home with a bottle of the local ‘Haagsch Hopje’ flavour, a super sweet caramelly coffee flavour.

Worth strolling through, or if you’re into shopping, is the Passage. Another plus is you stay dry when it’s raining!

My boyfriend and I are both breakfast food lovers and I believe that if we could pick one type of meal to have every day, breakfast or brunch would be it. Needless to say, we take picking a place for breakfast very seriously. On the first day, we stopped at Bartine. Small, but great food. I’d recommend the sourdough bread with blueberries and thyme as well as the golden latte. Yum!

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On our second day, we tried the Yoghurt Barn. It turns out it’s a chain of breakfast places that do lots of yoghurt dishes as well as frozen yoghurt. Another winner!

The best gifts can be found at De Bonte Koe – chocolade (best chocolate), Van Stockum Boekhandel, Paagman, American Book Centre (best book selections), Koffiebranderij Boon (best coffee), Free Beer(best specialty beer) and Inproc (best tea and coffee).

For lunch, we went to Instock. It’s a restaurant that has mostly vegetarian meals on its menu AND it uses food surplus from supermarkets and local bakeries to combat food waste. And did I mention the food was delicious? I’m still dreaming of the crispy chickpeas on top of my fully loaded vegetable sandwich. More yum! Top tip: make reservations in advance, because the place doesn’t have that many tables.

That’s it! We wanted to go to Scheveningen beach too, but the rain and wind decided otherwise. Next time!

Any requests for the blog? Lemme know!

Zeeland – a weekend getaway

Last weekend, my boyfriend and I took a tiny holiday to our neighbouring country, the Netherlands for some sea, sand and fun in Vlissingen, Zealand. To be honest, we didn’t have any expectations, but we were pleasantly surprised by the friendly people, the nice weather, the relaxed atmosphere and beautiful surroundings. Here’s some of the highlights of our trip for your interest, in case you are planning a trip yourself or if you’re just a nosey little creature like me who likes to know what other people do in their free time :-)

Vlissingen – the city centre

We spent quite some time hanging about in Vlissingen’s city centre. Browsed some of the shops, enjoyed the Dutch pedestrian and bike friendly environment, had a cocktail, looked around the harbour, you name it!

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A must-see or do or whatever is the book shop ‘t Spui ! The shop has some great books both in Dutch and English. They even have these surprise books (gift wrapped books that you buy without knowing which book you get) and some great cards to send to family and friends. Even better: the shop leads straight to a florist shop seeing as they are connected indoors by a huge reading table that you are allowed to sit at and read. Coffee, flowers and books: what else does a person need?

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Biking

We did a 40 kilometer bike tour through the dunes, Dishoek and part of Middelburg. Because the landscape is so flat in this part of the country, it’s ideal for biking. Really, it’s the best way to see this part of the Netherlands. It’s how we discovered how pretty this coast is.

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A day trip to Middelburg 

Whether you go by bike or car, the bigger city of Middelburg is only a short while away. Its historic centre is cozy, and if you’re in for some shopping, this is the place to be around here. Take a channel tour and soak up some of the glorious sun while you see the main sights around. A day well-spent!

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I don’t think the pictures need any more explaining, they speak for themselves. If you’re in for a short getaway, for a weekend or a couple of days, this hidden gem of a place is ideal!

Let me know what your favourite getaway place is, I’d love to know!

Until more travels,
Love,
Silke

Valencia – top 5 picks

A few weeks ago, I spent a couple of days in Valencia, visiting my Uruguayan host sister. Besides seeing her again after 5 years, here’s what I thought were the five main highlights and must-do’s.

            1. Enjoy the green

I had no idea, but it turns out Valencia has a lot of green spots throughout the city, which is something that I really appreciate in a city. With the mellow lifestyle and warm weather, these parks are the perfect place to enjoy an ice cream, read a book in the shade or just catch up with friends.

Jardín del Turia is now a park, but used to be the river bed of the Turia river. You can imagine it’s a huge park, twisting and turning its way through the city.

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Another good one are the Jardins del Reial, which has lots of exotic plants and trees (this goes for Valencia in general, which is quite different and enjoyable if you are from the cold cold north, namely Belgium).

             2. Take a stroll through the historic city centre 

There is just so much amazing architecture to look at. From older buildings to new ones, all of the streets look glorious. Don’t forget to climb the Miguelete tower to enjoy the view from the top too! The 209 steps are worth it. Tip: don’t wear a dress, it can get quite windy up there. Unless you want the whole of Valencia to see your bum, then by all means do like I did.

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3. Buy some fresh produce at one of the many markets

Valencia is the place for foodies with its bustling markets spread across the city. From fresh fruit and veggies to refreshing juices, spices and different types of meats, cheese and fish, it’s all there for you to enjoy. Mercado de Colòn is a renovated old market, but it’s worth a peek. For more of a real market feel, check out Mercado Central: both the inside and outside are beautiful and you can pretty much find anything here. Since Valencia is known for its oranges, try a freshly squeezed orange juice, or buy the original spices to make your own paella.

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             4. Enjoy the climate and take things slow

Because Valencia can get quite hot in the summer, people live on a completely different daily time schedule. Wake up late, take a siesta in the afternoon, go out for dinner late and stay up till the sun sets over the beautiful city. Take things slow and easy.

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           5. Don’t skip the main attraction

Although it’s the one thing that I knew Valencia for, and it does sound like quite a tourist trap, the Océanographic and the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències, are both definitely worth a visit, if not for the architecture alone. The pictures don’t lie, it’s a pretty photogenic space… Don’t just skip it!

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Hasta la próxima!

Besos

Silke