Utrecht / Jazzed (and Pooped) in Den Haag
31 August 2002
Lazy Ass Traveler's Guide: Go to station, see what trains are leaving direct; Volume 2 (Advanced LATG) will discuss making train connections and planning ahead. Not my best travels; lots of activities have been missed out on because of the start/stop nature of the work.
Arrive at train station, which directly into a huge shopping mall, once escaped, you're confronted with an outdoor market packed into square outside the mall.
Heading out of the market, more stores!
Lots of flowers; lots of flowers for sale, lots of people carrying flowers home; they're in restaurants and carted away by the wait staff as people dine, dogs stay under the table, though
VVV travel information office: The new routine
Great little walking tour book
Along the way: A wedding at a church next door to Catherine Convent Museum... hmmm... and the happy couple took off in an orange Mini!!
Cannonballs in the tower
Utrecht turned out to be a fantastic city; lots of history (the first settlement there dates back to 50 A.D.; it's also the fourth largest city in The Netherlands)
Lots of people about; lively atmosphere, tons and tons of streetside cafes - and canalside cafes. Dual-level town, original medieval city just off the canals with restaurants - further down, studios and even apartments (yeah people live right off the water. How cool is that?!) The set up reminds me a bit of Austin, Texas, back in the U.S. of A. It's a matter of inches in the wrong direction and you can do post-dinner belly flop into the water.
Canalside dinner at Thipam, an Indiaas Ceylonees restaurant - hot chicken tikka (#56); first time it's ever been hot like that, served with red bell peppers. Fantastic location but unfortunately I can't particularly recommend the food. The portions were small, the chicken was cut funny (typically it should be chunks of white meat, this time it was more like shavings of dark meat, and some bones were still in the mix (although that was probably a mistake)) The Rising, Springsteen's latest, finally out here: 14.99 in a small independent store called White Noise. They also had the "extremely limited" limited edition for 31.99. Down the street, the main CD chain, Free Record Shop, was selling the basic version for 21.99. How do those pirates sleep at night? It's like shopping at Sam Goody back in the States - always overpriced.
Great place to walk around and soak up the sights; happily the weather cooperated this time. No Grote Markt, lay out is unlike Amsterdam, Goudan, Haarlem, etc. Utrecht has a unique feel. (Rotterdam is another unique city; it's unfortunate the weather was more hospitable)
Beer and strawberry romanoff at Winkel van Sinkel. The original was an historic department store, but it closed 100 years ago. Their jingle: In the big shop at Sinkel's all things can be bought / Sweeties and shandies, undies for dandies / Needles for knitting, and tablets for shitting.
Now it's a trendy restaurant by day and nightclub by night. So trendy, the menu appears to be a newspaper advertising insert for a supermarket, conveniently placed on the tables. It's all in Dutch, so I had to look twice to make sure it was indeed the menu.
First full, non-work day in The Hague since I arrived three months ago.
Startling realization: I'm pooped! Before, during the legendary 10-month odyssey, I was calling the shots and my well-being was the top consideration. Not so this time around.
Live jazz in the Haagsche Bluf plaza; a stage pulls out over Oil & Vinegar,
a cooking supply store. It's a nice little set up. The jazz was soothing, like
being back in the Turkish baths of Budapest.
Shopping around; a few pints at Fiddlers Den Haag
Travels feel almost Griswaldian at times. Ah yes, the Grote Markt. Hmmm... yeah, nice museum. Oh look... they've got canals.
Hague evenings: Charity BBQ, laundry, Indian, etc.; move from Europa to Sofitel Babylon
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