Brian and I arrived in the Hague after a lovely, quick (but delayed) bus ride from Amsterdam. Seriously, it’s a short ride, and we didn’t leave Amsterdam until after we should have arrived in the Hague. But it wasn’t too much of a problem for me, because we walked the 10 minute distance between the bus station and our hotel, and I never wanted to leave again. Brian had some hotel points through work and we were able to stay in the five star Hotel des Indes, where dignitaries such as Winston Churchill and Dwight D. Eisenhower have stayed. It was way too fancy for us, and I felt out of place a bit, but wow. It was gorgeous. We stayed in the junior suite right at the front of the hotel where the owner of the building used to live, and our window looked directly out to the square where the M. C. Escher Museum was located. If we had more time, I would have insisted we visit that museum, but instead I knew where I wanted to go – the Maritshuis.
A few years ago I read a great novel named “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt. The book centers around the real-life painting “The Goldfinch” which is housed at the Maritshuis. After having read the novel and researched the history behind the painting, it was wonderful to see it in person. The artist was actually killed in an explosion of a factory in the 1600s and most of his work was destroyed. However, the Goldfinch remains. Also in the museum is another well-known work, the Girl With the Pearl Earring. Another stunning piece of art, just in the next room!
The Hague itself is very small and can be visited in only a day or two. There is a palace with public gardens, and you can walk in fifteen minutes to the International Court of Justice. Because it was Christmastime, all of the tours were booked for the entire week, but it was a nice place to visit and had a little exhibition in a building outside the gates, if you couldn’t go on the tour. Brian was able to try a herring sandwich near the main square, which northern Europe is known for, and we ate at Cafe Milu for dinner and I had wonderful mushroom truffle risotto.
Checking out of our gorgeous hotel was difficult, but it was well worth the stay. Although the Hague isn’t a “must-see” destination of Europe, we had a great time, and perfect weather! Our day was totally sunny, but when we woke up the next morning we were greeted with a impenetrable fog that obscured everything around us. Next stop for us: Brussels!