Sunday, March 30, 2014

A day in Den Haag / The Hague

Being home in Belgium for a week means I get to go to the Netherlands at least once during my stay, and this time we chose to visit The Hague (Den Haag in Dutch). We started at Het Keukenhof which is also known at the Garden of Europe because it's the world's largest flower garden. People from all over the world come to visit this garden - we saw Russians, Germans and even Japanese people!


Het Keukenhof is a big garden filled with flowers, mostly tulips. I didn't take many pictures outside since it was really windy and rainy but thankfully the sun came out near the end of our visit. 

The most impressive was this very large greenhouse filled with thousands  and thousands of different tulip varieties (I think nearly all tulip varieties that exist). Holland is of course one of the biggest (or biggest?) suppliers of tulips worldwide, but still I never knew there were so many different colours and shapes! 

My personal favourite were these pink oddly-shaped tulips

Delicate daffodils

Black hyacinths. These flowers filled up the greenhouse with a lovely scent.

There was also an orchid greenhouse, with tons of different orchid varieties. 

I think orchids are really pretty but all mixed together next to one another in one room looked a bit kitsch I think


Het Keukenhof attracts a lot of tourists so it's pretty touristy with lots of merchandising and food stands, and a windmill overlooking tulip fields (can it get any more stereotypical?) But I still thought it was fun to see the garden and the flowers, and the incredible effort that has been put into this place. If you love flowers and cute baby animals (yes there's even a petting zoo with baby cows and goats) then this is a place you should visit when you're in the area.

After looking at all those flowers we got pretty hungry so we drove to The Hague for lunch. I heard that Kiraku does the best sushi in The Hague but unfortunately it's not open for lunch; I keep forgetting that it's not like London here. Most restaurants actually seemed to be closed, even around lunchtime, so we went to De Bakkerswinkel which my friend told me about. It's a kind of Le Pain Quotidien only more homely, with a sixties touch and two cats snoozing.

Our waitress was the sweetest waitress we had ever met, and she let us take our time to choose what we wanted from the menu. 

My sister and I ordered fresh mint tea with honey. You can never go wrong with mint tea!

My brother choose this delicious berry-yoghurt smoothie. I need to recreate this!

It took us some more time to decide what to eat since everything on the menu sounded good. You can choose from a list of sandwiches, salads, soup, quiche and toasted sandwiches. Quite similar to Le Pain Quotidien only more choice I'd say. My friend told me this place is also great for breakfast!

My sister had the cheese sandwich with mustard and a tomato soup.

I chose the toasted sandwich with cheese, rocket and parma ham, with a side salad and a tomato soup. It was so good and the perfect lunch combination. I loved the dark sourdough bread, really fresh.

This place also seems good for a high tea with friends, you could pretty much sit here all day. If I would live in The Hague, I'd come here to study and cuddle with the cats! 

One of my dear friends from high school joined us while we were having lunch and it was so good to catch up. I don't see my friends from high school that much since we're all scattered across the globe but when I see them it still feels like nothing has changed since we graduated! 

We had to leave The Hague right after lunch but I'll definitely be back to explore this city a little more! I can 100% recommend De Bakkerswinkel for breakfast, lunch or an afternoon pick-me-up. The good bread and cakes are definitely worth going back for!

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