great weekends in den haag, den bosch, and arnhem

March 25, 2007 § Leave a comment

I have the habit of traveling alone. It doesn’t mean that I don’t like company. I prefer to travel with someone I’m comfortable with, but I can also point out few people I’d never want to travel together with again. However, in general, I’d be happy if someone wanted to go with me. If nobody is able to go, or I’d rather not go with a particular person, then I will gladly go alone. Thus the phrase: traveling alone. It requires determination and adequate preparation. Planning, map, and logistics are crucial necessities. I’ve traveled alone in Italy (Rome, Pisa, Florence, Napoli), Paris, Madrid, Leer in Germany and several cities in The Netherlands of course. In this activity, practice makes things easier!

Last weekend, 17/3/07: Kroller-Muller Museum in Otterloo

Friday night is research time: figuring out where I want to go and how to get there. I spent some time browsing through my Holland guidebook (DK Eyewitness) and, I decided on Kroller-Muller museum for its van Gogh collection. Next step was to learn how to get there through the museum website: 20 minutes train ride to Arnhem, then the 105s bus to Otterloo, then somehow get into the Hoge Veluwe national park, where the museum is. And then it’s always the usual adventurer trick: ask tourist information or bus driver when I got there.

I left Nijmegen at 10.00 for Arnhem. Then I went to the bus information center, asked for the bus to Kroller-Muller museum, and the lady there told me to go to a platform in the bus station. The bus leaves for Otterloo every hour. In the bus, I told the driver that I was going to Kroller-Muller, then he told me where to get off and wait for another taxi bus after. It turned out to be a taxi service from the national park. I just hopped in and paid the driver for the park entrance (7 euro). He drove me straight into the park and stopped in front of the museum.

At the museum entrance I was asked whether I was a student. I said yeah, but I don’t have my student card. Then he said, well, you look like a student to me. And I smiled so wide, thanking him. That meant I got a student reduction price of just 3,5 euro instead of 7 euro. Very nice.

Their van Gogh collection is plenty!!!  I went around the museum, then went out to the sculpture garden and had lunch there (brie sandwich from home), and went back in to see the van Gogh’s again. Then I decided it’s time to see a bit of the national park. I took the free white bike to a different road (not the one I passed when I went into the park in the morning). I just wanted to get out of the national park and get a bus back to Arnhem. However, after 20 minutes of cycling, 3 times of internal conflicts ("this is the right exit, keep going" vs. "this is the wrong way, turn back"), and the wind blowing against me, I finally had the courage to give up.

(Yes people, as I learned that day: giving up takes courage. The courage to admit that you were WRONG and that you must RETREAT and do something DIFFERENT. Not just go to a different direction, but to GO BACK first and THEN take a different direction.)

The good side was that I got to see the sand dunes, the hallmark of Hoge Veluwe national park. The part I saw was an open land with desert landscape. The bad side was that I’d spent more than 30 minutes of going nowhere, all tired from cycling against the wind. But hey, sometimes more is gained with some pain. So overall, it had been great for me. As I told you, I went back to the museum and waited for the bus to take me out of the park. It’s taxi bus to the bus stop outside the park, then bus 105s again to Arnhem bus station. I got back at the bus station around 17.00.

I got an invitation for dinner from a dutch colleague of mine who lived in Arnhem, so I took another bus trip to her place. Lovely dinner, in her lovely place. She had to work that night so we drove back to Nijmegen with car.

This weekend, 24/3/07: Den Haag

Friday night is research time again. Confusion rose from having to consider the best time to visit what (Keukenhoff in Lisse and Den Bosch better to be visited in April), other places I would visit with other people (as for now it’s Utrecht and Maastricht), and what to do in a particular place (if the forecast said it’s rainy, then indoor activity like museum must be present in the destination). 

Den Haag won. I chose Den Haag. I was there in 2005, visiting Madurodam (cool place!) and Maurithuis ("The Girl with The Pearl Earring" is one of those paintings you want to look at and admire for a long time!). This time I thought I’d try for Binnenhof, Escher in Het Palais, Gemeentemuseum, Photography museum, and if I had the time then maybe someplace else.

I left my place at 07.45, tried to catch the train before 08.30. It’s a long trip after all, 2 hours. I walked to VVV office beside Binnenhof, got myself a map, then ready to roll. After wondering around Binnenhof, I walked to Escher. 7,5 euro. And it’s just great in there. What so obvious was his being inspired by Islamic art. He even used 8 pointed star as a template. His true authenticity was in his work of relativity. So creative and smart at the same time. He’s a true mathematician. A brilliant artist.

Next destination was the Gemeentemuseum. The coolest thing was that I got my student card last week, so I could already use it for the museums. Nothing spectacular there, although the Sixties! exhibition kept me busy for some time. There’s another exhibition about war period, but having a personal history of Dutch colonialism in Indonesia, I’d rather not go there. It might trigger unpleasant sentiments from my part; I really I don’t want to see history distorted. I went to Photomuseum after, with very interesting exhibition. Very nice. I enjoyed it so much.

After the museums I still had some time. I went to the tram stop where some Dutch tourists mentioned Scheveningen. Then I remembered that my brother had recommended the place to me. I just figured out which tram to take and to just follow the tourists. I got to the port where the boats stop. The place reminds me of Bontang, the town of my high school years. Another 5 minutes of walk then I got to the beach. Afterwards it’s long stroll, enjoying the sight of sea and sand and misty air of Scheveningen.

I went back with tram to the central station and took a 6 o’clock train to Nijmegen. 

Sunday 25/3/07: Den Bosch

I woke up surprised because the weather was superb. Just fabulous. I immediately decided to go to Den Bosch. Not so far from Nijmegen anyway. But I didn’t stay long, just go around the center and  visited St. Jan’s cathedral (beautiful!); enjoyed the sun for a while, had ice cream. Then I went back after 2 hours there.

I just knew I had to visit someplace if the weather was that beautiful, and I had to go back early anyway to Nijmegen, because of I still had plenty of things to do (write personal stuff, possibly write something for my paper, and move my stuff from the place I used to stay in to the place I am staying now).


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