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Published: September 30th 2017
The Hague has a cool, very modern city hall.
Geo: 52.0783, 4.31365
Too funny - the Brit boys came back late last night from the red light district, where they watched a sex show. They told me "Wow ... I didn't know some of those things were possible!" Apparently, good times were had by all!
Laurence was listening to his iPod - "In love with a stripper" was playing, and we all laughed because Laurence kept talking about this one lady in the red light district, debating whether or not to take the plunge! Today, I'm going to the Hague - the original plan was to stay a night there, but from what I've heard it's kind of boring, so instead I'm doing it as a day trip and spending an extra night in Amsterdam.
As I left, a couple of Spanish senoritas were dancing and singing something about "the light". Oh yes ... a beautiful Spanish senorita IS the light, and what a beautiful light it can be! Maybe it was a sign, maybe I should have skipped the Hague today and instead chased that light!
There was nothing going on in the Hague - I wandered around, did some shopping, but I really should have left earlier. A lot of
Another beach volleyball tourney - I think it was for amateurs and I really didn't care, especially since Laura Ludwig wasn't playing ...
the stores have tags showing the cost in multiple currencies, but it was funny to note that the exchange rates weren't always the same, even in the same store. For example, a dress shirt might be shown as being 50 Euros or $80 CAD (which is close to the exchange rate), but a pair of jeans might be shown as 80 Euros, but only $100 CAD (well below the exchange rate). Something to watch for, when shopping in Europe.
Since I had the time, I hopped over to Leiden - a beautiful little town, but also boring. I went to the free Municipal Museum - nothing too interesting, with the exception of some beautiful modern stained glass. Mary's Church was cool, and there was a nice pedestrian area, but little else in town.
Back to Amsterdam, where I needed to change rooms because of my late decision to stay here an extra day. There were a couple of dudes from Seattle in the room, Will and Brady, and they joked that I was the second Patrick in the room, but that they could at least understand me, unlike the Irish Patrick. I chuckled, thinking that they were exaggerating ...
I walked past the Mauristhuis, but didn't feel like paying to go in and view the collection. I doubt that any of the artwork on display could match the masterpiece that worked in the cloakroom ...
Hanging on the right of the building is "Girl with a Pearl Earring", one of Johannes Vermeer's most famous paintings. I actually bought a fridge magnet version of the painting, though I never actually saw the painting in person. There's something very striking and deep about it.
cheap, nearby internet cafe, then over to Cafe de Regier, in the Jordaan - it's my last night in Amsterdam, so a nice meal is in order. The basket of fresh bread didn't last long - a kind of a sourdough/multi-grain hybrid that I've never seen before, but hope to eat again. Tasty! There was also some white bread that wasn't that great, despite having a nice texture. As I started my meal, it was 21:00 - almost Spanish dinner time!
It was chilly sitting outside tonight, and I wondered if it was a mistake, because some rain clouds rolled in. I noticed that there are many male Spanish tourists here than females. The Amsterdam tourist board really needs to do something to encourage more senoritas to visit ...
Some Norwegian guy that looked like Pauly Shore sat nearby for most of my meal. He started chatting with me and told me his name, but I couldn't understand, and asked him if he could spell it. "Some of the letters don't exist in English ..." Ok, so we'll just refer to him as Pauly!
Anyway, Pauly's a press manager at a TV station in Oslo, and it's his first solo trip -
I think this is the Parliament building.
trying to use it as therapy to get over his girlfriend, who he just broke up with. Ouch! Hopefully it works out for the poor guy. We started talking about Norway's economy and history with oil - in the past, its relationship with oil has been compared to Alberta's, but not in a good way.
With such a similar history, Norway has managed to accumulate a fund of over $250 billion CAD! Critics wonder where all of Alberta's money went, and why are fund is a only a fraction the size of Norway's. It was getting late, so I dashed back to the hostel.
The Seattle guys were right - that Irish Patrick in the room had the THICKEST accent! But somehow, through lip-reading and careful listening, I understood some of what he was saying to me. Or maybe I just convinced myself of that! How strange was his accent? Remember Brad Pitt's gypsy character in "Snatch"? Well, it was even harder to understand than that!
The guy was freaky and very high-strung - I went in to the room, trying to be quiet since it appeared that he was sleeping, so I turned on my reading light so as
Something floating in the reflecting pool; looks like a giant blob of marshmallows.
not to cause too much disturbance. As soon as I did, he popped straight up in his bed and said "You can the turn on the light if you want!!!" The guy was incredibly nervous and chatty, and wouldn't shut up, even as I walked into the bathroom and shut the door.
The guy was CREEPY, and seemed like he could snap at any time! I quickly cut the conversation short, killing the lights, and quickly saying "good night!" I was on the bottom bunk, and tossed around a little bit. As soon as I did that, Irish Patrick violently tossed and turned in his bed for what must have been 10-15 seconds! Creepy! After that, I was afraid to breathe, fearing that he would jump down and slash my throat for disturbing him. I didn't let myself fall asleep until some others returned to the room. With luck, he would murder someone else before murdering me ...
The guy is probably a serial killer, and reminded me a lot of this crazy girl I once met in Mallorca. I think her name was Nicky, and she might have actually been worse. I was finishing up my dinner on a terrace,
I grabbed an early lunch today at Place Mangerie, a cafeteria located on the main floor of a department store, that was similar to Sunterra back in Calgary. It was the first bad recommendation for Holland from this guidebook. There was an incredible selection, but the food was lacking.
and this American girl sitting nearby asked if I spoke English. I replied yes, and she invited me to join her - having not had a conversation with anybody that spoke English in a while, I thought "What the hell?"
She started telling me how the United States was going down, how it was going to disintegrate into chaos, etc ... she kept going on and on, and was a psycho, no doubt about it. She told me that she used to model, and I remember thinking "For what magazine? Psychotic Serial Killers Weekly?" She kept trying to buy me a sangria, and though I declined, she ordered one for me anyway.
Not wanting to be rude, I drank half of it, but then went to the bathroom. When I returned, I almost took a sip, but thought "Wait a sec ... she might've poisoned it!" I made some excuse about having to get up early, and got the hell out of there. I'm not even sure where I'm going with this story, but I only know that these two were the creepiest people I have ever met, in all of my travels!
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