“… as the sea loves, with a blue heart and a freed soul.” Pieces of Longing
I’ve always loved the sea. I’ve always been fascinated by it, and always felt that, when being by the sea, I could disconnect completely. From everything, including thoughts and feelings, my unanswered questions and undefined states of the soul.
I was travelling in the Netherlands, and decided to go see the Hague: and what a great surprise it was!
I say ‘surprise’ maybe because my Hague mindset was only about stunning buildings, cozy cafés, exceptional museums, and high prices (the Netherlands is two up to three times more expensive than Spain, especially when planning to eat out). Well, I’ve got about everything I was evisioning, but the cherry on the cake was not the city itself: only two kilometres away from the Hague, and easily reachable by tram or by bike, or even on foot, there’s a stunning beach, surrounded by sand dunes.
The frozen December wind and the dark grapphite colour of the water gave the place a harsh touch, still there were plenty of people enjoying both the wind and the waves, with their kites or boards.
The place is called Scheveningen, and has 11 km of coastline with sand dunes, a large beach and a wide promenade by the seaside. The beach’s pier offers plenty of entertainment, including a 60-metre high bungee jumping session or a ride in the 40-metre tall Ferris wheel.
Besides the original early-1800s buildings of Scheveningen, including the Casino (1887), there is a modern residential area as well, plus a fishermen harbour, where dozens of restaurants arrayed by the docks serve the catch of the day: sole, herring, cod, sea bass or seafood, plus oysters, seaweed, langoustines or mussels, basically anything you can think of coming out of the sea, and cooked in all possible ways, from local dishes to Spanish paella. Just keep in mind, if you plan to eat there, that they close at 6 max 7 pm, partly because the Dutch dine early, starting 5 or 6 pm!
So even if I had my share of architecture, cafés and museums, in the Hague, I still feel that it’s the Scheveningen experience that was, without a doubt, the one.