Not THE girl with a Pearl Earring
Sometimes days are lazy, sometimes packed, and sometimes they are not what you expect. Our intention was to see Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, but, of course, anything can happen with the #grownuptravellers!
Sunday Day 682
A rainy, lazy day; a good time to catch up with writing, have a fun fitness regime, which Bahar and I spent mainly exercising our rib muscles from laughing. We did get out to walk in the forest, exploring the many winding pathways and deciphering what the plants and trees were. Bahar lives in such a great area; nature, shops and good transport all on her doorstep. What more could anyone want?
Monday Day 683
After a coaching session, Tim and I caught a bus into The Hague, or Den Haag as it is called here. We intended to visit the Maurithuis Museum to see Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring. The museum didn’t open until 1 pm so we wandered around, admiring the architecture, including The Binnenhof, the oldest surviving House of Parliament in the world!
I suddenly remembered that we needed some US$. Stupidly, when ordering Rubbles, Yen and Dong back in the UK, I forgot we needed to pay US$ for some accommodation in Russia and Mongolia. Doh! We couldn’t find any Banks, only ATM, which seemed weird as we were in the administrative hub of the Netherlands. The nearest foreign exchange was 25 minutes march out of the centre. Oh well, I’m sure we got in our 10,000 steps for the day.
We arrived to find a rather dull room, adorned with three hard plastic chairs, one of the two small kiosks open and people scattered around waiting their turn. Despite no formal queue, it seemed to work; each person just needing to discover who had walked through the door before them. If I’d had some paper and pen, I am sure I would have been tempted to give everyone a number – or is that being far too British! After waiting an hour, we were dismayed to discover that not any of our credit or debit cards were accepted!
Not to be beaten, I suggested that we tried to get Euros from an ATM to exchange. Success! Another long wait. It was incredible how many people sneaked in between the time we crossed the road and back! And eventually, we got our US$ at a reasonable rate. Alas, no photos of the real Girl with the Pearl Earring, or Scarlett Johansson, you’ll just have to put up with a photo of me (see above)!
Back to Bahar’s with a delicious meal waiting for us; she really is a poppet. Our bags all packed, we trundled down to the Station with hugs, thank you’s and much waving as the train doors closed. Having met Bahar now in Turkey, the UK, Brazil and The Netherlands, I wonder where in the world we will meet our dear friend next.
We arrived at the bus station an hour before departure, just as our ticket instructed. Why, oh, why did we do that? After 45 minutes standing around in the cold, the coach finally arrived, but didn’t open the door for at least another five minutes!
However, always a positive, we were the only ones on the bus until Amsterdam, so made sure that we had a double seat each for a comfortable night’s journey. When the crowd of people climbed into the bus, I must admit that I pretended to be asleep, sprawled over the two seats. Tim put his hat on his spare seat while wearing his blackout eye mask. Wha-ha-ha!
There were enough seats for everyone, we didn’t make anyone sit on the floor, and more importantly, we managed to get some Z’s in, finally arriving in Berlin at 5:30 am, two hours early!