Remember when I told you to keep your eyes open for another travel post? I’ve finally gotten round to writing it (better late than never, am I right?). At the end of last summer (yeah, I know, don’t judge) a friend and me decided to go on a little road trip. We both hadn’t been to the Netherlands in a while and since my hometown is conveniently close to the Dutch border, picking our destination didn’t require much thinking – despite living so ‘close by’, neither of us had been to Den Haag or Rotterdam so we decided that had to change! So on (pretty hot) summer day, we filled the car with petrol and made our way towards the west. The drive was supposed to take about 3 hours but that estimate was clearly based on entirely empty roads – the traffic that awaited us before the border was crazy but oh well, 5 hours later we’d finally made it. We ended up in a car park that intensely smelled like Chinese food – to the point where we nearly got a Chinese instead of the typical Dutch chips! But of course we had to follow the tradition and each got a large portion of chips because how could we not?! After our quick lunch, we wandered around the city for a bit before we visited the Binnenhof (Inner Court), an absolute must-see if you ever visit Den Haag. The Binnenhof was stunning and even more beautiful than I’d known it from pictures. The architecture was simply stunning and the whole place is so picture-worthy that I bet it’s posted on Instagram at least a few dozen times a day.
After we’d ticked the Binnenhof off our list, we spent some time exploring the area around it. We came across many lovely streets and cafés, some very fancy shops as well as bike destined to carry rescued food. What struck me most about Den Haag was its diversity and its contrasting facets – on the one hand, Den Haag had the character of a small cosy town but if you looked into the distance you could see skyscrapers reminding you otherwise. A truly fascinating contrast. If I visit Den Haag again (hopefully in the near future!), I shall certainly try out as many of these lovely cafés and restaurants as I can, they all looked so good. But before I go on rambling about restaurants, let’s continue our journey through the city. Having wandered around for a bit, we finally found the Paleis Noordeinde – and how stunning it was! If you are a fan of architecture, Den Haag definitely is for you. By the time we reached China Town again (where we had, as you might have already guessed, parked the car) it was nearly 5 so it was definitely time to drive to our second destination, Rotterdam. Not before getting a frappuccino though, the heat was killing us a bit. Luckily, the drive to Rotterdam wasn’t too bad and although we’d accidentally picked a car park you needed an app for (what even?) we finally managed to find a parking space.
Arriving in Rotterdam, we took a walk along the river to get to the city centre – walking back at night, we realised how much of a detour that had been but oh well, it was a really lovely walk and it felt great to stretch our legs after spending so much time sitting in the car. Arriving in the centre of the city, we went to find the famous cube houses and as you can see, we did! We didn’t actually go in (apparently you can during the day) and if ever go back I definitely will because I cannot wrap my head around how you can actually live in there! If someone knows how it works, please fill me in! Since it was getting late by the time we had seen these strange (and utterly fascinating!) houses, we decided to find a place for dinner. We were both set on going for a restaurant we wouldn’t usually go for which well, didn’t make the decision process any easier. Especially when you’re generally an indecisive person. But finally, we settled on a really retro-looking Spanish restaurant and I am very glad that we did because the food was lush. You might assume that the Spanish cuisine is not the most convenient for vegans but actually, they had plenty of vegan/veggie tapas and all of them were so incredibly delicious. If you’re ever looking for a great place to eat in Rotterdam, Lola won’t leave you disappointed. The food ended being so much that we stayed at the restaurant for ages and only began our journey back at about 11. Well at least, it didn’t take 5 hours that time! At about 1.30 in the morning we finally arrived back home – very tired, but filled with a lot of happy thoughts and memories. All in all, both Den Haag and Rotterdam were much more than I’d ever expected and I cannot recommend visiting these places enough! If not for the architecture, do it for the tapas.
Have you ever visited Den Haag or Rotterdam? xx