While the custom officers’ response to us staying in the Hague was an intriguing one-word response “Why?”, for us this couldn’t have been a more perfect, well priced, and simply beautiful place to start our journey.
Even though we arrived on a public holiday (Ascension Day), the Dutch public transport system was simply outstanding, with modern trains, trams and busses all running regularly. Immediately clearing customs the trains are right there, and via the many self-service kiosks, we were travelling on our train to the Hague within 7minutes (€9.50 one-way), followed by a short tram journey towards our Airbnb (€3.50 per trip, €6.50 per day, or €16.50 for a 3-day pass). Much much easier than Paris or London where it can take forever to get into the city.
TIP: Like most European countries, once you have you ticket, you need to “tap on” and “tap off” to validate the ticket - not doing so can cost you a hefty fine. They also have seperate tickets for the trains and trams which was slightly annoying.
As soon as we arrived in the Hague we found a great little local Dutch restaurant, full of locals, and were immediately satisfied after a pint of Amstel and Varkensschnitzel (pork schnitzel). Heading back to the Airbnb afterwards, we had made it through to after 9pm (which is not bad when your body clock thinks it’s 7am). On the way home we grabbed some muesli, yogurt, bananas and orange juice (enough for three days breakfast for two) for a total of €6 – and this is where you can significantly save on our travels, as that’s just €1 per meal!
Our first pint of Amstel, and "I'm not an Instagram Wife" Bidi refusing to be in a food photo.
Following our backpacker breakfast, we immediately headed directly towards the ocean, and after wandering through a myriad of canals, parks, forests and gardens (all of which further heightened by the growth of Spring), we found the coast and a cool little cafe called Strandpaviljoen de Kwartel built on the beach and full of locals (all of which seemed to own dogs).
After our coffee fix (which was very good) we met the manager of the bar whilst rustling around for a powerpoint to charge our laptops (and thus write this article). They were very accommodating, very cheap by European standards (€6.50 for a sandwich, €5 for 500ml of Pilsner). I couldn’t recommend this place more, and if you're in the area, definitely worth it.
RANDOM FACT: They dissemble and re-build the entire establishment from scratch each year (how cool is that) and it’s open from mid-March to mid-October. Get directions here.
After several hours baking in the sun, we found ourselves sitting there, on the west coast of the Netherlands, pondering the remaining 156 days of the 157 day trip we had just committed to, and completely reassured it was the right decision, with plenty of new places, experiences and feasts to come.
Stay tuned for our next pit-stop :)
Bidi & Dan