Dear Diary, I finally had my first urban-Holland* trip (The Hague – Amsterdam – Giethoorn – IJsselstein – Roermond). So, let’s take it from the top!
You remember how heartbroken I was when my passport didn’t arrive in time from the UK consulate for my 30th birthday trip to London? It was the worst. I was so excited, and then completely crushed.
All I knew was that I did not want to be in Cologne for my 30th and that was exactly what fate had planned. But not one to take no for an answer, I planned another trip to celebrate my 30th – albeit delayed. I decided to go to Amsterdam instead! I had never been to the city of coffee shops and canals, so it would work perfectly fine. I did a little research and found some great places to visit thanks to this website and others. From museums to canals, coffee shops, and the RLD, Amsterdam seemed like a great city to choose.
We rented a car for four days from Buchbinder, reserved a place in IJsselstein via AirBnB, and left for a long weekend on 10th May 2018.
Like always, we had planned to leave early but I woke up around noon and plans changed. Mister, being the darling that he is, let me sleep a little longer and went to pick up the car on his own. I showered, dressed and started packing – all the things that I should have done the night before.
We left around 2:30PM and reached IJsselstein a little after five. The town is populated with beautiful houses and farms, with cows and horses. Our AirBnB was on a street that reminded me of a street from Desperate Housewives. Similar houses, one after another, and a palpable community vibe.
We dropped our luggage, rested for 20 minutes while deciding on what to do in the evening. Amsterdam seemed too far and too big for an evening, so we decided to go to The Hague. It was almost as far as Amsterdam, but smaller in terms of attractions, so a couple of hours would be enough.
I Googled The Hague to find out what’s worthy a visit, and decided to go to De Pier at Scheveningen Strand. Ah, that place is a beauty. There is a parking lot nearby, so driving to the beach is a good idea.
De Pier is essentially a pier, with a number of shops selling local craft and restaurants, serving everything from burgers, tacos to cotton candy and gelato. There is also a Ferris wheel and bungee jumping for thrill seekers.
After strolling through the pier, taking 20 million pictures and having mandatory ice cream for the day, we walked towards the beach. It was warm when we left Cologne in the afternoon, but somehow, the temperatures had dropped and it was a chilly 14 degrees. I hadn’t packed a single warm piece of clothing, so Mister let me wear his jacket throughout the trip. Yup, Shaheen steals her husband’s clothes – don’t be like Shaheen (sorry, I have been meaning to do this since forever!).
The beach is truly scenic, and the sunset was worth risking pneumonia for. There are many shops on the sidewalk, a mall and strew of beach clubs. I would have loved to spend some more time to check out the clubs but it was freezing and I was wearing a skirt.
Insider tip: Columns that hold up the pier are candy coloured and totally instagram worthy.
We had fries and Panini from a café near the parking lot called Lufti’s Corner – not worthy a mention. We saw a few halal restaurants near the parking lot, in case anyone wants to have a proper meal.
Next stop was the The Hague’s city center. By the time we reached, it was almost 10PM, restaurants were closing and the roads looked deserted. Still hopeful, we parked and got out to scout the area. We lasted all of 10 minutes as it was awfully cold and windy, there were hardly any people on the streets, and most stores and cafes had already closed for the day.
Ultimately, we picked something from McDonalds drive through (dine-in closes at 11PM and drive through works until 2AM).
Tired, I slept like a baby that night.
* Technically, this was my second trip to Netherlands. The first one was in 2016, when I went for camping by the shore. It was beautiful, but isolated from the cities. We did stop for a bit on the way back in Rotterdam, but you know what I mean, right?