THIS POST IS NOW UPDATED AND FINISHED! Sorry for the early publishing – Darn WordPress.
I decided I would go south to the Hague (Den Haag in Dutch) today and have a wander. The only thing I really wanted to see specifically was the International Criminal Court. Other than that, my plan was to just wander and see what I find and see. My friend did mention the Madurodam Museum; unfortunately I didn’t understand the context that he was saying and so I ended up going myself when he wanted to go on day when he wasn’t working and could come along. Ooops. Sorry Jorgo! 😦
Anyway, the morning was cold and cloudy. I got to the train station and just started walking when I realized I really had to use the restroom and so the mission changed from International Criminal Court to finding a bathroom! 😀 After I had found a petrol station with a bathroom, I got back to the task at hand.
I was walking through a residential area then a park and another residential area. As is normal in Netherlands, there are dedicated bike paths on either side of the street as well as pedestrian sidewalk. When walking through the park area on the sidewalk, there were so many walking trails that looked so inviting; I could have walked for hours…. oh wait; I did by the end of the day.
Anyway, there was a particularly nice section of residential area with a small canal and a walking trail.
I finally came to the International Criminal Court; it was about 3.5 kilometers from the train station to the court. There were a lot of security cameras around so I figured I shouldn’t hang around too long taking pictures and possibly looking sketchy. So, I did snap a few photos and then walked up to what looked like the main entrance. There was a “Visitors” over one of the revolving doors and so I attempted to go in to see if there was a small museum or something where I could learn more about this institution. But when the door didn’t freely or easily start spinning, I figured I shouldn’t try too hard to get in as there were a couple of security guards at the desk who I’m sure were watching me. I did do a quick scan for a button to release the door so that it would spin open but when I didn’t quickly spot anything, I figured “just walk away before you get yourself in trouble.” So I did.
It was another almost 3 kilometers to the coast. There is a nice pier with a ferris wheel, a bungy jump, and other things. It was pretty cold and windy by this time and was starting to sprinkle. So I pulled out my rain jacket that I had stored away in my day pack and put that and my hat on. The hat was mostly to control the hair but partly because it was actually pretty cold. I walked on the upper exposed/outdoor part of the pier towards the ferris wheel and then took the stairs down and walked on the enclosed part back towards the shore. Because it’s clearly the off-season, there aren’t too many vendors at their shops but there were a few food places. I decided to try some more chips. Yummmyy. They are so good here!
Here are a couple really unique looking ducks I say while walking towards Madurodam.
After that little snack, I headed out to find the Madurodam Museum. It started raining harder and harder; it wasn’t pouring but a very steady light rain will soak you eventually. Once I got to Madurodam I realized that it’s an outdoor display, the scale models shown in this exhibit are exposed to the elements and so are you when visiting it. So, I didn’t spend as much time as I could have there because I was cold, getting wet, and tired. My hands were freezing.
There was one interactive part to this exhibit that I especially liked. It’s a canal approximately 18″ to 2′ wide and has built mostly of steel and has water flowing from an upper end down to the lower end; it’s being pumped in a loop. This small canal has a a cool little hand-operated lock; two gates that you can open and close. You can also close the lock and divert water through a smaller channel to the side of the lock. It’s super cool and got my engineering brain working.
Here’s a short video of scale-model mobile flood gates that open and close.
After Madurodam, I was pretty cold and getting tired out. So I started working my way back to the station where I had gotten off the train via heading towards downtown Haag. I walked by the office of UNICEF Nederland as well as an office building that had “International Water House” on it with several company or group names which peaked my interest. I’m really interested in water resources engineering and water reuse. I always keep my eye open for interesting potential opportunities. :-p
I got to the train station in time for a train headed back north when I figured I better scan my ticket before I get on the train. Well, the ticket wasn’t scanning green (meaning I was kosher to get on that train). So I figured to be kosher, I would go ask someone at the train station if they knew why the ticket wasn’t working. I had held it right next to my phone which, sometimes with electronic room keys, the phone signal can really mess up whatever coding or signals that the key cards hold. It turns out that the discount train tickets that we had bought were not valid during rush hour (which this was between 4:30 – 5:00pm). The rush hour period didn’t end (meaning my ticket wouldn’t work) until 7pm. Being cold, damp, and tired, I said nope, I’m not waiting two more hours till I head home. So I bought a one-way ticket home and got on the train that was half an hour later. No big deal. 🙂