After a very leisurely start, we cycled into The Hague to explore. We wanted to visit ‘Escher in The Palace’, a permanent exhibition of Escher’s work that is housed in the former Winter Palace of the Dutch Queen Mother. The palace is very ornate and I was fascinated by the amazing shaped chandeliers in every room, for example a skull and cross bones, an umbrella, a world atlas and a bomb!
About 150 of Escher’s prints are displayed in the museum. The exhibition includes famous prints such as ‘Day and Night’, where the landscape appears to change into a flock of birds, and ‘Ascending and Descending’, which depicts rows of people perpetually ascending and descending a flight of stairs. The subjects of many of Escher’s prints couldn’t possibly exist in the real world… they are optical illusions that play with perspective. I was also fascinated that most are wood prints and lithographs.
We thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition and spent ages wandering round, and playing with the interactive displays. It was great fun making our own photograph, distorted using perspective and making me look bigger and taller than John!
We then found a pancake house for lunch… well, it had to be done before we left! Afterwards we spent an hour or two wandering around the town before cycling the 5k back to the campsite. Everywhere was very busy ahead of the King’s Day and Night celebrations.
In the evening, we cycled back into town for a music festival. The ‘Life I Live Festival’ in The Hague is a huge free open-air music event for which countless bands perform on several stages at different squares.
There was a great atmosphere, with people strolling from stage to stage and enjoying street food and drink. Sometimes the smell of cannabis drifted by… I’d forgotten it was legal in The Netherlands.
After a few beers, we needed the loo and found a bar tucked away down a side street. It was lovely and cosy and served great beers and gins so we stayed there for a while, enjoying watching other people. Then we gradually retraced our steps to our bikes. The city was buzzing, with people everywhere. Surprisingly, although everyone had drinks in their hands, no one was particularly drunk. Not even me!
Cycling back after midnight was a bit scary… in town because of all the people and cyclists everywhere, and then in the woods because the cycle paths were rather dark and eery in spite of our bike lights. Another excellent day!