The Hague and Kijkduin - Beach Walks and Bicycles

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Monday 2 June 2014

The Hague and Kijkduin - Beach Walks and Bicycles

Our first week after leaving the UK has been a very peaceful one. After our busy tour of the UK visiting friends and family we decided to slow down a little before heading off further on our tour and have based ourselves in the Hague this past week to unwind.

Staying in the Kijkduin Vakantiepark right on the coast, we've settled into a peaceful routine normally involving a little bit of exercise, juicing, walking on the beach, reading a book, heading off somewhere on our bikes and stopping by Esther's Oma (grandma - who's 97) for a bit of dinner and to play some hands of a traditional dutch card game -klaverjassen (although we have adapted the game as there are only 3 of us). Sometimes we change the order around but that sums up most of the past week. Very relaxing. The park did get a little busy this past few days as there was a Dutch national 4-day holiday, but I suppose I better get used to the crowds with July and August just around the corner.

Being right on the coast, just 500m walk from the beach is a real treat coming straight off the motorways of the UK. We did have some rain early in the week but the last 4 days we've spent more time by the sea each day.  Even though we've spent a fair bit of time on the west coast beaches of Holland over the years, they never fail to surprise me at how tranquil they feel. As the beach pretty much runs the length of the west coast from Belgium up to the northern islands there is plenty of beach to go around (even during a national holiday) and you don't need to walk more than a few hundred metres to get away from the beach cafes and crowds and hear the sea rolling away in the breeze. I once read that it is something to do with the amount of water in Holland reflecting the light, but there is a definite brightness in the air which maybe explains the number of famous painters that are Dutch.

As we've been able to get around so easily on our bikes everyday we haven't had to move the van all week, but today we made a special trip to collect Oma from her apartment and take her out to the beach for the afternoon as well. I even had to get the suncream on as we sat for several hours with Esther and Oma enjoying freshly squeezed orange juice in one of the beach cafes at Kijkduin. I had a cup of tea of course which all sensible people know is the drink of choice on a roasting sunny day.

Speaking of sunshine, summer feels well on the way here now and the cycle route we've been taking between here and Oma goes through a nature park where we've been following the development of some moorhen chicks which were just out of their eggs when we arrived. They seem to be doing pretty well although Esther has been fretting about the smaller one who seems glued to his mum in the nest while his bigger siblings are out and about already. Again, it is quite surprising how easy it is to get away from the hustle and bustle of one of the most populated parts of a densely populated country. I think it is something to do with how well developed the cycle network is and that there is a complete transport system for bikes which allows you to get away from the fumes by the side of the road if you want to take a more scenic route.
Mr and Mrs Moorhen and family

We've been debating where to head to next and the original plan of heading up to Norway first before tracking south as the summer passed has been put in doubt with concerns over the high probability of a lot of rain in the next couple of weeks. Looking at the long term forecast for June there is a definite drizzly feeling about the most northerly parts of Europe and with average temperatures in the mid-teens we're not sure that's the best place for us to start. The alternative is to head south towards the Alps first and maybe come north again if it gets too hot. Decisions decisions. I'll let you know what we decide, if we can tear ourselves away from the beach that is.

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