Yesterday was spent in the company of the Global Siblings, acting as host and tour guide to The Hague. Well, attempting to act as tour guide. My incompetence in my own city was highlighted by getting us lost not only once, but twice in search of cafés and monuments that I know rather well, as well as managing to get myself a fine on the public transport system. B strikes again.
There was a bit of museuming and building gawking sandwiched between rounds of drinks and meals, none of which were actually sandwiches. I was very excited when the siblings allowed me to nominate the place for breakfast, which was naturally Baklust. I love this café, primarily because it is the only place in The Hague that I would actually consider a café as understood by Australians. Here in the Low Countries, the name café is synonymous with pub, which gets very confusing when you’re out in search of a spot of cake and tea. But Baklust not only gets the concept, but offers organic, vegetarian, homemade deliciousness (including actual juice!) and realises there are more meal options than sandwiches! Every person who has visited me in The Hague or expressed a desire to go out for a proper café experience has been taken here by me. And yes, I’ve gotten lost every single time.
We then trekked off to the Gemeente Museum, which is housing some major works from the Mauritshuis while it undergoes renovation. Sadly, Girl with a Pearl Earring and some other pieces are on tour until the reopening in June. But there are still some incredible works on display, including The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp and a self-portrait by Rembrandt, View of Delft by Vermeer and Potter’s staggering The Bull. I think my personal favourite though was Peter-Paul Rubens’ Old Woman and Boy with Candles. We also took in some of the permanent collection, including some great Impressionist works by Van Gogh (no, I can’t pronounce it with a Dutch accent yet). The modern collection was extensive, but I have to say that sometimes a cupboard isn’t art, it’s just a cupboard.
After checking out the Coco Chanel exhibition and wandering past the Peace Palace, we decided that the rest of the remaining hours would be most profitably spent eating and drinking. The siblings stated they wanted booze and food, which are two things found in abundance at the Grote Markt. We duly trundled off to the city centre, and I decided to take the opportunity to try out Rootz, which had been much touted by friends but never personally tried. What an excellent decision that was. We drank our way through a seriously decent amount of a seriously decent merlot, ate some of the fanciest and tastiest pub grub I’ve ever experienced, including an entire saucepan of cheese fondue. But nothing could top the perfection that was dessert. I don’t even possess the words to describe the deliciousness that was the Belgian chocolate lava mud mug cake consumed by Miss Communikat and myself, though Mister looked pretty darn happy with his lemon meringue tart.
The Global Siblings introduced me to many hilarious catch phrases and stories last night, but the one I like the best is 2014: Keep it Clean. The concept is that instead of making New Year’s Resolutions, which carry so much pressure, expectations and are inevitably doomed for failure, you pick a motto for your year on the 1st of January and endeavour to live by it for the rest of the year. The motto can be adapted to apply to whatever aspect of your life you want. For instance Keep it Clean could be a reminder to eat healthily; clean your bathroom more often; live life with a clear focus and less distractions, or stop flirting inappropriately with your brother’s girlfriend. But because it isn’t a set goal as such, like “I will go to the gym nine times a week!”, you don’t have to try and overhaul everything at once, feel guilty if you fail or decide to give up when you realise your New Year enthusiasm was unrealistic.
I love 2014: Keep it Clean. For me I think it’s going to be about keeping my headspace as uncluttered as possible, to stop worrying about things I can’t control and focus on one thing at a time. But it was also great motivation to tidy my room this morning!
So what do you think of the motto of the year, Courageous Double Dutchies? Feel free to comment and let me know what you think, but remember to keep it clean! (See what I did there?)