As many of you know the hostel is being renovated which has given me a little extra time to head out into the world and see what I can discover. I decided I wanted to take a long weekend to get a small break from Berlin and the stresses of daily life, and so I headed west to The Hague. I had no idea what to expect. I have been to Amsterdam a few times, and somehow imagined it to be a smaller version… but I was pleasantly surprised to find that whilst there are similarities, it is a quaint and quiet city that was not much like Amsterdam at all.
Much as in Berlin, whenever I travel I like to eat and especially to see what other cities are doing that I cannot get in Berlin. On a couple of the nights I headed into Chinatown and was very happy to get noodles with duck, wanton soup, and the highlight: chicken wings. Now, coming from America I have been trying to find the perfect chicken wing in Berlin for some time. Some – like the Bird or Angry Chicken – came close, but in The Hague I found it, the perfect wing, with the flavors of Asia and crispy to perfection.
Being a smaller and quieter city than Berlin, the bars were more spread out than here – where they are on every street corner – and I sometimes found it difficult to find smokes. So I spent a lot of time roaming the streets until I stumbled across a place where a couple of men were drinking little beers. Before I knew it I was in there with them and having a conversation that lasted the whole night. I don’t remember what we talked about, just that it was very in depth. And this process repeated itself over the following nights… it seems like the Dutch are extremely friendly when it comes to socializing!
There was another reason for coming to The Hague, and that was because of my interest in the history of Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal that is located in the Dutch city. The proceedings of the ICTY – where Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic are currently on trial – are open to the public, and so after a couple of security checks, a scanned passport, and the issuing of a headset, I was ushered into the public gallery. It was strange to be sitting there with the judges and the lawyers all just meters away, and it was fascinating if surreal to watch international justice being administered right in front of my eyes.
And then it was time to come back to Berlin, and after all the eating, drinking and legal proceedings, the time had flown by and I felt strangely more tired when I returned than I had done when I left. Time for another holiday?