Saturday, September 17, 2011

Wine tasting, Indonesian take-out, and late-night museum-hopping

It turns out, these three things go quite well together--and what a night! Oh, did I mention it was 26ºC (79ºF)?! Our one day of summer this entire summer!

We caught the 16h12 intercity train from Rotterdam Centraal to Den Haag Holland Spoor. [side note: in case you were wondering, the 'intercity' is the fastest train between cities, then comes the 'stop-trein' then 'snel-trein' and finally the slowest is the 'sprinter' -- there is a logic to it, but it seems backwards.] After a quick tram to Emmy and Daniel's neighborhood we headed to this fantastic wine-tasting event hosted by the neighborhood cave du vin. It was Italian night and all the wines were, yes, from Italy. All over Italy. I quickly realized how little I knew about Italian varietals. Of course I tasted some Barolo, Amarone, and Chianti but there were others I'd never heard of and couldn't tell you the names. I do remember a delicious Garganega (aka Soave). The pours were humble, the salumi delectable, and the wine convo made me think we were in the Russian River.

After we bought a few bottles and closed up the wine shop, we all headed back to Emmy and Daniel's lovely apartment for some Indonesian take-out. I can't get enough Indonesian food here, it's just so good. We all sat outside on the terrace and soaked in the last rays of hot sun. Ahhhhh, sun.

With a full belly and a shot of espresso, we got ready for Den Haag's Museumnacht. A brilliant concept, really -- all the galleries and museums stay open really, really late and one ticket at 13€ gets you in the door to them all.  That is, if you can get in the door...after waiting in long lines! We had to bypass a couple because of the lines, but we still got to three museums--and the heavy hitters at that. We first toured the Gemeentemuseum's fashion collection and lovely museum shop. Next up was the Panorama Mesdag. It's a 360º view of the beaches of Scheviningen painted in the late 1800s, making it one of the oldest of its kind around. Quite impressive! Lastly, we explored the classic Mauritshuis. They were offering free guided 'speed' tours which zipped us through the two-story mansion, showcasing the wonderful works of the classic Dutch artists in under 30 minutes. Elliot and I have been to this museum a few times now, but it's always nice to see a few classics from Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Steen. Plus, the tour guide was so knowledgeable and pointed out several things I never would've seen without her!


  1. I'm definitely jealous of all that good Indonesian food that's so readily available everywhere in Holland. Regarding Italian grape varietals, I like Dolcetto and Nebbiolo wines and of course Sangiovese. Here's a nice site that lists most of their varietals.

  2. Actually, the order of speed of Dutch trains is as follows:
    1. Intercity
    2. Sneltrein
    3. Sprinter

    The "stoptrein" is the same thing as the sprinter, only that the Dutch national railways thought it would be cooler (and therefore faster-sounding?) to give it a semi-English name by calling it a Sprinter.


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