15 May 2011

Exploring Den Haag

When Matthijs and I have had a free day during the weekend, we've often used it go exploring. And what better place to explore than the treasures right around the corner?

A couple of weeks ago, we'd gone biking to Kijkduin (just south of Scheveningen). I'd had in my head that there was an attraction worth seeing there - a large bowl-shape in the ground - but as I had no idea what it was named (nor exactly how to describe it), I'd hoped that we'd somehow just bump into it. And biking along a bit outside of Kijkduin, we noticed a set of stairs to nowhere and a concrete passageway, so we decided to check it out. And we found the strange ellipse I was looking for: the "Celestial Vault." We also managed to discover a monstrous ball of concrete around the corner. And the adventure was complete :)

Today's adventure was the Panorama Mesdag, a museum dedicated primarily to the display of Mesdag's panoramic painting of Scheveningen. You walk up stairs and then you come into a huge room under a canopy with several metres of sand extending from the display area to somewhere before the painting that covers the entire room in a circle. The painting is displayed 14 metres away from you (it is 114 metres long!) and the sheer size and distance of it (and the hiding of the top and bottom of the painting) give it a feeling of being almost real. It was a place I'd been meaning to visit for some time, and it was definitely worth finally seeing!

And upon leaving the Museum, we saw that the Mesdag Collection just happened to be open and free today. And since it was around the corner, how could we turn down the opportunity to keep exploring?

Both adventures reminded me how much I love (and would recommend) exploring 'just around the corner' - and being open for what new adventures might pop up in a day. Matthijs's willingness and enthusiasm to share these adventures with me only makes them more delightful :)

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