The Hague: An Unlikely Romance

Hi, folks!

So, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day! ūüėÄ Some of you might celebrate it while some of you not. Both of us don’t really celebrate this so-called day of love, but we can’t help but get excited seeing a lot of valentine-themed decorations, posters, illustrations, and promos that¬†swirl around the internet, shopping malls, and even in our favorite cafes.

To welcome the day of love, we present to you one of our favorite places that can become your next romantic escapade!

*drumroll* The Hague!

Hotel Des Indes, a hotel built in 1858.
Hotel Des Indes, a hotel built in 1858.
Palais Escher
Escher in Het Paleis, which features the works of M.C. Escher. It’s located in front of Hotel Des Indes.

While a lot of you might be against this choice, citing other more romantic cities; well, let us say that this city impressed us. We had the chance to visit only a small part of the city,¬†mostly going to the¬†older areas, but the impression it left to us was… beautiful!

The Peace Palace, which houses  Permanent Court of Arbitration, International Court of Justice, the Hague Academy of International Law, and the Peace Palace Library.
The Peace Palace, which houses Permanent Court of Arbitration, International Court of Justice, the Hague Academy of International Law, and the Peace Palace Library.

The Hague¬†houses the governmental buildings as well as embassies and prominent schools.¬†It also¬†hosts some of the United Nations’ functions throughout the city, making it culturally diverse due to the large number of expatriates living there. This diversity adds to the charm that it already possesses.

A corner in Buitenhof.
A corner in Buitenhof.
An emblem above an archway around Buitenhof.
An emblem above an archway around Buitenhof.

We recommend visiting the Hague on a sunny day in autumn, where it is quiet yet comfortable. The warm sunlight balances the cold autumn, and the reddened leaves make up a beautiful¬†and compatible color scheme with the colors of the roads and buildings. A good weather will also enable you to stroll around the city and enjoy¬†everything ‚̧

Windows by Buitenhof.
Windows by Buitenhof.
Directions, directions, directions...
Directions, directions, directions…

In short, we tasted a little bit of The Hague, and we’re telling you that this place is in our bucket list as a place to go to with our partner, one day. The charm that it possesses is just so romantic. The stillness, the quietness, yet the intriguing city makes us wonder more and more, and¬†our photos¬†are somehow trying to tell us that we should be there tomorrow, haha!

Entering Binnenhof.
Entering Binnenhof.
Binnenhof.
Binnenhof, the meeting place of both houses of the States General of the Netherlands, as well as the Ministry of General Affairs and the office of the Prime Minister of the Netherlands.

Lots of love!

San

Rotterdam: An Architectural Short Trip

Some of you might have experienced travelling through different cities to push down the budget.

For example, in my case, I traveled with a group of friends to Amsterdam from Madrid. However, since the Madrid-Amsterdam-Madrid tickets were quite expensive, we decided to fly to Rotterdam and afterwards take a train to Amsterdam (this option was cheaper than a direct flight to Amsterdam). We stayed a night in Rotterdam and had around 4 hours to go sightseeing in Rotterdam before catching our train.

We were lucky that we had a friend to show us around the main sights. If you don’t have a friend to show you around, make sure to google the city you’re about to visit and make good use of your time! ūüėČ

Rotterdam was heavily destroyed during World War II, that’s why they built new buildings to replace the old ones. However, as we went walking by the main street, we saw some old buildings standing beside new ones. It was a unique scene to witness.

Stadthuis
Stadthuis
Look at how the graphics gradually change into the facade's texture.
Look at how the graphics gradually change into the facade’s texture.

The market hall was designed by MVRDV architects and is a market surrounded by apartments. It’s a concept of combining living and social activities in the same place. The half-cylindric building stood out as it stands in the middle of a wide field, across an old church/cathedral (was it Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk?).

Markthal
Markthal

Near the market hall, we saw two unique buildings. One was an apartment/tower (I don’t know what it was), which reminded me of the Russian movement in modern architecture. The other was a library, with pipes popping outside the buildings in primary colors, creating a very 60s sight.

The apartment tower
The apartment tower
I really love how the window shapes and the balcony balance each other and create a pretty composition.
I really love how the window shapes and the balcony balance each other and create a pretty composition.
The Rotterdam library
The Rotterdam library

The main highlight of this short visit was the Kijk-kubus, a series of rotated cubes painted in yellow which serve as living apartments. It was very cubist, very geometric. It was something that I’ve only seen in Art History classes, but never in real life, so seeing this up close felt like being surreal.

Kijk-kubus
Kijk-kubus
Cube houses up close. Yes, there are people living inside.
Cube houses up close. Yes, there are people living inside.
Kijk-kubus information poster
Kijk-kubus information poster
The cube houses seen from the street
The cube houses seen from the street

Last but not least was the Rotterdam Centraal station. It was a wide building with an open concept, but it created enough warmth inside (this visit was made in December). The main lobby had an open concept and its entrance was shaped like a thorn envolved in corten steel.

Main entrance of Rotterdam Centraal
Main entrance of Rotterdam Centraal
The other side of the station
The other side of the station
Main lobbby of the station.
Main lobbby of the station.

The next time you have to make a very short transit in any city, find out about that place and use your time to explore that city. You never know what you might encounter ‚̧

Love,