Posted by: jwhiff | July 22, 2011

Cycling the Dunes in Den Haag

Given that the weather forecast isn’t much better than at home, we decided to take advantage of the sun that revealed itself sporadically today.

We were a little slow to get going, but eventually left the house just after 11:oo am and headed for a tram that would take us to Kaiserstrasse, which is located in a neighbourhood that borders the North Sea.  The tram payment system has recently been “modernized” and is a bit glitchy, which caused some delay.  However, we eventually figured out that it wasn’t really a problem to pay the driver directly (5 euros for the family) and were at the bike rental shop on Kaiserstrasse  in a jiffy.

We were hoping to rent bikes for Landon and Quentin, but it is supposedly not the norm for a child Quentin’s size.  The fellow at the rental shop said that there are no bicycles small enough for him in all of the Netherlands! There are a lot of funky bikes for carrying small children here, but not many for the kids themselves, I guess.  Anyway, we ended up with a tandem bike that is steered from the back while the small child rides in the front.  Quentin couldn’t reach the peddles to turn them, but that wasn’t the biggest problem.  He was terrified by the feeling that he was being steered in ways that he couldn’t tolerate (too close to Landon, too close to the side of the trail, too close to the bushes, etc) and screamed at Stephen to slow down, turn and pay attention every time Stephen strayed from the center of the trail.  I get that that must have been scary and required a great deal of trust, but it was still exhausting to listen to.  He can be such a maniac when he is frightened!

Anyway, it was a beautiful, worthwhile ride. We saw all kinds of birds (which thrills both boys always) and even police helicopters, motorcycles and trucks scouring the park for some mysterious reason.  A famous prison is located nearby, and so we were imagining escaped convicts or kidnappers…and eventually Stephen remembered that the Serbian war criminal Goran Hadzic was being brought in today.  At this point we’re guessing that the excessive presence of police in the park had to do with security for this “event”, but I’m still unsure.  They were definitely out there looking for someone, it seemed.

Tomorrow is calling for rain, rain and more rain.  No problem, because I brought a coat!  Stephen stubbornly refused to consider such an item and even refused proper shoes.  Poor guy.  I always like feeling superior, but I have to do it silently because my smug comments usually end up shot down pretty quickly.  Still…I am well pleased with my coat and shoes.


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