The Hague, Netherlands
From Berlin, Angelo and I took a quick and scenic train ride to The Hague. I have always wanted to visit this city because there resides my favorite dance company – Nederlands Dans Theater or NDT. I always look forward to when the company visits Los Angeles, last year I was able to see Shoot the Moon which is one of my favorite pieces choreographed by the brilliant husband and wife team Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon. Although the dancers are classically trained, they rarely dance en pointe and much of their repertoire is contemporary/modern ballet. I believe that because NDT always has an influx of choreographers setting new work on the company, the dancers are some of the most versatile in the world.
We bought tickets for Mats Ek’s Sleeping Beauty. I enjoyed the physicality of the movement and creative interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s original score. But I did feel that the choreography as a whole was a bit outdated. This is just my opinion though, and Mats Ek could run circles around me in choreography. We still were really happy to see NDT in their hometown to a sold out audience. By the way, Angelo really likes NDT too, he is such a lovely companion to go to a show with. I still haven’t convinced him to take my ballet class yet…
What else did we do in The Hague? Well eat Kapsalon of course!! It’s Dutch “drunk food” as Angelo’s cousins would say. It is so yummy! What is it? French fries, shawarma meat, Gouda cheese, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes. On the side they give you sambal (hot sauce) and garlic sauce. They make the french fries really crisp, and I love how it’s super hot and fresh. Kapsalon is so bad for you, definitely not healthy, but something you should try when you go to the Netherlands.
The Hague has an abundance of shops and your standard clothing stores. It was actually refreshing to be surrounded by the familiar stores that I frequent back home. Also they have a lot of bio stores (organic) so I was able to stock up on healthy food to cook at our rented apartment. At these organic grocery stores I noticed that they have a lot of variety and items I have never seen before. Well, maybe they sell now in America, as I have been away from the states for awhile now. Ever heard of coconut oil cream?
Architecturally speaking, Rotterdam is pretty awesome. It has some of the most creative buildings in one place. I really enjoyed seeing all the different shapes and configurations. Angelo’s dear cousins took us to this new building, called the Market Hall, that is shaped like an upside down u. In the center, there are many stalls selling a variety of foods, beverages and other items like flowers. It’s gorgeous inside because the complex is mostly glass, so lots of light shines on the market floors. Now you have to imagine, inside the u, there are living quarters. It’s quite a creative complex and one of the many buildings to visit if you are in town.
Angelo’s cousins Diego and GL also took us to the Cube Houses or Kubuswoningen. These are a set of cube houses that are now hostels and small shops. One of the houses is kept as a museum, so you pay a 3 euro entrance fee and can see how it looks from the inside. It’s actually pretty spacious as it has three floors, the top floor being the most impressive as it has nice views of Rotterdam. I was joking around to Angelo that we should move there, then I remembered that it would be horrible trying to get a piano into the space. Rotterdam is the 2nd largest city in the Netherlands, but it doesn’t feel that way. The vibe is pretty relaxed and a great alternative to other more chaotic cities in Europe like Paris or Amsterdam.