Monday, August 6, 2007

Biking to Scheveningen

It is the summer time, and it was the best season for going to the beach. The famous beach around is called Scheveningen, a place north of Den Haag and facing the North sea. Tram 1 passing Delft will end close to the Beach. We have taken the tram and went there once. That was a windy and later cloudy day. The wind blows the sand up and it is hard to walk along the beach. It was a nice Sunday yesterday and there was not even a single cloud in the sky. Around four o'clock in the afternoon when the sun was not that burning, we decided to take a bike ride.

We started without any destination in mind. It is the first weekend that we had two bikes with us. It is for sure that we can take a further trip. We came across the flower boat parade along a big canal on our way and stopped watching. It is a parade of boats decorated with all kinds of flowers, with loud music or band, several beauties dancing or in costumes of some fairy stories. The main themes are around the harvesting celebration of the season. On both sides of the bank, hundreds of people are sitting and watching. We felt sorry that we didn't take the camera with us.

The sun was still quite high in the sky and we decided to head north to Scheveningen. The name Scheveningen had been used as a shibboleth (a language usage indicative of one's social or regional origin, or more broadly, any practice that identifies members of a group.) during WWII to identify German spies: they would pronounce the initial "Sch" differently from Dutch native speakers. Many dutch people mention about this to us whenever we discuss about the pronunciation of the language. It doesn't sound to be a fair practice to me.

The tram line was not easy to follow, since the biking paths sometimes divert from it. We know the general direction is towards the north and asked people for directions if we felt lost. We stopped even more times on the way back for directions. People were all surprised that we were biking such a long way. We later figure out that if we follow the shortest trail, it might be a 15km journey. Since we made quite some detours, we biked at least 40 km yesterday. The good part of the biking is that there is always designated biking paths, and you can most of the time see walking people even it was in a most deserted Sunday afternoon. We will find people to ask. Lessons are, ask younger generation, they mostly speak fluent English. Older people sometimes do not.

The beach was much more crowded yesterday than last time we went. It was a great day there, plenty of sunshine and not much wind. Many many people were there, different color people, families and friends. Some people started leaving, and some other like us just arrived. We first went to take some snacks: Kimbling, a kind of fried fish. We started liking this fish. Neither of us feel easy to eat the famous haring. People eat it raw with some minced onion. They were cleaned first removing the head and stomach of the fish. You just need to hold the tail, dip some onion, lift your mouth to the sky, and put the fish in. We bought it once from the supermarket and tried at home. The taste was not bad. Of course, we cut it into small pieces.

We found a shadow of the pier and sit on the sand. The sun was still strong. I was very scared of sunburn. A pier was built stretching into the sea water. At the end, it was a Casino, and also people playing Bunji jumping. We were sitting quietly observing people around us. A new couple on our right were kissing almost all the time we were sitting there. An indian family with a little boy wearing a swimming underwear outside of diaper, his Mom was trying to take off his gold necklace out of his neck before his Dad taking him to the water. For the first time, we saw two sunny young guys were touching and kissing each other... ... too many things in the world you can only believe it when you experience it yourself.

After a little research today, I found out there is nudist beach just 1 km north. Maybe next time we can explore that :-)