Day 3

As we went through the Hague, we stopped at the Peace Palace or whatever it’s called, and piled out to look at the Peace Flame.  I’m afraid it was one of those “Is that it?” moments.  It flickers nervously as if embarrassed to be there, and you can’t blame the poor thing, given the state of world peace.

We had little idea of what to expect when we stopped at the Panorama Mesdag building.  I know I’ve gone on about this a bit already, but honestly it’s brilliant.  You go up a staircase into a circular room and you’re completely surprised by the seaside scene all around you.  I don’t really want to tell you too much because you shouldn’t overthink it, just experience it.  After a while, you can distinguish painting from reality but even then, it’s still marvellous.  Very skilfully painted by Mesdag and his colleagues and splendidly set up (it was restored some years ago, the canvas having sagged badly over 100 or whatever years.  We loved it.

The most wonderful picture gallery of The Hague, the Mauritshuis, is closed for renovation, but the best pictures have been put into the Gemeentemuseum, not to disappoint visitors, which is jolly nice of them.  i forgot to say, we had a lecture on the Mauritshuis’s pictures the evening before, given by an American lady who lives in Holland.  It was done in a spirit of friendship at no charge, wasn’t that kind?  The paintings were wonderful, including Rembrandt, Vermeer, Rubens, Frans Hals.  The Gemeentemuseum (you can see why I like Dutch) holds modern paintings – I take it you can still describe the likes of Picasso and Mondriaan as modern and you’ll know the sense in which I mean it.  The layout was quite confusing at first, though we had it sussed eventually.

We had intended to spend the afternoon in The Hague, but decided to return to Delft as we all liked the city so much and wanted to spend more time there.  So we had a quick drive to the beach at Scheveningen and then headed back.  The weekly market was on, so I toddled round and bought a few things (I like local markets) and then visited the Old and New churches.  The Nieuwe church is 14th century, not that new, but you really can see the sense in which Picasso is modern.

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