Monday, August 29, 2016

At the Pier in Scheveningen, Netherlands: Food Boulevard, Roofdeck and Beach Views

There are definitely a lot of improvements since the last time I visited here at the Pier in Scheveningen! It is great to be back =)

It’s been a long time ago since I was last here in Scheveningen, also known as the beach of The Hague. That was in 2011 with Blondine. We had lunch in The Hague, then we went shopping in the afternoon and we closed the day with a dinner at a beach club in Scheveningen. 5 years ago. Time flew out the window so fast, and now Blondine is gone...

I am soothed though that she left me with lots of beautiful memories to remember, and I am glad that I was able to document many of our time together here in this blog. They are precious to me and will always be.

So the other weekend Dutchman and I were here in Scheveningen. We had lovely blue skies weather. It was a beautiful day.

I have heard that the ‘De Pier’ in Scheveningen is now under a new management so I insisted that Dutchman and I visit the place, and I was surprised to see that it has now become a Food Boulevard extending partly to the roofdeck. The Bungy (for bungee jumping) is still there and a new attraction is being assembled together, the Ferris Wheel on the sea which opened a week later.

Wow, I am fascinated with all the major changes, considering that this property was in a terribly derelict state the last time I was here. It is a transformation! Although it seems that a few of the spaces in the Food Boulevard area are still waiting for tenants. I do hope they get leased out very soon. Perhaps they are already, and the new tenants just need to move in anytime soon.

The grumpy Dutchman on the other hand was not impressed at all, “Bah, Scheveningen is still a circus, it’s for the masses.”


This is so typical for this picky Dutchman, what can I do? We managed though to lay down and relaxed a bit on a lounge bed on the roofdeck, which he really enjoyed very much, so he might not mean it =)

Tip: Yup, there are free lounge beds at the end of the roofdeck. Plus the views from the bars, cafes and restaurants here at the Pier are simply stunning! Panorama views of the beach and the boulevard. Come here!

For more information, please visit the official website here: De Pier

I enjoyed taking these pictures, and I hope you enjoy them too.

The Food Boulevard at the Pier in Scheveningen.

You can go up the roofdeck for the beach and boulevard views.

Scheveningen Beach.

The Kurhaus on Scheveningen Boulevard.

Lounging here at the roofdeck =)

It is a great place to walk around and enjoy the beach views, but it can get very windy here.

Lots of dining opportunities with a view here at the Pier. I would love to come back!

We would have wanted to eat here at this terrace but we have already reserved dinner at a different restaurant near the Kurhaus.

Travel Period: August 2016
Destination: Scheveningen, The Hague (South Holland), the Netherlands

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Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Hague, Netherlands: Parliament Buildings (Binnenhof) + Wealth Tax

I have been here, rather passed by Binnenhof, which is the Dutch name for the Parliament buildings, a few times. This is the heart of Dutch politics. The first time I was here was a decade and a half ago when I was visiting the Dutchman in the Netherlands as a tourist.

Oh, I still have the (pre-digital) picture of me with the buildings in my back =)

Trivia: Did you know that this is the oldest House of Parliament in the world that is still in use?

I won’t go through the history details about this grand 13th century government building but if you are interested here are a few helpful links:

Anyway the only thing I can say is that a large portion of my money (tax) goes here!

In this country, we get taxed on EVERYTHING. And taxes are not cheap here. Even when you elect not to spend your money which is already taxed by the way (Income Tax), you still pay 1.2% tax on it every year. You pay this additional tax when you have savings above €24,437 as of 2016 (thus €24,437 is not taxable). It’s called the Wealth Tax.

My question is -- Since when is having €24K++ makes you wealthy? I would understand if they raise the figure to, say, €500K, or even €200K.... but only €24K++ non-taxable??? Are you kidding me? We do not even earn interest on our savings anymore! Having money will cost you money in this country.

If you have investments or have saved a lot of money -- hard earned money from your own sweat, blood, heartaches, work stress, career frustrations and all, you will have to pay the price for living in this country. It is absurd to pay additional taxes on money that has been previously levied, but that is how it is here in the Netherlands.

I do wonder if other countries have this kind of wealth taxation as well? I would love to know.

And with all the sundry of political confusion that has been engulfing Europe right now, and here in the Netherlands as well, there is only one fact that stands out: You can never trust politicans. Not with your money. Not with your future. Not with your life.

Entering the Binnenhof. It is open for everyone to visit.

The building in the centre is the Ridderzaal (Hall of Knights). This is where the King of the Netherlands delivers his speech to the Dutch Senate and House of Representatives during Prinsjesdag, the official kick-off day of the Parliament.

It was a beautiful day when Dutchman and I were here last week. We sat on the bench here and ate our sandwiches and fed the birds.

The small tower is the office of the Prime Minister of the Netherlands. The lower right building is the Mauritshuis, a museum which is the owner of the famous painting of  Johannes Vermeer, Girl with the Pearl Earring.

The Dutch Houses of Parliament from the lake. Isn't she just stunning? If you visit the Netherlands, do visit The Hague. It is approximately 50 minutes train ride from Amsterdam.

The statue of a The Hague woman across the lake looks like Princess Beatrix (former Queen Beatrix). You can also see the Dutch Prime Minister's office tower.

On this bridge you will find the flags of the 12 provinces of the Netherlands.

Travel Period: August 2016
Destination: The Hague (South Holland), the Netherlands

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Lefkada, Greece: Alfresco Tavernas on Lefkada Marina

We have not eaten here at the marina of Lefkada town and had we more time (more days), we probably would have.

The marina of Lefkada is located outside the core centre of the town but very close. You just have to cross over the street and walk a few hundred metres and you are already in the main shopping pedestrian street of the old town.

On the marina you can find many types of boats – craft boats, yachts, sailboats, catamarans, speed boats and even local fishing boats. I noticed however that sailboats are more popular here in the Greek Islands.

In our travels in Lefkada we have passed by the marina many times since the street is a main road of the island. I remember that I always enjoy seeing the outdoor tavernas dotting the stretch of the harbour. It is a lively and busy place. When you are on summer holiday you will prefer to eat outside, alfresco so to speak. Here at the marina a row of tavernas are waiting.

The Lefkada Marina is perhaps the best place to eat out for dinner and hang out afterwards in Lefkada town. I even saw a pirate's ship bar!

Nevertheless, I took a few pictures of Lefkada marina during an evening in town.

The promenade with outdoor tavernas are located along the marina, south of the Port of Lefkada.

The marina here is the biggest in the island.

The Dutch mother and moi posing for a souvenir picture here at the marina.

The harbour promenade is lined with outdoor tavernas serving lunch and dinner.

The Pirate's Bar in a smaller this-will-do Pirate's ship =)

Travel Period: June-July 2016
Destination: Lefkada town (Lefkada - Ionian Islands), Greece

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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Lefkada, Greece: Lunch at Tilegrafos on Agios Ioannis Beach (Mili Beach)

This was a very nice lunch at the Agios Ioannis Beach (also known as Mili Beach) in the northern part of Lefkada.

We were originally here to spend the afternoon on the beach but we didn’t expect the strong winds, so we decided instead to go for something less challenging – food, haha.

I have my eyes on Tilegrafos, a cosy garden taverna on the main street just across the beach. The garden setting really attracted me to the place. It looks cosy, friendly and homey. From our table we could see the many kitesurfers and windsurfers dotting the beach horizon. The view would have been impeccable had the cars on the street were parked somewhere else.

There is one thing that really stands out here at Mili Beach (Agios Ioannis Beach) and that it’s exemplary wind. This is the windiest place of Lefkada.

We had a shared lunch and ordered a Greek salad, a serving of courgette balls and ham and cheese spring rolls. We wiped our plates clean. This was a very delicious down to earth lunch. The Greek salad, like anywhere in Greece was very good and we love the pairing of the courgette balls with the white cream cheese. The ham and cheese spring rolls were the surprise in this meal. It was crunchy and gooey. Simply scrumptious. Dutchman on the other hand really enjoyed his Greek frappe.

We noticed many locals in the taverna than tourists so that must be a good sign.

The beach and taverna is close to Lefkada town.

We started with the Greek salad. Always a good idea when in the Greek Islands.

Windsurfers and kitesurfers flock to Agios Ioannis Beach for the strong winds.

Courgette balls with cream cheese.

Ham and cheese spring rolls. Crunchy outside, gooey inside.

We finished everything and the Dutch mother is always the last person to finish eating =)

Travel Period: June - July 2016
Destination: Nydri, Ellomenos (Lefkada – Ionian Islands), Greece

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