Sunday, August 23, 2009

Netherlands: Long Relaxing Fruit de Mer Lunch at Doen Beach Club in Scheveningen Beach

Blondine and I were planning on having High Tea somewhere in Utrecht but it was 24C on the weather forecast so we grabbed the chance to hit the beach.

Scheveningen is probably the most popular beach in the Netherlands, and the runners up would be Zandvoort and Bloemendaal. A lot of tourists come over here as well, mostly from the neighbouring countries such as Germany and Belgium.

When its beautiful weather such as today Sunday, the paved boulevard (approximately 1 kilometer long) and the white sandy beach (3 kilometers long) are full of people playing sports, strolling around, lounging and relaxing in the beach clubs, swimming and what else, tanning under the sun.

Trivia: During World War II, when the Germans were spying on the Dutch (they speak fluent Dutch), the Dutch use the word Scheveningen as a lock because the SCH is pronounced the same as the gurgling saliva spitting G. The Germans could never pronounce it, lol.

This is the kilometer long paved boulevard in Scheveningen beach. 

The beach was not as crowded as we had expected. Many times it happens that when the weather hits about 21C in this country, everyone flocks to the beach, but I realized its August, voila, summer month. A lot of local folks are still out of the country for their summer holidays.

Now, the ultimate challenge in Scheveningen beach is finding a parking space. Luckily, while turning to the street leading to town and this is after a desperate half an hour of going back and forth searching for parking, we saw a car leaving a parking slot! €1,00 per hour, not bad really as Utrecht and Amsterdam is about €5,00 per hour. But, the problem in Scheveningen is the parking machine only allowing 1 hour payment so that means we will have to take turns going back to the parking machine, paying, then slipping the parking ticket inside the car. Or else we get a traffic penalty of €50 (I’ve had this penalty before!).

These lounge beds go for €15 a day with towels... a lot of people were ordering champagnes and wines in a cooler in the beach. Did you know that too much sun exposure can make you look like an old ugly prune?

Blondine relaxing here...

My supersize sunglasses was not big enough for my face, I had a bit of burn on my cheeks.

Anywho, it was a relaxing day at the beach. The sun was not really that strong but I still got a tan. Dutch mother told me tonight when they had dinner with us at home that I have colour. Well, I am a woman of colour anyway ha-ha. Plus I got a little burn I think on my cheeks as they appear reddish than normal.

We had lunch in Doen Beach Club and apart from the bad service we have had, and we didn’t tip at all because of this, the lounge restaurant was really a heavenly place – all white everywhere, the ambiance is so so comforting. I could sleep on the huge lovely soft pillows on my lounge chair!

Well, we called Doen Beach Club in advance and reserved for one of their lounge areas. When we arrived, all the lounge areas were full, so we asked them why when we reserved a day ahead. They apologized and promised to give it to us once one of them becomes available. However (and I expected this, mind you), they never kept an eye and when an area indeed became available someone else took it quickly. So we complained to the manager who managed to take a few lounge chairs that were not used and created a small area for us. Thank you very much!

The manager was kind enough to give us 2 glasses of Chardonnay on his tab as a token of apology for the inconvenience we’ve had. But we never tipped. The waiters were just awfully lousy; they don’t keep an eye if you need something. When you ask for the menu, they forget and when you finally want to order, they are nowhere to be seen. Hello, where are you? Then you have to wait for ages for your drinks to arrive, and when you complain – they retaliate. Very, very distressing.

This I think is truly the perfect illustration of customer service in the Netherlands. I almost believe that it will be the same if we go to another bar or restaurant next door.

Fruit de Mer for lunch with dry Chardonnay from France. The oysters were yummy but they only served us 2! =(

We are loving the "whiteness" of Doen Beach Club. 

We had some ice cream after as dessert - pistachio and strawberry.

Scheveningen Beach.

Travel Period: August 2009
Destination: Scheveningen (The Hague - South Holland), the Netherlands

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