Holland, Delft & Scheveningen – Day 7
Even when you are sick in this fabulous city, it finds a way to take care of you! I now own original Delft pottery, played taxi driver and had a very interesting walk in the rain. I had an entire restaurant to myself and discovered once again that all of my pre-concieved notions are usually just flat out wrong!
Ouch, ouch, ouch!! Would someone please take that knife out of my ear!
So, it appears, that the sore throat I was sporting was not just a symptom of me being tired. It is more than that today, and it took me out!
After showering and getting through breakfast we left for one of the two original remaining Delftware factories in the world, the Delftse Pauw (Peacock of Delft.) Unlike Flora Holland which was a massive operation, this small unassuming factory captured the charm and beauty of the stoneware it produces. We were shown how the pottery is created in molds and fired in the kiln, then hand painted and glazed before being fired again. There are 16 people who hand paint the pottery, many from home. Each piece is unique – no two are the same, despite the same designs you will find differences in each. It takes 10 to 14 days to produce one piece of this beautiful pottery. There are many “fakes” out there – true Delftware is a piece of art – hand painted and from only one of two remaining shops in the world. I was excited that I was in one of them.
We spent time in the gift shop. I am happy to say I got some Christmas shopping done! While Delft pottery is known for the blue and white motif of its designs, the colored pottery was the popular choice amongst my travel companions. Me too – I look forward to receiving my shipment when I get home. Oh, and I guess the cat is out of the bag on what my family is getting for Christmas….
When I get home…I need to, as my friend said to me, “put myself in a self-induced coma!” It was during my shopping spree that this bug I have been fighting hit me – actually, stabbed me in the ear. My throat was sore, my ears were hurting and my head felt like it was going to explode. Thankfully, our director and his wife called a taxi for me and I was eventually delivered back to my hotel. Of all days for me to get the new taxi driver – he did not 1) know where my hotel was and kept asking ME which way to go! And 2) did not really know how to use the fancy GPS system in the fancy Mercedes he was driving me in. It was the blind leading the blind…
Once back in my room I slept for hours. I hated missing the rest of the day with the group, there were several things on the agenda I was looking forward to. But instead I fell asleep fully dressed under the covers and woke up in need of medicine. Unlike the US, I learned that pharmacies here close early so I was out of luck. I ventured out into the cold and rain looking for the supermarket. By the time I found it and got Ibuprofen I was soaked. I stood on this beautiful street in The Hague, alone, at night, in the cold pouring rain. I was actually marveling at the beauty of the street and this city. Even with a steady rain falling, it was still a beautiful sight – the street lamps shimmering, lights ablaze in the apartments above the stores, restaurants and shops lit up calling you in. But, just as I was enjoying my own little movie moment, a car drove past me and sprayed water on me. I went from a Hollywood blockbuster moment to a bad B movie scene in the blink of an eye! I finally threw out the map I was using as an umbrella – it had already lost its usefulness. I now looked like a drowned rat – this couldn’t get any worse.
The silver lining in my drenched night in The Hague was the fabulous Italian restaurant I wandered in to – Il Senso. I think I may have scared the owner, who greeted me at the door. ”Drowned Rat” is not a good fashion statement. He carefully helped me out of my soaked coat and showed me to a table away from the door. Because it was still early by European standards for dinner I had the whole restaurant to myself. The bruschetta was incredible and the hand-made mushroom ravioli was out of this world. A lovely Chianti topped it off. Taking pity on me, the manager treated me to dessert (which I never eat) – Tiramisu. Perhaps the most delicious, perfect Tiramisu I have ever tasted. I didn’t even think I liked Tiramisu! In truth, what we know as Tiramisu in the States is not THIS Tiramisu! I learned from the owner that the family came from Italy three generations before in the stealth of the night to escape mob intimidation and they have been in The Hague ever sense. I am thankful Il Senso was a beacon to me because I met amazing people and was spellbound by their story, and I had a meal that was out of this world. Truly, truly a wonderful ending to an awful day.
For the first time on this trip I did not venture to the bar to write. I did not turn my computer on in bed. I did what I have not done since coming to Holland – I went to bed early and slept longer than four hours.
I may actually feel human again tomorrow!