After an uneventful breakfast on the seventh day I left for Den Haag.
A little south of Noordwijk there is the town of Katwijk. Though there were a lot of cars with German license plates on them, the first Street at the beach was not occupied by hotels. Instead normal looking houses were the majority. I have seen a lot of people who could be retired, and this place certainly seems like a good way to spend time.
The cycle route LF1 goes through the dunes as close to the sea as possible. In a follow up trip I might start in Den Haag and follow it further south to Zeeland, perhaps even to Brugge, Belgium.
Along the way I also found some very beautiful lakes:
After around 22 km I arrived in Scheveningen, a district of Den Haag. The LF1 led me through a suburb consisting only of villas, that was quite impressive.
The cycling infrastructure there is actually quite bad. The few separate cycle lanes are narrow and often damaged by tree roots. Others have this annoying cobblestone texture. There are many of these barriers to slow down people. There is a particular bad kind without reflective coating and pillars that will hurt a lot if one happened to fall into one
This one is right on the LF1 route. There is loose foliage and little pieces of wood, I almost fell from my bike while passing this damn thing. So even for my German standard this is sub par.
The hostel that I booked for the night is located somewhat close to the beach, the Jorplace Beach Hostel. I arrived too early to check in right away as the bike trip was not as long as the ones to Amsterdam or Noordwijk have been. Luckily all hostels have a luggage room where you can just leave your luggage unattended until you check in.
I have been sitting at the beach during the day. With the sun out it was still fresh in the wind but very enjoyable. Also it had been a good opportunity to proofread my draft of this article.
When I checked into the hostel, there was a very large group of German people that seemed just a bit younger than 20. The host informed me that there was going to be a party and that it would not last longer than 02:30. I was offered earplugs but I already brought some from home. I have used them most nights and it seems to help a bit. While making my bed in an otherwise empty room I heard a lot of German chatter on the hallway, this might become the loudest night of the while trip.
Interestingly I needed to pay a tourist tax which was not already payed with the online booking. In Utrecht I needed to pay for the linen separately. And in Noordwijk and Den Haag I needed to pay a deposit for the room key. I do not care so much about the details as the total price is still below any hotel.
All hostels use credit card sized contactless room cards. There are matching locks at the front door, the corridors on each level of the building and on the room itself. This is very convenient for me and also for them. In one hostel I also read that they record every single opening of the doors, do one has an audit trail built right in.
While eating dinner at the beach and watching the rising tide, I noticed that the ships near the horizon have not moved. And there are many of them, though I could not find anything except ocean on the map there.
Taking a look at marine traffic I figured out that the ships have anchored. Also there are several of these anchored groups near the Dutch coast. The river leading to Rotterdam is full of ships, so presumably they just wait for their turn to make port. It is amazing how much information is readily available.
When I got back into my room after sunset there was nobody else there and no other bed had been made, I assumed that I had the room for myself. There was a slogan on one of the posters in the wall:
you never sleep alone
Hoping that it would not be true I went to bed. The sounds of the party downstairs were transmitted into my room via the building walls, the earplugs did not help against the bass. At around 22:30 another person came in and made their bed. In this hostel the beds are made from metal pipes and clamps, it looks like an improvised industrial shelf. The problem with these is that they make metal sounds whenever you shift your weight. The other person inadvertently woke me up and I could not get back to sleep until he had settled. At 07:30, after sunrise, a third person entered the room, waking up the both of us. He entered the room another two times, presumably he forgot to take the linen from the container. When I got up a little later as I could not find sleep again, he was covered with the linen and had the raw blanket on the side. Either he felt very warm or he just was not able to put on the sheets. Even though the other person and I got going he firmly snored. That is probably the way to do hostels: come in last, be very tired and just sleep like a rock.
The handling of linen is different in every hostel. In Utrecht and Amsterdam I was given the sheets and had to put them on the sheets myself but could leave them there on checkout. In Noordwijk I did not have to do anything and in Den Haag I had to put them on and off.
In the hallways I met a couple of people from the party yesterday. I asked whether it was a vacation or just some party and they told me that this was a work event. So the person with the folder of a human resources consulting firm was their organizer. On the floors I heard somebody ask his peers why everyone else was so awake. At checkout another person told me that initially they just got funded for the trip and accommodation at the hostel. If they managed to get a certain amount of revenue there would also be a party and booze. I really wonder how partying late and getting drunk is a team building exercise for a human resources consulting firm. Maybe their management has just played them and know exactly how to motivate their young employees. And I was assured that they do this type of thing just once or twice a year. It is not as bad as a German insurance company paying for a sex party in eastern Europe for their management, but still.