Mummies & pizza

I’ve been withholding a very important piece of information from this little blog, and I think it’s time to come clean. Approximately two days after I published my first post, in which I bragged extensively about how warm and spring-like it was in Leiden, it started to rain and it hasn’t really stopped since. Serves me right I guess, but it still hurts!

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So – what to do on a weekend where the horizontal snow/rain doesn’t let up for even a short hour and you’ve already stalled as long as possible by drinking more coffee, eating too many pancakes, and experimenting with poached eggs? Pieter and I decided to make it a cultural weekend of fun … and a weekend of fun it was. Fortunately for us, Leiden houses a huge number of museums and galleries – the most difficult part of the day was choosing which one to see.

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We decided on the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden – the national museum of antiquities. We soon found ourselves in ancient Egypt …

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… we made some friends …

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… and tried to avoid windows.

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The museum has an enormous collection of mummies and, while Pieter and I both thought we’d seen our fair share, it turns out that your appreciation for this (sort of spooky) Egyptian ritual really develops with time. Also, I guess I haven’t technically seen a mummy in ten years. What I’m trying to say is that we were both somewhat in awe of their presence.

Once the awe had subsided we took a quick pie break before continuing on our great journey.

The museum has a very extensive Roman collection, but our attention was quickly captivated by the very top floor: ‘archaeology of the Netherlands’. The exhibition traces the entire history of the world, starting at the very beginning with the Big Bang and working its way forward.

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The effect against the old Dutch brick was pretty spectacular.

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Interactive films were spread out across the timeline. We were big fans.

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In the end, though we had planned to visit the Boerhaave museum – the national museum for the history of science and medicine – we enjoyed the exhibits so much that, by the time we were out, it was too late to get in anywhere else!

Just as well I think – it will surely rain some more in the coming weeks and, besides, we were getting pretty hungry. In continuation with our cultural theme, we jet off to Italy for the night.

(I’m lying again.)

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We did head to the Hague for the evening, and dinner was at VIP (‘very Italian pizza’ – how much more Italian can you get, really?). And it was hubbah hubbah delicious. The place may have a corny name, but it’s always mouth-wateringly good, reasonably priced, and absolutely packed with hungry diners (all two floors of it).

We went for a smoked salmon salad to start …

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… and then shared two pizza beasts. (As usual, my camera doesn’t fare all that well in dim lighting, but I can’t resist showing off these babies!)

Quattro fromaggi.

Quattro fromaggi.

Solo verdure - spinach, mushrooms, bell pepper and eggplant.

Solo verdure – spinach, mushrooms, bell pepper and eggplant.

Just phenomenal. The crust melts like butter in your mouth, the ingredients are hot and fresh, and that cheese … oh, that cheese! If you’re ever in the Hague or in Rotterdam and you’re looking for a great meal for pennies (comparatively), try this place. Just writing this is making me long for more …

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I’ll work on that face for the next time!

Don’t worry, we did more than our fair share of walking the next day to compensate – but that will be for part two of this little saga, which I have big plans to call ‘Manuscripts & maki’. Pieter is right – this is rapidly turning into a food blog, with pictures of ‘Dutch things’ in between to give it an air of propriety!

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