If you’ve been following my snaps, you will notice that I spend quite a bit of time surrounded by autumn colours and crunchy leaves.
It is certainly not my usual scenery – there isn’t a pizza or a pastry in sight, nor is it tucked away down a cobblestone road.
But, this place is still vibrant with colour and equally full of adventure. Plus, it’s Sophie’s favourite place in town and she’s sort of the boss.
Locals will be more than familiar with it, but for those of you abroad, it is called Haagse Bos.
There is all kinds of history to this place, from its name which gave rise to “Holland”, to the fact that it was used as a launching place in WW2.
Over time, it has shrunk in size as humans cut away at its trees, built roadways, and the city expanded. Luckily, however, it now has a protected status, preserving it for future generations to come.
Once you enter inside, it is an utterly different place than the city life that surrounds it. The therapeutic sounds of the woods fill your ears, vibrant colours of trees and rays of sunlight catch your eyes, and the peaceful nature of it all is more than addicting.
There are more trails than I’ve been able to count, each leading in a different direction, and intertwining with each other somewhere down the road. I’ve taken to exploring a new route each week, and I’ve still only covered one third of it.
Twisting and turning at random, you find yourself immersed within the forest, with nothing but tree trunks surrounding you.
But, walk a few places, and the next moment you’ll find yourself along a canal, or happen upon a large pond.
Look one way and you’ll see an array of birds, ducks, and geese – and another and you’ll see an assortment of trees, coloured with the season.
Over one bridge after another, the setting is quite romantic, and you can often spot any number of individuals taking it all in while resting at one of the many benches.
There is also, of course, places for your four legged friend to roam free, designated areas where children can jump and yell, and bike paths for those in a rush to get back home.
And, while the weather may be just a tad too chilly and wet for it now, I can’t wait to head down with a picnic in the spring.
I make it a habit of visiting Haagse Bos at least twice a week – more if the weather (or my work schedule) allows it. It is the perfect place to collect my thoughts, reset, and reconnect with nature. Plus, with more than enough leaves on the ground, jumping to step on and crunch one or two is always a source of entertainment.
Plus, as Elle Woods said, exercise releases endorphins, and endorphins make you happy. So that’s that, the secret to why I’m always so happy. Daily chocolates help too.