Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hoge Veluwe National Park, Netherlands

Today, we took the train from Centraal Train Station to Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, where I picked up a rental car from Avis, for our drive to Hoge Veluwe National Park, and our further adventures in Germany, France, and Belgium.

I really wanted a VW Golf but Avis chosen an Opel Astra from me with Belgian license plates (since I would be returning the car in Brussels). The Opel looked nice, but the 1.4L engine was a complete dud and had no power going uphill. This would become a bit frustrating later on the Germany autobahn.

With my Garmin GPS setup (it took a while to get oriented in Netherlands), we began our drive to Hoge Veluwe National Park.

We parked our car in the nearby parking lot and picked up free bicycles to ride around in the park.

We first decided to explore the sculpture park and then explore the paintings in the museum.

The Sculpture Park is quite large and spread out, and contains lots of contemporary and modern sculptures.

We rode around the park for a bit, until we got to the main Kroller-Muller Museum.

The Kroller-Muller Museum had a fantastic collection of Van Gogh paintings (second only to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam).

Before looking at paintings, we decided to get a quick lunch. Unlike most museum cafeterias, food here was quite delicious.

The Kroller-Muller Museum has a wonderful collection of famous paintings by Renoir, Van Gogh, etc.

After visiting the museum, we decided to further explore Hoge Veluwe National Park. We got on our bikes and rode around the park, visiting the lake and a few other areas.

On the way around the park, we stopped by for a quick ice cream snack.

We rode our bikes past the St. Hubertus Hunting Lodge, which was closed for repair.

There were lots of beautiful water lilies floating about.

We rode our bikes past the lake to the desert part of the park, with sand dunes and dry vegetation. This is when I realized that I lost my jacket. I raced back to the lake and was able to find and recover it.

On the way back to our car, we ran into some wild boar.

We dropped off our bikes at the large Bicycle Parking and drove our car back to Amsterdam.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Leiden, Netherlands

Saturday, June 29, 2013

On the way back to Amsterdam from Delft, we decided to stop by in a small college town of Leiden.

Leiden is a college town, with the famous Leiden University (founded in 1575).

When we arrived there, we learned that there were scheduled boat races (Leiden Lakenfeesten) at 7:00pm, so we decided to wait for the races to start and get something to eat.

The clown boat had bubbles coming out and was having problems maneuvering. There was some apparent order in which boats were supposed to travel.

There were lots of boats and floating, imaginative creations. Everyone seemed to be in a good mood, drinking beer, and having fun. The whole town was in a "party" mood with music blasting.

We decided to eat in a cafe overlooking the boat races - Pettersson Grand Cafe. We ordered some Swedish dishes, as Pettersson specializes in Swedish delicacies. While the races went on, we snacked on Swedish dishes (herring, salmon, etc.) They were delicious

After the boat races, we returned to the train station and took the train back to Amsterdam.