I woke far too early today but at least this gave us plenty of time to prepare the van before we left the camperplaats to move to the next one in Hoge Veluwe National Park. We stopped at a supermarket on the way and, thankfully, the bikes survived being reversed into a lamp post in the car park. The landscape became hillier as we drove inland, and there are a lot more trees.
We parked up on the campsite and ate some pastries that we’d bought for lunch then, with map in hand we set off to cycle round the park where there are over 40 kilometres of cycle tracks. We wanted to visit the underground museum, art gallery and sculpture trail so we planned a route to these, plus an extra loop if we still had the energy.
The first stop was a hunting lodge built for the estate owners between 1914 and 1920. Unfortunately they only lived there for a few years before they died. It’s very impressive, particularly when seen from the far side of the lake, although the tower is a bit over the top.
The landscape in the park is very varied with wooded areas, managed parkland, scrubland and even sand dunes. It’s not been as hot today, and the wind was quite strong in the open areas, which made cycling hard work.
Our next stop was the visitor centre and underground museum. We parked our bikes with the 100s of others. The park provides 1800 bikes for visitors to use, but we’d taken our own. The museum included lots of interesting and interactive exhibits but my favourite thing was the tangle of tree roots which was hanging above us as we wandered round. Among other things, there were several drawers showing how a dead rabbit decays, and we were shaken by an earthquake.
When we’d had enough, we carried on to the Koller-Muller Museum and sculpture garden. This houses the largest private collection of work by Van Goch, as well as work by many other famous artists. There was some art by Barry Flanagan who is apparently from Prestatyn, although we’ve never heard of him.
We then went outside to look at the sculptures. There seemed to be hundreds! After looking at the ones nearest the building, we had some lunch in the sunshine, washed down with cold beer… it was quite hot sheltered from the wind in the museum gardens.
After lunch we wandered further away. There were some huge sculptures. Some were beautiful, others were fun and others we just ‘didn’t get’. We were still enjoying exploring when we were asked to leave because it was closing time. John decided to cycle an extra loop of the park while I cycled back… I’d run out of energy! I stopped at an observation hide on the route to the camping and was lucky to see some deer. They were very nervous though and moved away when some noisy children came in.
Now we’re showered and fed, and cosy in the van. Tomorrow we plan to go to Zutphen, one of the oldest towns in The Netherlands. The country certainly offers a lot of variety, and we’ve loved it all!