Monday, August 2, 2010

Hoge Veluwe National Park

Yesterday Mitch and I decided to take a drive to the Hoge Veluwe national park. We had been tossing up between this and Ghent but decided we were in need of a bit of a nature fix. Despite the overcast day here in Holland, it ended up being perfect weather for a day of riding around this beautiful park. We entered the park at our nearest entrance at Schaarsbergen, about half an hour from home. After parking our car at the gates and paying the entry fee, we hopped on the free white bicycles that the Hoge Veluwe is well known for and set off on our 30km ride.


It was a really quiet day and I can't begin to explain just how peaceful and lovely it was riding around without no houses, farms or church steeples in sight - as much as I love the countryside here and there are 'wide open spaces' (well, wide and open by European standards), it's hard to find many places where you aren't in eyesight of a farm or village. The Hoge Veluwe was wild and rustic, filled with heathlands and sand dunes - dunes that just popped up out of the middle of nowhere, quite unexpectedly.








The park is also known for it's wildlife - deer, boar and badgers are apparently not uncommon, although I was a little sad we didn't spot any. I see deer signs (much like the kangaroo and koala signs we have in Australia) all over the Netherlands and I REALLY want to see a deer in the wild, perhaps I'm envisaging Bambi??? We did spot a huge bumble bee though.


One of the highlights of a visit to this park is the Kroller-Muller museum. We had been umming and aaahing over whether or not to go in but I'm really pleased we did - it was fantastic! Featuring work by renowned artists such as Monet, Picasso and Renoir, it also houses a very large collection of Van Gogh - second only in size to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. After seeing it constantly on the rice ad I was especially excited to see the Potato Eaters.

We have a couple more visits to the Hoge Veluwe planned in the near future and I'm already looking forward to going back and setting off for another day of exploration on the white bikes... Can't wait!!!

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