On one of our last days in Amsterdam, my friends Michelle, Michelle, Stephanie, and I decided to head to the Hoge Veluwe National Park to see what the Dutch wildlands had to offer!
In fact, I recently hung out with the girls and told them I was writing this blog post, and this is what my friend Stephanie had to say about that trip:
“It was so flat. It was so nice to be in flat nature, where you don’t have to strain yourself in any way. Also, definitely leave early to get a bike!”
So there you go, a spicy lil quote to hype you up. Also, more about those bikes later….
The day started with some snacks/breakfast at Amsterdam Centraal to take with us on the train. We were rather fond of one particular bakery, called Brood Zaak! Which is such an awesome name. They’ve got delicious breads and pastries, and even a freshly squeezed orange juice machine in the corner, which seems to be pretty common in the Netherlands! (why can’t we have nice things!!)
On our first train, we inadvertently seated ourselves on a Silent Train and was scolded by another passenger for chit-chatting. Whoops! So make sure you look at the signs posted in the trains and follow the rules! If you want to chat, don’t sit a silent train.
After a short train and bus ride, we arrived at de Hoge Veluwe National Park. The cool thing about this park is that you can explore it the Dutch way… that is, on bikes! Which they provide for free, right at the entrance and at various locations throughout the park. How cool is that? Why don’t all parks do this?
Many of the bikes provide kid seats, which seems convenient for families! I am childless but have no fear, the seat was well utilized by my backpack.
After acclimating to our bikes, we headed towards the Kröller-Müller Museum, an art museum and outdoor sculpture garden located inside de Hoge Veluwe National park. By this point, we were pretty museum’ed out, but I have to say this one was pretty neat! If you’re a fan of modern/contemporary art, you will especially enjoy the sculpture garden. I think people of all ages can enjoy this museum and it’s definitely worth a visit!
We entertained ourselves by imitating some of the art:
Then we found a very nice cinderblock wall which we used as a backdrop for our instagram-worthy photoshoot, duh! Forever looking for cute backgrounds!!
We had lunch outside at the museum. The restaurant and seating area was under a large tent, so I’m not sure if this is a permanent restaurant, because it kind of felt like a pop-up or temporary thing. But good on them for taking advantage of this nice sunny weather!
And the food was actually really good! (Why do I associate museum food with chicken nuggets or crappy burgers? Is it because… I’m from the US? Probably.)
After lunch, we headed inside to check out the rest of the museum. Here is a piece by one of my favorite artists, Piet Mondrian:
As well as Picasso!
I really like this Picasso, but as a child I played piano and on one of my piano books was a Picasso painting of a woman and it always seemed like she was staring at you no matter where you stood in the room. I was scared of that painting and my piano teacher would always have to fold over that page when I was playing the music from the facing page. As a result Picasso paintings of people tend to unnerve me in a weird way, lol. But this depicts a guitar, guitars are safe. There’s my random childhood anecdote for you.
We actually stayed at the museum until closing time, which was a mistake. We exited the museum only to find an almost completely empty bike parking area! Everyone at the museum had already left on most of those free white bikes, so there weren’t many (functional) bikes left. If you’re not able to find a bike, *dramatic voice* your body will remain in the museum forever.
Just kidding. But, I would recommend leaving a tad earlier so you have good pick of bikes!
We spent the rest of the day frolicking through the park via bike. It’s really a huge park and I have no idea how area we covered. We did see the landscape change from deep woodland, to sand dunes, to savannah-like grassland, etc. We even passed by a lake and a castle! For most of our route the roads were deserted of people, so it felt like a great getaway! Also, like Stephanie mentioned earlier in her quote, most of the route was pretty flat and super easy to bike on. Perfect for people of all fitness levels 😉
For dinner we took a bus to a nearby town and decided to check out this “Shabu Shabu” place. This restaurant is called “Shabu Shabu”, so silly us, we thought it might be a shabu shabu (hot pot) restaurant. But, it was actually an all-you-can-eat Japanese buffet.
You use this phone to order your food in rounds.
I noticed that some restaurants in the Netherlands would serve you tap water, and others made you buy their expensive bottled water. This Shabu Shabu place forced us to purchase expensive 7 euro glass jars of water (we are thirsty girls!!) so I ended up taking one of the glass jars home. And now it is holding a bunch of chamomile flowers in my room. One of my favorite souvenirs from the Netherlands for sure!