Saturday, April 26, 2008

Amsterdam: Day 4 -- Off to the countryside

We got up early, bid farewell to the houseboat and took our last ferry ride across to Centraal Station. Out front, we discovered the bike parking garage featured on the last season of The Amazing Race! We purchased tickets for our train ride to Arnhem and enjoyed a smooth one hour trip in a non-smoking car.

From the station, we took a quick 15 minute bus trip up to our hotel, which resembled a country manor house straight out of Wuthering Heights (minus the foggy moors and a sulking Heathcliff). We dropped off our luggage and set off on foot for the Hoge Veluwe National Park. Since it was such a nice day, the 4km walk was a nice stroll. At the gates of the park, we picked up our free white bicycles that are for general use by all park visitors.

It was about a 12km ride to the park's visitor's center where we took a break to grab a snack and check out the park information. Then we went to the art museum located in the middle of the park. There was a very nice sculpture garden, so we strolled around the grounds before heading inside.
There was quite an impressive collection of Van Gogh paintings, as well as other famous artists. Then we hopped back on our bikes for another leisurely ride to the park gates.

That night, we had dinner at the hotel's gourmet restaurant. I had a very tasty duck dish, while Jon opted for the roast beef. Our table at the front of the restaurant had a lovely view to the well-manicured back lawn, and it was nice to be able to sit there as the sun set.

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