We conclude our wonderful barge trip and Mark and Cinda depart for Paris. We remaining four head by rental car east of Amsterdam to Hoge Veluwe National Park, the supposed “green gem” of national parks in The Netherlands which has been at the top of Leslie’s wish list for Holland for months. Imagine over 13,000 acres of forest, sand dunes, heath and fen with an exceptional museum with over 250 Van Goghs and other late nineteenth and early twentieth century Impressionists and Cubists. It sits in the middle of the park and is surrounded by a 27 acre outdoor sculpture garden…. Museum Kroller-Muller is also the home of many modern masters, and the sculpture garden hosts works by Rodin, Moore and Dubuffet, among many others. It takes us a day and a half to try to take it all in, meandering by foot through galleries and down paths with monumental sculptures right around the corner.
When museum fatigue sets in, we break for coffee, picnic, or borrow one of 400 free white bikes which are available throughout the national park. All of us feel like the three bears as we choose our bikes : this one is too noisy; that one’s seat needs to be lowered; or, as with one of Val’s choices, the chain is off (but quickly repaired by a friendly cycle tour leader near the entry gate, which made it just right)! As we bike, we experience the varied terrain, the pace is leisurely, and we discover the old hunting lodge of the park’s wealthy patrons, Helene Kroller-Muller and Anton Kroller. Helene had a passion for modern art, collected over 11,000 art works, and generously opened her collection to the public in 1938. How fortunate for us!