Thursday, June 18, 2015

Our trip to The Netherlands via Luxembourg... part 6

Yesterday, I was determined to see something.  Paleis Het Loo is literally right next to our hotel.  A bonus is that there are restaurants there.  I could have lunch and not walk my ass all the way to the Centrum.  And I could see a palace dating back 300 years that, since 1984, has been open to the public.  Paleis Het Loo (The Woods Palace) served as home to the royal family of The Netherlands, princes and monarchs of the House of Orange Nassau.

To be totally honest, I don't usually find palaces to be that interesting, especially in places where I have to work to understand the language.  Paleis Het Loo does offer information in English and Dutch in the house and there are headsets that can be rented.  Some of the exhibits are only in Dutch, though.

I didn't care too much.  I wanted to kill some time and see something different.  And I'd be an asshole if I didn't venture next door to the hotel and see this historic residence for myself.  I could have purchased tickets online and saved a couple of euros, but I didn't have the means of printing them.  I decided to walk to the main entrance, which required a short stroll.  For future reference, if you stay at the Bilderberg hotel in Apeldoorn, you can buy your tickets at the reception or you can walk to the main gate from the entrance closest to the palace.  Since I didn't know what was going on, I walked to the main entrance, where the parking lot is.  I'm glad I did it that way, since I got to see the pretty wooded drive into the palace.



A couple of shots of the dog park, which I passed on my way to the palace.  I probably would have had as much fun hanging out there.


This cool looking building was across from the Palace entrance.


Welcome, y'all.


As I approached the cashier, a Dutch guy stopped me and asked something in the local language.  I think he was a tour guide and maybe thought I was meeting his group.  I responded in English that I didn't understand.  He apologized and I went on my way...  I have to admit, I get a thrill when Europeans don't immediately take me as an American.

I paid 14,50 euros for my ticket.  I could have paid another 3 euros to see Sisi, a temporary exhibit they have going on right now.  I actually wanted to see Sisi, but the cashier either didn't hear me or didn't understand when I asked.  And then I realized I probably didn't care enough to see it anyway.

I walked into the palace grounds and was immediately confronted by one of three wandering peacocks.  A large restaurant was to my right, while the stables were to my left.  I went into the barn, which was chained off.  I could peer inside and see two draft horses being kept company by a barn swallow.  I breathed in the seductive scent of the equines and remembered how much horses helped me get through childhood.  Someday, I hope to have them in my life again.  Maybe when I'm not traveling so much.


Horses...  I wish they'd said hello.






You can actually visit the stables and the coach area without a ticket.  I saw a lot of folks on bikes who appeared to be doing just that.  If you want to see the palace and the grounds, you have to walk along a pretty tree lined lane to the fenced off interior.  As I approached it, I was suddenly reminded of Colonial Williamsburg.  Everything from the country landscaping to the architecture of the buildings reminded me of my adopted hometown in Virginia.


Don't walk on the grass.


I pretty much did things backwards.  The first thing I did was visit a restaurant just inside the entrance.  I had to pass through the Sisi exhibit to get to it.  If you want to buy a ticket for it, you can use a vending machine.  I might have tried that but noticed a couple of Dutch visitors struggling with it.  I decided I didn't mind not seeing everything.



Lunch consisted of a Heineken draft beer and a chicken salad with yogurt dressing.  The chicken was very spicy and coupled with green apples, tomatoes, cabbage, and cilantro.  I was kind of proud of myself, since I'm usually not a salad fan.  The restaurant also offered high tea, which was 22,95 a person.  I would have probably gone for that had Bill been with me.


Lovely dining room.  WiFi is free and easily accessible!  Look at the back of the menu for the password.


Haven't had one of these in a long time.


Spicy chicken salad!


High tea, anyone?


After I ate, I walked around the grounds.  Honestly, I think just walking through the gardens would have been enough for me.  They are very beautifully kept, serene, and tranquil and you can just sit there, gaze at the lake, watch the waterfowl, and dream.  But I felt compelled to check out the house, too; so I wandered back to the palace and found the gift shop.  I left the gift shop thoroughly confused about how to enter the palace until I finally found the route... which I proceeded to do backwards.

I ran into a palace "goon", a super tall, thin, Dutch lady who spoke Dutch to me at first.  When I looked at her blankly, she asked if I spoke English.  I said I did and she told me I had already seen the rooms I was about to enter.  Actually, I hadn't seen them because I went through the house backwards.  But I went back the way I came, then found the correct route, which I enjoyed until I ran into her again.  She asked if I needed help leaving the palace.  By that point, I figured I had seen enough... I was getting tired and cranky trying to get around people with no situational awareness and I didn't feel like explaining to the woman that I had initially come through the house backwards.  I docilely let her lead me to the elevator and offer an easy way out of the palace.  Then, feeling somewhat crabby and palaced out, I skipped the East wing and walked back to the hotel, where I proceeded to chill out with some wine.

I waited there until Bill showed up, somewhat early.  I sense his conference is winding down and with any luck, it will end today instead of tomorrow.  Then we can go see some monkeys before we head toward Haarlem/Amsterdam.

Stay tuned for my post on last night's dinner...  a surprise menu consisting of things I usually hate eating.



This REALLY reminds me of Williamsburg, minus the Dutch flag.




Peacocks!












The "shell cave", a grotto made of seashells.  I thought this was really cool... literally.



Part 7

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