Imagine, for a moment, a national park boasting vistas reminiscent of Canadian boreal forests, the African plains and lonely marshland. At the heart of this little slice of wilderness is a major art museum housing the second largest Van Gogh collection in the world and a 25 hectare sculpure garden. And best of all, the first thing you see upon entering the park are racks of complimentary bicycles.
Brian loves castles, but somehow he remained a "castle virgin" until our trip to Ethiopia (of all places) and I think has only seen a handful since then, so when it came time for me to plan our 11th dating anniversary, I knew we had to take a trip south. It needed to be old and relatively intact as a castle, it needed to have a stately atmosphere with a garden and moat, it needed to be in a serene location, and offer decent rates and great service. I found exactly what I was looking for!
What is amazing about Koningsdag is that the city literally shuts down to give the people free reign. On this day, pedestrians, not bikes, rule the streets. The party spans the the whole city and everything goes. You want to drink beer in the middle of the street (normally illegal), go ahead! Want to set up a BBQ on the sidewalk and sell kababs, go ahead! Want to bring your boom box on the train and blast your favourite tunes in the "silent" car, go right on ahead!
We went on a Friday evening, when the museum is open late, has live music and serves drinks in the lobby from a bar stocked with a full selection of Van Gogh Vodka and all the fixings for cocktails! The atmosphere really brought new life to van Gogh for me. I usually prefer my museums with fewer people, but I highly recommend this time and place, especially if you're feeling a little bored of the museum scene.