Dawn finds us all caught up on our sleep deficit from the airplane ride across the Atlantic…Nancy got 11 hours; me 9+. We are near enough to the sea that there is early overcast, but by 10, the sun is breaking through. Awakening at 1:30AM, I realized it was 7:30 Eastern Standard and decided it was time for some night photos from the bathroom window…see above.
Then, here’s one that I took yesterday afternoon, as we were boat-watching from the waterside bar. In honor of the Dutch national enterprise. It tasted like my first Heineken in the 70’s (before it came to the States) at the bar in the King Christian Hotel in Christiansted, St. Croix. (Guus Lubsen, the former Heineken President, tells me that “Beer is Emotion”, so, perhaps, being with the lovely Nancy in that romantic place, caused the enhanced taste sensation.)
Day two in Holland begins with a Guus pickup at our hotel and his lady-friend, Joke (pronounced “yolk-a”) is accompanying us, too. Our drive to their home in The Hague takes us along a dike which is part of a national water-management system that is one of the wonders of the world, since the country is mostly below sea level. We drove to the North Sea through some vast sand dune territory.
Their house is in an area outside of The Hague (town name, Wassenaar) where many ambassadorial properties are located. Very quiet and woodsy with large lots – at least an acre each. Here are some shots of the house with its thatched roof and idyllic grounds. Built in the 1920’s it has an amazing amount of glass windows/doors.
After a bite of lunch, we motored to see downtown The Hague – it is the seat of all government operations as well as being the residence of the King. Our tour was thoroughly accurate…Guus is a Consul for Monte Carlo’s government for their relations with Holland and has been involved with many foreign dignitaries for years here.
We then took the tour of the newly-renovated national art gallery, The Mauritshuis. It’s quite a collection of old Masters and some familiar paintings along with being a grand example of Dutch architecture.
Our evening was a warm and delicious dinner cooked by Joke and served at the cozy kitchen table with Guus’ liberal hand with the red and white wine. Our afternoon photo (in a giant tv screen) and the end-of-evening living room shot completed a wonderful day of history, culture and friendship. Thanks, Guus and Joke.
Tomorrow an Amsterdam garden tour (arranged by our travel magician, Pam Long) and a boat ride on the canals. Ta-Ta.