Since Chris is battling a bad cold, he decided the cold weather and possible rain might not be the best thing for him, so today I am on my own. Departure time is 0810 and guests soon make their way to the motorcoaches for the 45-minute ride to the National Park De Hoge Veluwe, a private nature reserve with 5,400 hectares of forest, moors and drifting sands. This is also the location of the Kröller-Müller Museum which houses the second largest Van Gogh collection in the world.
After a scenic drive from the park entrance to the Visitors' Center, we left the coaches for a "comfort" stop followed by a look inside the Visitors' Center where there were lots of exhibits about the park's flora and fauna. I found it interesting that there are 1500 white bicycles available throughout the park that visitors can use free-of-charge. One or two of the Tauck guests decided to try out the bikes, a not-so-wise choice for one man who promptly fell over.
After our brief visit to the park's Visitors' Center, we returned to the coaches for a short ride to the Kröller-Müller Museum, located at the center of the beautiful National Park De Hoge Veluwe. Helene Kröller-Müller was an enthusiastic art collector with the dream of one day showing her collection of modern art to the public in a museum on De Hoge Veluwe. Between 1907 and 1922, Helene and her husband, Anton, purchased 11,500 works of art: one of the largest private collections of the twentieth century. Her extensive collection includes 90 paintings and more than 180 drawings by Vincent Van Gogh along with works by modern masters including Monet, Seurat, Picasso and Mondriaan. There is also a 25-hectare outdoor sculpture garden featuring more than 160 sculptures by prominent artists.
We met our local guide inside to begin our exploration of this beautiful museum. She has been guiding here for 16 years and her knowledge of, and passion for art is evident in her enthusiastic descriptions of the paintings and sculptures. We used our Voxes during the tour so it was possible to lag behind a bit if you wanted to linger at a particular painting. We spent about 90 minutes inside the museum, then we moved outside to see a few of the sculptures. I know very little about art but I really enjoyed my visit to the Kröller-Müller Museum.
Vox units make listening to the local guide much easier
After a little free time, we headed back to the coaches for the hour ride to Grace, which had repositioned to Rees, Germany. Once everyone was off the coaches and back aboard, we set sail for our next stop, Dusseldorf, where we remain until 2:30am. There are no excursions planned for this brief stop so I'm not sure why we are here. Possibly it is another "technical" stop.
Chris was feeling a little better so we had lunch in the dining room. The roasted chicken and sweet potatoes I had were delicious. At lunch, there is always a buffet with a selection of salads, a soup, a pasta dish, a sandwich, cold cuts, a hot entree and dessert. After lunch, it is nap time. At 4pm, I attend an interesting presentation by Kati, one of our Tour Directors, about modern German life. She followed an imaginary German male and female from birth to death covering all that happens in between such as education, taxes, leisure activities, marriage, etc. I was surprised to learn the most popular names for German babies born in 2015 were Mia and Ben!
Excellent appetizers served in Panorama Lounge
As is the case each day, cocktail hour featured an assortment of delicious appetizers offered by the waiters. Today's selection included. deviled eggs, a cold cucumber soup, chicken satay with a Thai sweet chili sauce and dates wrapped in bacon. We made a meal just from the appetizers as the waiters stopped at our table several times to offer us more. Service in the Panorama Lounge is excellent.
It was another educational and memorable day aboard ms Grace. Tomorrow we sail to Remagen, Germany.