September 1, 2014

The Voorschoten Venture


On my way to somewhere.
This was a true bike quest day.

You can imagine my delight when Wikipedia revealed there was a castle within biking distance (20 minutes).

I set out for the Kasteel Duivenvoorde (I cannot pronounce this to save my life) underneath misty skies. I pedaled slowly through pastures, next to tractors, and past resting horses.

When I arrived at what was supposed to be an entrance, all I saw in front of me was a large locked gate. To the right was a V-shaped walk-in door that swung back to let you in, then forward to let you out.

What was I supposed to do with my bike?

I loitered on the driveway for a few minutes, alone in the vast expanse of swamps, fields, and trees. Could I wedge the bike through the V-door? Will the gatekeeper come and unlock the gate soon? Is there a latch I'm not pulling correctly?

Gingerbread garden house.
A Dutchman zipped up on his bicycle. I slowly asked him, "Does the gate ever open?" He shook his head, "No," and proceeded to lift his entire bike over his head. He stepped right into the V-door, then left out of it, hopped back onto his bike, and disappeared down the drive.


I should have asked him to lift my bike over the fence...but I hesitated, and by the time I realized that was the best idea, he was gone.

Princess and the Frog bridge.
I pretended like I could lift my bike over my head, too, for about 5 seconds.

I finally just decided to lean the bike up against the side of the fence in the grass, and hope for the best upon my return.

The cows and sheep called out to me as I walked silently down the pavement toward more trees. The canals along the driveway were bright green with the reflections of the trees and light. I passed a gravel parking lot where I think I was supposed to buy a ticket to walk the grounds...but I didn't.

Bayou boathouse.
I passed a maintenance barn and garden house. Not a soul in sight. I took a right turn to the boathouse and went down the path that may have said, "Verboden."

I walked toward a large field of freshly mowed grass and looked out at the farms in the distance. As I turned back around, there it was: the Kasteel Duivenvoorde.

This castle is not particularly significant for any reason, except that it is a castle - and those are always worth my time. I didn't go inside, or on a tour, or see anyone else the entire hour I was inside the gates.

Narnia bus stop.
Canoe on the moat.
I had this nagging feeling that I wasn't supposed to be there, sneaking around with a camera...which made me love it even more.

It was simply my castle for that hour, and I was enjoying my extensive grounds.

I may have gotten a little bit lost in neighborhoods on my way back to Wassenaar.

Need to live on this street, STAT!
But being a little lost just makes you that much more satisfied when you finally make it back home.

Thanks to the rain and my bicycle for a great week!