Something that must be said of the place, however, is that the gardens were truly lovely. The grounds are, as I understand it, quite extensive and we did not have time to see much of them, staying in the formal gardens. All the same, it was lovely. I would like to return just to spend a day looking around the grounds, in all honesty.
Just over a week ago, on Thursday, I sat here waiting for my best friend to message me to say that she knew her arrival time. There had been some crash that had delayed traffic and she was somewhere in the Rotterdam vicinity with little knowledge of exactly how delayed she was. Not to mention the fact that her phone, had once again decided not to work when off of British soil making it tricky to contact one another. Eventually, and a little later than planned we managed to meet up and we made our way back to my flat ready to spend the next week together.
Friday, we were quite happy to spend the morning sleeping and chatting. A short stroll around my flat (to the nearest Albert Heijn) was also undertaken. I had a class in the afternoon and it seemed illogical to attempt to do anything major that morning what with the general exhaustion of the journey still having something of an effect on Aimee.
The evening saw Leonoor, Dania, and Thijs join us for a trip into town. Aimee felt she had to see the Red Light District while over here and so we made an evening of it, grabbing something to eat and drink before wandering around a little. We also managed to introduce Aimee to the wonders of poffertjes (little fluffy pancakes of delight)
Saturday was supposed to be a day trip day but I was feeling a little unwell in the morning so we decided it was better to stay closer to come. Instead we wandered around the museum district and I bought Aimee a fresh stroopwafel – she loves the shop bought ones in England so it seemed only right!
Sunday saw us visit Paleis Het Loo, the place we were supposed to visit on Saturday. I’d particularly wanted to go here because there was an exhibition on Empress Elisabeth (Sisi) running. It focused mainly on the myth of the films compared the reality, a little on her visit to the Netherlands and gave a basic overview of her life. A lot of the items I had seen before or were replicas of things that I had seen before but some things on display were new to me and of great interest. Aimee, who knew little of Elisabeth except what she’d picked up from me, seemed to enjoy this exhibition rather a lot too.
As for the palace itself, well, it was a mixed place. Some aspects were lovely and some were… confused, I guess. Some rooms were exquisite, some seemed like less vibrant versions of palaces and houses that I’d seen elsewhere and some were full of badly placed art. I mention the latter because there were some quite lovely artworks that were incredibly difficult to see, and impossible to fully appreciate, because of their positioning in rooms that really did not suit them. You understand how much that pained me!
Monday was spent vastly apart as I had classes all day and Aimee went into town for the day. We did spend the evening together eating a roast dinner and drinking mead or, in my case, spilling aforementioned mead all over my carpet and Budapest scrapbook. I somehow managed to get the mead out of the carpet (miraculous as the carpet is off-white and it was a summer berry mead!) and have only done minimal damage to the scrapbook…
Tuesday was another trip into town for a stroll through the shopping areas and a ‘farewell’ dinner. We decided to have our main evening meal out a day early in awareness of Aimee’s early departure on the Thursday.
Finally, the Wednesday we decided to spend in my flat. It was tipping it down with rain and we were both too lazy to go out. That aside, we are quite capable of entertaining ourselves and it was nice to have some time whereby we were simply hanging out as friends as opposed to attempting to be tourists together. Admittedly, though the entire week we had stolen moments were we could watch films, chat, or play silly computer games but it was nice to have a day of relaxation.
When Thursday morning came we were both pretty upset both because Aimee was to leave and because we both had to get up at an insane hour in order to get her to the bus station. Eventually, and after much hugging, I put her on the bus. Once she’d got on, the driver jokingly told me not to cry to which I replied that I wasn’t going to cry… I’d finally got rid of her. He threatened to tell Aimee what I’d said and I wonder if he did… either way, his joking was exactly what I needed because, without it, I would have undoubtedly been in floods of tears. Why are goodbyes so difficult?
Anyway, Aimee promised me faithfully to let me know when she crossed back into England and also when she got back home to Cardiff and I’ve not heard from her since I put her on the bus. I’m not worried because she’s hardly the most reliable woman ever (and I’ve spoken to her mother!) but, just in case you read this before I speak to you next Aimee, you’re in big trouble 😉