Finally off and away

On Wednesday Mr Esther put down artificial grass in our elevated and renewed front garden. Getting a lawnmower in there would be a chore, so fake grass it is…

The end result is quite pretty!

Yesterday mini-me and I took my mother and aunt to a small art museum (Singer Laren Museum, to the south east of Amsterdam) and saw some lovely pieces of art…

… and work by a sculptor called Pépé Grégoire was displayed in the garden…

And this afternoon we finally packed up and left for the southern tip of The Netherlands right outside Maastricht. It’s our first summer holiday without my son (he has to work for his internship) which makes me feel a little heavy hearted. It was bound to happen sometime, I know. It’s also the first time in years we don’t have to ask our neighbour to look after our cats, now my son can do it.

Of course we’ll be texting with Mr Esther jr to stay in touch but it still feels a little off to me that he’s not with us. He, on the other hand, is already relishing having the house all to himself. Little baby boys really do grow up, I guess.

Anyway, at just after 5 pm we arrived at the holiday park where we’ve rented a cottage, we unpacked our stuff and went and got some groceries. We then headed into Maastricht for a dinner outside, keeping safely distant from others…

We didn’t stay very long and are now sitting outside our cottage. It’s pretty nice, the cottage has a fireplace that you can see from within as well as from outside. We had it on for a little while…

… but it’s quite warm and today was the hottest day of the year so far, so we switched it off again.

We have decided it may not be a good idea to head into the city tomorrow, on a Saturday, as Saturdays tend to be the busiest days, so we’ll probably head somewhere into nature for a little hike. It feels good to be away for a bit. Time for bed now, good night!

Natural history in Naturalis

We have a great natural history museum here in The Netherlands, called Naturalis, situated in the old university town of Leiden. They opened their new, much bigger, building last year and we’d been meaning to visit for a while. Especially mini-me was eager to go to see the new T-Rex they have there. So, yesterday we went. The building looks like this from the outside…

… and inside it is quite stunning (click on images to enlarge).

The collection too was stunning, all very nicely put together, but what I think I loved most is that in some parts they displayed the work they do alongside the collection itself. In the two following pictures you can see in the background of the room that researchers were actually busy doing their thing (in this case cleaning off dinosaur bones). The floating skeletons in the middle are of whales.

The assorted animals they had were impressive…

And the dinosaur exhibit was very cool. They were even working on assembling a dinosaur right in the exhibition space.

And I also loved the landscape model of The Netherlands as it was 30.000 years ago during the ice age, accompanied by a skeleton of a mammoth put together from hundreds of different mammoth bones finds.

The early humans exhibit was alas closed to visitors as apparently 1.5 meter distance measures could not be guaranteed there, so that means we just need to come back again another time when it is open again!

We walked into town in Leiden afterwards for drinks, which is always a bit nostalgic for me, as I once lived there for 8 years when I was a student.

Social distancing was doable throughout and judging from afar it was good that we didn’t head into the shopping street as that did look terribly busy. I always long to travel abroad on my holidays, get another perspective and see new things, but this day in Leiden really felt like a holiday as well.