We don't have to check out before noon and breakfast is until 11, so we can sleep late and we do. In the background we hear the faint sounds of the highway, but the woods around the hotel muffle the noise into a soft buzz. It is after eleven when we drive away from the hotel.
We go to park Berg and Bos (Mountain and Wood) near Apeldoorn where we want to see an exposition of sand sculptures of ancient Egyptian objects. We are both interested in the old Egyptian culture so this is something we really want to see, since the exhibition is only temporarily. We had seen it on the internet and that became the main reason we are on this trip now. We walk past the long lines before the ticket offices of the Apenheul and go straight to the sculptures.
In a large hall there are great statues, made of special sand, that all have represent objects from ancient Egypt. Sometimes there are replica's of existing statures, sometimes expressions of fantasy that have a certein Egyptian resemblance. We especially like it when we recognise a few things that we have seen for real when we were in Egypt.
Best recognisable is the tomb of Tutankhamun of which we see an exact duplicate: the tomb, the wall paintings and even the colors. To the right the high priest (probably Ay who also succeeded Tutankhamun) who performs the ritual of the opening of the mouth, so the dead pharao can speak and eat again in the afterlife.
After this interesting visit we need some coffee, in the sun off course. Again the weather is very nice and warm, it really feels like we are on a holiday. Well, we are, even if it is only for a day and a half.
And then we want to see the Apenheul (a sort of Monkeyworld), we love monkeys, Elisabeth the most. So, this time we cannot escape the long lines before the ticket offices and it takes us 45 minutes to finally get our tickets. It is weekend and a beautiful day, so everyone is coming here. The monkeys are having quite a lot of fun with all these people walking aroun freely.
The park has been divided into sections which separated by water and fences and in some parts the animals are allowed to walk around freely. They climb over and under the people and especially for kids it must be great when a monkey is walking over their arms. The parents seem to be more afraid than their offspring as we notice from their reactions and cries.
The Apenheul has been founded in 1971 as a small animal park and Teije has been here once before when he was a child, but it has grown much bigger since then and there are more species of monkeys living here. For Elisabeth it is her first time, and for long she has wished to visit this park. We both totally enjoy it!
Meanwhile, the Apenheul has become an important centre, not only for the apes, but also for the preservation of these animals and their natural habitat. Research is being done and they contribute to the breed programm of the species that are threatened with extinction. A part of the (quite high) entrance fee goes to special projects that try to save the habitat where the brothers and sisters of these animals live in the wild.
We notice that the animals have much more space than in a normal zoo. Off course, it can't be compared to their natural territory in the wild, but the gorilla's, for example, have a large island where they seem to have a pretty good life.
They also have many opportunities for play, more than we have ever seen anywhere. If they have to live in captivity, than better living in a nice environment with some challenges. We would rather want to see that these animals could live in the wild, but we also understand the importance of a project like this, if only to make us, Westeners, clear how important the rain forests are for this planet and their and our survival.
We spend the whole afternoon between our nephews and nieces and they seem to enjoy it as much as we do. We will surely come back here one day, preferrably with Esmée, our granddaughter, she will love it when she is a bit older (allright, the rest of the family is also invited).Only when the Apenheul closes, we are ready to leave and we don't have time to carry out our other plans, since there is much more to see and do in the neighbourhood. Enough to come back again one day. And this trip has surely motivated us to do it again, go off for just a couple of days in our own country. So we hope we have shown you that Holland is not only flat and boring but that there are many interesting things to see and do. We are just too used to our own country and have to learn to see it again through explorer-eyes.