And here it is – the entrance to the former Queen, now Princess Beatrix’s residence estate, Kasteel Drakensteyn. It’s not the main entrance, but surprisingly that wasn’t as large nor imposing as this one. Interesting to think that beyond this gate is the home of a former monarch, living a hopefully quiet and carefree existence.
Just outside of the estate’s electrified fence, in a far isolated corner of the local cemetery, was the unexpectedly – but perhaps appropriately – simple burial plot of the Princess’s second son who died after an extended bout due to a ski accident. Apart from two cameras looking in the direction of the gravestone, it would have been easy to walk past it without knowing a Prince was actually buried there.
Elsewhere in the surrounding area, there was a small, attractive church, a fair number of milling tourists, and a couple of cozy restaurants that seemed to get busier as the day went. We planned on breakfast but it was too early for that apparently so we settled instead for some coffee and decent apple pie. While the place had weekend athletes and cyclists streaming in and out, it was interesting to see that most of the people who were there were on the right side of retirement. Fingers crossed that I can be in the same place when the time comes.
And as further testament to the stateliness of the area, where you couldn’t swing a sphynx cat without hitting a gated estate, we were stopped in our tracks as we passed by the Kasteel de Hoge Vuursche, a former castle turned event venue. Since the gates were wide open, we turned back and drove right in to ogle and be sprayed by the water fountain, and to purposely walk in and around the building. It could stand a little renovation but I’m sure any royalty would very much fit right in.