While my bachelorette party was underway, Paul’s parents arrived in the Netherlands. They came the week before the wedding to be able to adjust to the timezone and enjoy Amsterdam for a bit. As I was still in the South on Sunday morning, my parents offered to drive me back to Amsterdam (and drop off Judith in Leiden). The advantage of this was that a) my mother could see that the dress would make it in one piece, and b) our parents could meet each other (one week before the wedding is kind of about time really ;)). I’m happy to report that the dress made it to Amsterdam OK. I immediately put it in the wardrobe and locked that so Paul wouldn’t see it. He did think he accidentally saw the veil, but that was the new mosquito net that I threw on the bed as I hadn’t had time to put that up yet ;). And the parents also enjoyed a cup of tea together.
On Monday, Paul, his parents and I set out to The Hague to visit the Mauritshuis as Paul’s f ather is a big fan of Vermeer. It was my third visit to the Mauritshuis and the Girl with the Pearl Earring keeps amazing me. I guess it also does that to most of the other visitors as the museum shop has every thinkable item with a print of that painting on it available. After the Mauritshuis we took a tram to the beach in Scheveningen where we had a nice drink and I even had a little swim (if I carry a handbag with me in summer like that day, it usually contains a bikini, just in case ;)).
The rest of the week we mainly hung out in Amsterdam, so we could sort out some final things (such as getting rid of my tan lines as I was going to wear a strapless dress). Also other guests from abroad started showing up during the week so we spent some time with them too, such as Paul’s aunt Connie, Gully (from LA), and Steve and Dan from Southampton.
On Thursday during the day we popped into the Hermitage with Gully, Dan and Steve. I’d never been there and was amazed at how lucky we were to find a day where we didn’t have to queue. The building itself is a gorgeous space, and the exhibition Matisse to Malevich was very impressive, even though I’m not a huge fan of Matisse. On Thursday night, Paul went out for his bachelor’s party, organised by his best man Steve. And I decided to take a train to Leiden to spend some more time with Judith and Arthur. We started off with dinner at Cojico, next to probably the coziest cinema in the Netherlands. The fajita’s weren’t so bad, but it’s the churros that get me most excited at that restaurant :). Afterwards, we met up with friends of Arthur and Judith’s at Café de Bontekoe, a place I didn’t know about when I was living in Leiden, but wish I did. The walls of this pub are lined with 100 year old tiles that depict rural scenes. The place was set up for a butcher shop, but that never came (although why is a mystery). Anyway, after some gin tonics, it was well past midnight, and I had to get back to Amsterdam.
On Friday, we met up with most of our foreign guests at Lempicka. It was great to see people I hadn’t seen in ages (such as Jilly and Peter from Liverpool, and Chris and Chu from Bristol) as well as meet new people (such as Paul’s family’s friends from Germany). After the drinks, we went towards the Eastern Docklands because I had to get home to meet my dad and Diana who were bringing the bridesmaids dresses and the flowers. So while Paul and the group sat down on the patio of the Lloyd hotel at a big long table, I tried to tidy up a bit at the command center and had drinks with my dad and Diana. I made it back to the Lloyd hotel just in time for dessert (chocolate mousse).
At around 11pm we said goodnight to everyone, as we of course needed to be rested the next day 🙂