Yes, I returned...my second visit in 18 months. I hadn't even considered going. My travel companion suggested it, and as we knew the weather would be pleasant, and there was someone I wanted to see again, the prospect was thrilling.
Here I am, delighted to be back.
I hadn't been there very long when I thought I spied the ghost of Queen Mary II wandering the loggia.
We did a guided tour of King William III's state apartments, led by a lively young woman in costume. For the remainder of his rooms, it was a self-tour. In one of them hangs my duchess, only she wasn't a duchess when she was painted.
I would swear that the uniformed gentleman watching over that room--whose role is to ward off photographers--left the room at exactly the right moment. I'm sure he could tell what I wanted. He was an enabler.
There was an exhibit on the history of the gardens--how perfect!--
in conjunction with the new design of the orangery garden, where Queen Mary placed her potted orange trees.
We brought a picnic lunch and ate it on a garden bench, in view of William's banqueting house by the river.
No sooner had I finished my prawn mayonnaise sandwich than a rat emerged from the hedge of tall shaved yews.
After wandering the gardens, we went back inside the palace, which appeared to be rodent-free. And virtually tourist-free!
We went all over the building. Yet again, we didn't stay for choral evensong.
Nonetheless, I was extremely pleased with our visit. I paused by this heraldic dog for a parting photo.
I took nearly 300 pictures, some of them very artsy. More to come....