Two Dutch Girls on a Road Trip to Wiltshire

Road Trip 2017 (2) - Richmond to Chawton to Salisbury.

Good afternoon! Would you like to join me for the second part of my road trip in the South-West of England? A long time wish of my daughter...

Saturday, 29 April 2017

The Urban Hike: Where Were We??

Good morning you all, everywhere (but mostly in The USA - nice to see you checking in!),

A friend suggested that it would be fun to let you guess at our destination of the latest ramble. So...sure!
Where were we?

It didn't take us overly long to get to this destination. Especially for you lot over there in the good old US of A, or Canada, you are used to driving long distances, so for you this would be like a visit to your local supermarket.
For us Dutchies though, this drive is...well, a proper drive, for which we have to steel ourselves and make sure we have enough provisions etcetera in the car. But one full tank would get us there and back from Rotterdam. (First clue)

This was our aim. It is a museum, and a very modern one at that. On the roof, the tenth floor, there is a Panorama, which gives you a wonderful view over this harbour city. (And there is your second clue!)

This museum has amassed the collections of several old museums in this city. So we saw the most eclectic collection possible, with old paintings, historical earthenware and chamberpots, religion, chocolate tins (third clue),photographs, and a load of boats.

This, (your fourth clue) is a beautiful painting of the quay, with the city in the background. I loved it, the artist has captured the expressions of all those people so well. For instance the woman on the right, in the severe black dress, she gazes into your face with great suspicion! I know that look, it is the exact same look my old neighbour gives me when I'm rolling out of my car with my musician friends!
And the young waiter (in the long white apron), he has the look of a hard working youngster who is used to being ignored unless the toffs need to order another beer. 
The guitar player is in the zone, and has captured the pretty lady's interest.

This was another exhibit which captured my heart. It is part of a pre-Colombian collection.

We went to the roof, obviously, but it was so cold and grey, and the photo has not turned out very well. (Still. It is your fifth clue)

Now, I am giving you a massive, massive hint here: you are looking at the river Schelde.
Well? Have you guessed already? No? Let's continue.

This city used to be part of my country. In fact, it was more important and powerful than Amsterdam at one point. 
They still speak a form of the same language as we; let's say we understand each other's language, but we are very different temperamentally.

The city centre streets are crooked, and so are the shops and buildings. To me, that is quaint. The weather was dismal, so hardly any folk on the pavements to enjoy their beers (sixth clue).
And there were many ancient buildings around, dating from the seventeenth century.

Like the one on the right, with the step gable. 1614, It said.

I like cafĂ© staff with a sense of humour!(The beer brand is your seventh clue; oh, come on, you must know by now?!)

And here we are. The end of our ramble. This is on a market square. And no, I did not take a photograph of the world famous city hall with its many flags and gilt statues, as I thought it too garish. I prefer the other side, with the typical gables. Your last clue is staring you in the face, by the way.

Hope you enjoyed this different take on my usual ramble. Leave a comment if you want to check with me whether you've guessed my destination.

Friday, 28 April 2017

The Urban Hike: Nijmegen.

Suffering freezing winds and sudden downpours, my darling daughter
 and myself treated ourselves to an urban hike through Nijmegen.
Town Centre

Nijmegen is practically the oldest town in my country; 
only Batavorum(now non-existent) has been documented as older. 
The Romans thought the high hill next to the river Waal a very 
good vantage point and place to build their army camp. 
Thus Noviomagum was founded.
On the whole the Romans and the Bataven tribes who inhabited the 
river delta and the hills got along. There were skirmishes, though.

Nowadays Nijmegen is a student town, and an eclectic mix of old
buildings dating from the 17th century and hideous new buildings
from just after WWII. If you want to know about this period, have
a look at the epic "A Bridge Too Far". The German army proved rather persistent in wanting to keep Nijmegen occupied, and hence 
the entire town centre was destroyed, only sparing one of the many 
gothic churches.
During WWII

Darling daughter and me started our urban hike on the bank of the
river Waal, where we dropped off our luggage on the wonderful 
river barge b&b Opoe Sientje, which lies moored practically 
underneath the Waal Bridge.

Opoe Sientje B&B

From there we immediately rambled up the steepest Nijmegen 
hill,leading us along the Valkhof Park (the largest green blob on the map above)towards the town centre.
It being Monday, the market stalls rather spoiled the view, but at 
the same time the hustle and bustle was fun to watch.
The Grote Markt proved to be easy to find, as the enormous St. Stevenschurch can be seen from every point in the town. 

Grote Markt with St. Stevens and the Waagh

I like old churches, not from any religious point of view, 
but simply because it awes me that people have built these giants 
without any kind of mechanical device, and they managed to construct 
them without bits dropping off. So we walked around it, spotting a wonderful tearoom in the narrow alley behind it, Philips.

Once of the entrances to St. Stevens

After taking a quick peek inside, we followed the street with the 
most people in it, which went sharply downhill and reminded me of 
Wells (UK), with well water running swiftly down the middle. This 
street had wonderful little shops and restaurants on both sides, 
so we took forever walking down.

One of the very nice shops

We ended up in Kronenburger Park, the other green lung of the
town, and famous to Dutchmen of a certain age for having been 
both the place to meet the ladies of the night and the song by 
Nijmegen troubadour Frank Boeijenthat memorises said ladies. To 
"Leave that world, leave that world,... and don't ask me for 
the right road, because everyone is lost". These last two 
"en vraag me niet naar de weg, want iedereen is de weg kwijt" 
have become iconic in Dutch culture. I'll provide you with a link; 
even if you cannot understand his Dutch (with a thick Nijmegen 
accent), you can enjoy the very good music and Frank's wonderful 
Kronenburg Park - Frank Boeijen

Kronenburger Tower

From Kronenburger Park we walked uphill again, back to the Grote 
Markt, where we had dinner in the Waagh. This word stems from the 
verb "wegen", which means to weigh, and here the goods were weighed 
before they were sold in the markets of Nijmegen. The historical 
Waagh has been city hall and then the local police headquarters for 
a while, but now it is a restaurant, and a very nice one!
Wonderful beer!

After a very good dinner we slogged back to Opoe Sientje, where we 
had a few biological home brews and enjoyed the open wood fire and 
our book before retiring.

The next morning it was still very chilly (5 degrees C, in late 
April!), but we braved the rain showers and took a look at the 
Valkhof ruin, the Valkhof chapel and the Belvedere, before heading 
down the other side of the hill to the Valkhof Museum.

Valkhof kapel (chapel)

Me in front of what's left of the original Valkhof. Note the winter coat!

This tells of the history of Nijmegen, and has many Roman artifacts, 
all found in the cesspits and fields around the town.
It made me reflect that the jewelry of Roman times and of my own 
time hasn't changed one bit. So have we changed ourselves? 
Probably not. 
So much for civilization!

We wanted to visit that tearoom we saw the day before, so 
schlepped our way uphill once more (sorry about all this talk 
about hills, but you have to understand that we are from the 
wetlands, river delta near the sea, flat as flat can be, and 
we are not used to hills!). Afterwards we walked around the 
town centre once again (even though we had walked the same 
route the day before), because we liked it so much.
The Belvedere

view over river Waal from the Belvedere

The nitty gritty:
Nijmegen demands parking fees everywhere! The best thing to do,
if you are by car, is to park in the Eiermarkt parking garage
as they offer a €11,00 day tariff (unfortunately I only found 
this out the second day; the first day I paid over €30,00 to 
park on the Waalkade).
Opoe Sientje B&B is situated on the Lindenberghaven 1C, 6511XT 
Nijmegen, €75,00 a night for 2 persons.
Philips is behind the St. Stevenskerk, in the alley called 
Achter De Hoofdwaght.

Inside Philips tearoom