We drove with a friend from Kempen to Tilburg, which is situated on the southern part of the country. Within an hour or so we arrived at our next destination The Netherlands, and we were spending the rest of the weekend with another friend.
It was my first time there but I felt like I’ve been before. It could be the familiarity of the language that I can read and understand a bit or the fact that I might have relatives there (with our South African history you may never know) or maybe it was the warm welcome and great hospitality.
We indulged in home-cooked Dutch meals whilst there, one I loved most was the simple but delicious Hutspot. We talked about everything and anything under sun. Our friend is passionate about politics (as a matter of fact, he teaches the subject at the nearby university). We talked and argued about the ills of society and Europe at large, and possible solutions (this part was fueled by the fermented grapes, of course) till early hours of the mornings. Well it all depends on the way one look at things, and on that note we agreed to disagree. It was the only way out, if we wanted to get some sleep.
We spent the days sightseeing and visiting the neighbouring towns. Heusden town was of particular interest, situated between river Maas coming from France and river Rhine from Germany. It’s also rich in history with the war crimes that took place there, the fortifications that were built to defend against the Spaniards and French troops. And just how the Dutch used water as a tool to defend themselves from invasion – building of the water dikes is certainly fascinating.
Nowadays, this is a really beautiful and small town with a harbour for all kinds of boats. It is certainly a tourist attraction.
There is so much to admire here, including the castle that was destroyed by lightning. It was apparently used to store ammunition and gunpowder and when the lightning struck, an explosion occurred that led to it’s destruction. Though it was later restored, it never returned to it’s former glory.
Cycling is so big here maybe it’s due to the fact that the country is so densely populated. It is the most popular and cost-effective way of getting around.
Tilburg itself, is famous for wool production and is a very interesting and beautiful city. I’ve seen so many “coffee shops” in this area with security guards at the door. It’s common knowledge that the use of “soft drugs” is not frowned upon in Holland.
The highlight! probably the only country in Europe I will ever get to eat maize meal porridge for breakfast or beer porridge as a night snack.