a bit familiar…The Netherlands

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

“Take care, your worship, those things over there are not giants but windmills”

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. 

Heusden Town

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.

Me and my castles fascination. Luckily they are not built on air…

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. 

Bicycles outside a Cathedral

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.

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12 Comments Add yours

  1. Ruth2Day says:

    I went to Amsterdam last year and I immediately felt as if I could live there. It was such a lovely feeling. Although I’m not sure I could eat beer porridge if I did live there!

    1. cocoaupnorth says:

      I agree it’s got that lovely feeling of being familiar, I liked it there. LOL about the beer porridge, guess you are not an adventurous eater:-)

  2. Marianne says:

    Great photos.

    I love windmills – always have! I´ve never visited Amsterdam. You´ve made me want to put it on my “Must Do” List. Thanks for the insight. 🙂

    1. cocoaupnorth says:

      Glad I inspired you to get it on your “Must Do” list. You will have a lovely time marvelling at all those beautiful and traditional windmills.

  3. footsy2 says:

    A girlfriend and I had the most hillarious time ever in Amsterdam, coffee shops and red light district included. But I too would have to give the porridge a miss.

    1. cocoaupnorth says:

      What a lovely experience it sounds you had with your friend there. Yeah! those coffee shops confused me a bit at first, I thought why do I need to be protection when I just simply want to go in and have a cup of coffee…*lol*

  4. adinparadise says:

    I have quite a few relatives in Holland, as my dad was Dutch. I also loved the windmills when we visited many years ago. I found the Dutch hospitality was really great. Lovely post and photos. 🙂

    1. cocoaupnorth says:

      Thanks AD. The hospitality is outstanding, it felt almost like home. Now do tell, did you eat a lot of beer porridge growing up?:-)

  5. I like Tilburg – there is a yearly Gypsy guitar festival!

    1. cocoaupnorth says:

      Tilburg is cool and interesting.

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