Monday, July 30, 2007

An update or two...adventures in Nijmegen

I'm going to review what we did in our recent travels, seeing as I couldn't blog as often as I imagined I would. It would have been easier if we had used a car, and stayed a week in each place. It just wasn't possible to do that!

After Haarlem, July 5 - 8, we went to Nijmegen on July 9th. It was thundering and lightning as we waited for our bus to the train station. We caught our train at 11:55. Someone blows a whistle and the doors shut. The train seats were very comfortable, purple and lavender coloured upholstery. The storm followed us. Bright flashes of lightning off to the left, and rain lashing against the windows. The lightning flickered so badly when we were in the station that I thought it was faulty lights!

We arrived in Nijmegen at 1:30. The storm followed us. We sat on the top level of the train, in 2nd class. We caught the #2 St. Martin's bus to the Bellevoir Hotel. We arrived at 2:00 and our room wasn't ready so we put our luggage in the storage room and set off to explore. The storm was just above us, so we quickly found a cafe and as we were ordering lunch the rain pelted down.

I had my first European baguette, which had ham, cheese and boiled egg with salad and cold corn. Fortunately the rain stopped so we walked through the Grote Market, set up with clothing stalls and fabric stalls. It was a different sight! I saw some pretty lace curtains for 10 Euros per metre but I resisted temptation.

We wandered down a street which led past St. Stephen's church. We stopped to take pictures and then climbed stairs to the front door, but it's closed for the week. We walked around it and found a quaint alley with an antique store which had old doll heads in the windows! I peeked in and saw an old man sitting down. We rang the bell on the door and he let us in. He didn't have any dolls for sale; I had looked into his kitchen! He was quite old and he was surprised we were from Canada. He asked about our trip and wished us well. It felt like something out of an Elizabeth Goudge book...

I absolutely love Nijmegen. It was bombed badly in World War II by the Americans. The church had to be repaired. We went to a neat clock shop filled with ancient clocks from the 1700's. We wandered around and went back to the Bellevoir, and along the way we saw an ancient wall, which is part of the old city wall built during the 1300's. The city outgrew it so parts were torn down. The old gatehouse is still there too. We found this out by asking at an ice cream shop where I bought 2 postcards. The man gave me one of the gatehouse free because I was so curious.

Our hotel suite is very large and spacious. We have our own room and Matthew sleeps in the living room on a cot. There's a dining room table and 4 chairs and a couch. Our window overlooks the roof top with an old church in the distance.

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