30 October 2008

hunting for castles

i enjoy getting to explore what's around me. and Kristin's visit was a great opportunity to do more of that with someone who would delight in it as much as I. our last adventure was hunting for castles. i'd done some googling and talking with others and had a fairly decent idea of where we could find castle ruins but we had no idea what to expect.

we began our adventure with visiting the St. Bavo church in Haarlem, something Kristin had always wanted to do. and the church was as beautiful as we both hoped, both peaceful and majestic.

then off to hunting for castles! first, bike rental: the bikes were courtesy of OV-fiets, a coupon i'd received when i bought my train discount card. next, finding Castle Ter Kleef with only a couple of street names, a vague sense of direction, and random maps along the way. when we found Ter Kleef, the first thing we bumped into were the cows: random plastic structures of cows, the sort of thing that was begging for pictures. and then off to the ruins and garden. the ruins were definitely ruins, so that you knew that something large and brick was there (with water around it) but you'd have no idea of what it really looked like. the garden was lovely, with an indoor greenhouse in the back, flowers still in bloom, and little gnomes telling you different things you should do along the way.

and then to the Brederode castle. this is in Sandport-Zuid, so we got to bike close to the dunes and past majestic houses in order to get there. the ruins were fairly significant - the castle has been an official country monument for almost 150 years. and so we got to walk up stairs and look in old rooms, read about the history of the castle and admire the strange art displayed inside.

and then home. on the way back, we walked by Febo, so Kristin got to try one last really dutch experience: buying food "out of the wall." she let me taste it, and it was much better than i expected!

See Facebook for the rest of the pictures.

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