Saturday, 15 September 2012

Pretty towns in The Netherlands

While travelling around The Netherlands I came across a couple of very pretty towns, well known to the locals but quite off the English-speaking tourist trail.

The first was Deventer in the central west of the country.  It was once a major trade centre and is now a very well preserved and picturesque medieval market town with lot of street cafes

and quite a few buildings dating from the sixteenth century (and some even earlier)

The centre of town is the market square and every Friday and Saturday there is still a market where you can get fresh fruit and vegies and of course, lots of flowers

Many of the nearby streets are turned over to antique shops

and bookstores

but the streets are also alive with people's homes many of which are small and old

and some of which are small and new

The streets are also alive with wonderful flower displays

Some people even manage to colour co-ordinate their pets to their flowers

One of the other towns I visited was Bourtange, in the very north east corner of the country and again, a place that dates back many centuries.  Bourtange was built as a fortress with canals instead of stone walls being the main defense and is now an open air museum.  This pic is not fantastic but, without an aerial photograph, is the best way to show the remarkable layout

There are a series of canals, drawbridges and gates that fortify the centre

And the centre is just a few cobbled streets

with some cute old houses

at least one church

a windmill

and lots and lots of very pretty gardens

some of which are filled with weird and wonderful things like this old bathtub

these fabulous pumpkins

and some supersize zucchini

On weekends, the locals dress up in seventeenth century garb to play with the cannons and show the visitors how the town was defended in the old days

but other than that, it's all pretty quiet now.

Not far from Bourtange is Vlagtwedde, another small village with not a lot happening

but which is precisely 55 and a half kms from somewhere

Some of the older buildings have got the most incredible roof lines and must have enormous, dark attics

Not much is very old in Vlagtwedde but I liked these couple of art deco places.  This one is, appropriately enough, an antique shop

and this one, someone's house

For just €135,000 this place could be yours

and this would be your next door neighbour's place

Just up the road is where Vlagtwedde's night life happens

and just down the road there are a couple of immaculate and stylish gardens

And even further down the road are these cuties

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