BRIELLE | Netherlands

There was beautiful light in Brielle today.

After a slow start this Sunday morning and some uncharacteristic prodding on my part, Teko suggested we go to Brielle, the town where we bought our little Ford Fiesta from a couple of months ago. Knowing nothing about Brielle I said yes anyway since I couldn’t think of any place better to go, just that after doing nothing all weekend all I was certain of was I needed to go out on this potentially beautiful, albeit still freezing, March day. True enough the sun was shining for most of the time we were there, where I discovered a town that dates back to the 13th century, that used to be part of Spain until Dutch Protestant rebels called Watergeuzen successfully won independence on April 1, 1572 after 80 long years of fighting, and was proof that even after almost 10 years there were still places in The Netherlands that can still surprise me.

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There were a handful of very interesting attractions in the old center that gave the town a lot of character, the highlight of which was the 14th century church tower that lorded over the town. The 18th century Hoofdwacht was perfect for a lunch pit stop for its great location and decent burger, and it was charming to see they’ve kept a pillory and cannon next to the 16th century fountain in the square. Though I’m a little bit more hopeful here in The Netherlands, in this age of creeping ultra-nationalism I won’t be surprised if public humiliation may just come back in fashion. How interesting would that be.

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As with any small town, a quick walk around Brielle was all it took before we were in the warmth of our Ford Fiesta driving 65 kilometers back to Amsterdam. For a quiet weekend it was nice to get out even if only for a few hours, and be reminded that even with so much time passed living here, a little bit of sunshine is a sure cure for taking anything for granted.

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