Not thirty minutes after dragging myself out of bed, with Teko’s prodding we went on our way to Bronkhorst an hour’s drive away, in an umpteenth attempt to ward off winter cabin fever and an early case of the post-holiday blues. It was a cold and gray 4 °C Boxing Day or Second Christmas in the Low Countries when we went to the smallest ‘city’ in all the land, to bear witness to its huge number of inhabitants – all 150 of them.
Anticipating we would have the place to ourselves, we were surprised to find a busy parking lot and a steady stream of cars weaving in and out of the narrow streets. I could only wonder what it was like on days when it wasn’t winter, wasn’t a holiday, and everything wasn’t locked down – I figured it would be close to a medieval madhouse. It would have been nice to mix with the locals but perhaps because it was the day after Christmas and businesses were shut down, I think we saw at most two people on the streets who actually lived there, the rest interloping tourists like us who had nothing better to do. It was, remarkably, busier than expected.
As I earlier found out, Bronkhorst is a city only in technical terms, having been given this right in the late 15th century, even if it’s then as it is now the opposite in reality. It was a nice visit anyway – with the many historic buildings, cobbled streets, and quaint-looking shops it was good to see the village we planned once to staycation in, and small as it was, we were done seeing everything in no time. The hotel we were eyeing and still looking to visit, De Gouden Leeuw, will have to wait until the lockdown has settled and with thanks to another on-point recommendation from Teko’s dad, another idyllic part of the country has been uncovered. The smallest city in the country is now checked off the list.