After all the indulgences of the past week, we just felt that today, a walk is warranted. Time to shake off the extra pounds from all those rich dishes that we feasted on.
We were feeling a bit sad after breakfast when hubby’s parents bade their goodbyes because little daughter was so distraught so see her Opa and Oma gone. They came yesterday for hubby’s birthday and for the first time, we welcomed the new year together. In the past years, they normally came for their son’s birthday but never stayed for the changing of the year. They used to have a dog which was scared of the fireworks so they stayed at home before those big bangs start.
I quickly checked the internet site for Dutch castles, www.kastelen.nl for some guidance and found this one in Hernen whose plus point is that in case the castle is closed, we can have a good walk because there are suggested hiking routes. It’s new year which is considered a holiday so normal establishments are closed for business.
While we were driving to Hernen, the rain started to pour. It did not help that on the radio the weather forecast was suddenly announced — rain to continue for the rest of the day. I started to rue the decision to visit a castle and do some walking. With bad weather it seemed like a waste of time and petrol as this castle was a good 52 minutes drive according to the car’s navigation system. We could have just stayed at home.
I love castles and on Sundays when we would normally go for a walk, I love doing that against this backdrop. Castles to me are repositories of history from where I get a glimpse of how life was some few hundred years back. We have several castles nearby but I love exploring new ones. This one in Hernen seemed to be a nice one from the pictures, Medieval and well-preserved.
We arrived in Hernen at around 2:30pm and because the weather was gloomy, it seemed even far later than that. Daylight here in winter is short and when the sky is overcast, it seemed even shorter than usual. We parked the car and headed to the castle, assuming already that it must be closed. To our amazement though, the main entrance was open. When we entered the main door, we were led into a small courtyard and suddenly, the castle’s door opened and this old lady at the castle told us that there is a special show for children which is about to start shortly and we are very much welcome to come in.
What a wonderful surprise! She led us into the library where seats were assembled for the children and parents. In front was a makeshift stage and there was the lady performer with her props of guitar, accordion, flute, drum and hats. She started the performance shortly after we came in. She narrated a story of a brother and sister who were always fighting and very difficult and how they were sent away by their parents for misbehaving. The performance involved a lot of singing, role-playing, dancing, and the use of the musical instruments. Little daughter was mesmerized.
The show was amazing! The lady was really engaging and the children enjoyed the very interactive performance. Little daughter lost her inhibition and at one time, even volunteered to play the flute.
The show lasted for an hour and afterwards, we were even treated to free coffee, juices and cookies. What a great way to spend a Sunday and we didn’t even have to spend a cent!
We did a bit of walk after we left the castle. The ground was quite muddy though but it was nice to just have a breath of fresh air and to feel the raindrops on our faces.
How about you? How was your first day of the year?
For more information on this castle, here are some of the links I found on the web: