Today we spent the day with Dorine and Nadja in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Nadja made us a delicious Moroccan pumpkin soup for lunch. There home is so gezzelig – filled with artifacts from their many worldly travels, and travel books and maps. Every nook has something to see and touch and explore and to be curious about. We love going to their house. Christian was curious by all the travel books and didn’t want to stop reading. I see Africa in our future.
Christian peeking through the book shelves at Dorine and Nadja’s.
Charlie loved playing with all the musical instruments, especially the drums from India.
Little drummer boy
The kitchen was my favorite room of the house. I loved the smells, the lighting and the pots and pans and spices and coffee makers and glass jars and such that filled the space. I especially loved looking at the framed pictures of our family that were sitting in the kitchen.
The little girl in the picture is my mama at Dorine’s parents wedding. My Uncle Bill is the little boy.
This picture is of my namesake, my Great-Oma, Adriana Van Elderen. The little girl is Dorine, and the baby is Rob – my mom’s cousin who I met for the first time last week.
After lunch, we went to explore more history by visiting a castle called Slot Loevestein that was built in 1361. Can you even imagine how long ago that was? This castle is most famous as a state prison. Hugo de Groot was a famous scholar and lawyer who fought for freedom of thought (like Martin Luther King) who was imprisoned there. He used to receive scholarly books in the prison and one day escaped in a large, book box in a plan devised by his smart wife. You can read more about the castle here: http://www.slotloevestein.nl/documents/home.xml?lang=en
slot loevestein castle
My 3 Knights!
The infamous book box that Hugo De Groot escaped inside.
I find it fascinating to imagine life before we were around. When I walk through old castles and churches, I try to imagine the people that lived and worked here before, and to imagine their daily lives. Do you ever do that?
After the visit to the castle, we went back to Dorine and Nadja’s for an unexpected Moroccan chicken stew dinner. It was so sweet and savory and delicious and something we haven’t had since we were in France at Marco and Kathy’s years ago. I forgot about how much I love the flavors and want to try cooking something new very soon. Thank you for the yummy dinner!
One last thought before I end this long post — I love how Dorine and Nadja had planned to have us stay for dinner, even though we came over around lunch time. This is something new to me… when we went to visit for the afternoon, I never expected them to also have dinner for us. This is supposedly the way things are done here. The same thing happened at Rob and Wendy’s last week. We went to visit in the early afternoon, and the stay turned into dinner. I guess this is typical here. So now I know and I like this tradition very much. When we move back to the States, I’m taking this idea with me. Heck, I’m starting it this week! If you plan to come for a visit, I’ll have lunch and coffee and dessert ready for you when you arrive, and wine and cheese in the late afternoon, as well as dinner and dessert and coffee ready to make your stay as comfortable and as long as you wish.
Thank you for this great way to spend a Sunday afternoon and evening and teaching me more about Dutch hospitality. I love it!
Life is good!