City of four rivers and a walk in the woods

Due to rising numbers of Covid-19 cases, most of Europe has gone into a second lockdown which means that like everyone, our plans have had to be fluid.

On the road again – still misty

Our original plan had been to go back to Australia after our daughter’s wedding to Pieter to visit our son and daughter-in-law. Sadly, limited flights, passenger arrival quotas and the requirement to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks at our own expense has meant this was not feasible.

Exploring the Netherlands- this time, just outside Zwolle

Our plan B was to do some more exploring through European countries such as France, Germany, Denmark etc but that has also had to be shelved. However, very fortunately for us, while travel within the Netherlands isn’t advised, it also hasn’t been banned and campervan sites throughout the country are still open.

Zwolle is surrounded by four rivers and built on the only “incline” in the landscape

Avoiding anywhere too big or too busy, we have really enjoyed getting to know our daughter’s new home country better.

From the northern seaside village of Lauwersoog we drove to the delightful university city of Zwolle. En route we had a spot of trouble with the van’s electrics – the current kept cutting in and out causing the lights and radio to go on and off.

All Ford dealerships look the same

Fortunately being old hands at having our van breakdown we just looked up at our nearest Ford dealer and dropped in. The dealership in Hemrick really had their act together and very soon their mechanic had tested everything and come to the conclusion that the damp fog of the past couple of days had caused the fault.

We were soon on our way and by late afternoon we’d parked up at the small but handy campervan site in Zwolle just a short walk from the historic town centre.

The historic centre of Zwolle

The city is surrounded by four rivers and built on the only “incline” in the landscape – the one piece of land that remains dry when the rivers flood.

Such a pretty town

Zwolle has been inhabited since the Bronze Age but the modern city was founded around 800 AD. There are some lovely buildings including St Michael’s Church which was started in 1406 and renovated in the first half of the 15th Century. The Wijndragerstoren (wine bearer tower) was also interesting as it is one of the remaining towers of the defence walls.

Outside St Michael’s Church
The Wijndragerstoren (wine bearer tower) was is one of the remaining towers of the defence walls.

A highlight for us was the fabulous bookstore built in what had been a church attached to the Dominican monastery that was founded in 1465. The church was used for Protestant services until 1982 after which it was used to house cultural events before becoming a bookstore.

This must be in the top ten of wonderful bookstores

What a glorious building and what a fabulous book shop!

Is is the world’s tallest bookshelf?!
Many of the elements of the Church have been retained including these magnificent organ pipes

Zwolle was composed of delightful laneways with wonderful shops. There were some Christmas lights already in place and the fairy lights glistening in trees gave the town a lovely glittery festive atmosphere.

The city had delightful laneways
With some gorgeous shops
The fairy lights gave the town a lovely glittery and festive atmosphere
Such narrow streets

Away from the narrow lanes and brightly lit shops there were traditional Dutch barges and other craft to stare at on the waterways surrounding the city.

The waterways always look so lovely at night

During our second walk round the town in full daylight we noticed the amazing city walls which date back to the 14th Century.

A section of the 14th Century city wall
Another section of the city wall

Zwolle certainly was really picturesque and very interesting and we agreed that we hadn’t left enough time to fully explore the town and would definitely revisit it before too long.

Such a peaceful scene
The old barges and beautiful buildings combine to make the city very picturesque
Picture perfect!
The glass angel in the great market square
The statue represents the archangel Michael, the city’s guardian angel

After being in a city and a seaside town before that, we were looking for somewhere in the country with lots of trees so we could go on some long walks.

The road leading to our campsite

We found the perfect place – near a village called Overloon only a few kilometres from the German border. The campsite was right in the middle of the countryside in a paddock fringed with gorgeous trees.

Our campsite in Overloon
I just loved the colours of this beech hedge
The beautiful colours of autumn

We went for some glorious long walks in the woods nearby. The trees were in their best autumn colours and we really enjoyed exploring some of the many paths on offer.

I loved crunching through these leaves
Our neighbour at the campsite
Such majestic looking chickens
The goats were adorable too
There were so many different paths to take in these spectacular woods

We found out later that Overloon was almost completely destroyed in 1944 in a ten-day tank battle between a British tank division and the German army. The Germans were trying to keep the Allies from crossing the River Maas. Soon after the war a war museum was founded on the site of the Battle which later became the National War and Resistance Museum and then later, Liberty Park.

We will definitely return to Overloon
Winter wood stash

Due to Covid the museum wasn’t open but it would be very interesting to return for a look round and have another beautiful walk in the Overloon woods.

We will be back when we need a “tree change”

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Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

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