I will try over these next few blog entries to describe what we experienced...
After a sleepless ocean-cross night, our friends fetched us from Schiphol in Amsterdam and drove across the country to the east province of Overijssel, to their home in Nijverdal. I was speechless. Even in a sleepy haze, the colour of the countryside, and the vast differences in the architecture was astounding. The first few houses I saw with thatched roofs I thought must be touristy places, storybook houses. But no. The houses look like that.
|Brick and Thatched Roofs....the Dutch call them "Peat" roofs. Notice the woven willow fence to the left.|
On that first night when we sleepily explored the town of Nijverdal two things stood out...I saw brick roads and brick houses. There was more brick than I was accustomed to. And I was stunned by the Dutch practice of perfect gardening. Every plot of land, whether outside small rowhouses or surrounding larger properties was manicured. Careful, artistic clipping of hedges and flower placement was evident wherever we looked. Hydrangeas of colours I'd never seen before took up whole front lawn areas. Woven fences sat at property lines and the biggest surprise of all was that small farms not only rubbed up against town boundaries at the outskirts, but were interspersed in neighborhood spaces. All land is used. I got the impression that the Dutch take no land for granted. They don't have the wide open spaces we take for granted in Canada, so they seem to demonstrate a love of what land they have.
|A small farm around the corner from our friend's townhome. An interesting storage system for hay.|