Isn’t it often the countries that you think you know the best, where strong visual images of the countryside come easily to mind, that can surprise you the most? Most people think of Holland as canals and windmills, but head south and the landscape changes completely.
Just back from another week in Holland, enjoying the Vierdaagse in Nijmegen and exploring more of the surrounding area. Nijmegen is well-known for its week-long Vierdaagse festivities, with live stages all over the city centre and many, many bars and restaurant terraces full from lunchtime till late into the early morning. For those not worn out by a week of walking or partying, there’s the Blarenbal (Blister Ball) at the end of the week to enjoy.
But it’s also full to bursting all week long…if you haven’t booked up months in advance, you’re better staying nearby instead. Cuijk is a small town set on the banks of the Maas, in the province of Noord-Brabant. Only 15 minutes from Nijmegen by train, it’s a more relaxed place to base yourself. But that doesn’t mean it’s sleepy during Vierdaagse time. No, the marches walk through Cuijk, over a special built pontoon bridge on the Friday before heading home. Cuijk throws it’s own week of partying, with eveything from a techno festival to open air movies and fireworks. The main streets are closed to traffic to allow open air terraces with live music to spill out onto the street, with some surprisingly varied acts.