Finally settled for 3 days in Amersfoort in Hansel and Gretel's cabin in the deep woods - but still right in the heart of the medieval city of Amersfoort that dates from the 1300's. The cabin is actually very charming and comfy - other than the fact that the nearest plumbing is a few hundred steps away through the forest. As Jim keeps pointing out this is nothing for a Montana girl and there actually IS running water in the 2 ft by 5 ft bathroom up against the main house. So it's WAY more civilized than the cabins we used to camp out in as kids where the nearest water was a stream a quarter mile away and if you were lucky there was an outhouse within hiking distance.
This is actually the perfect base to explore Amersfoort... only a short walk from the Koppelpoort - the main gain to the medieval walled city which is actually a gate protecting from enemies approaching on both water and land. The city was established around 1250... By 1300 the inner city was protected by a brick wall with both land and water gates. The oldest remaining house dates from 1444. Only the Kamperbinnnenpoort survives ofthe original inner wall. Around the 1400th century the city grew beyond the wall and an outer wall was constructed and the "wall houses", which are still standing, were constructed on the foundation of the original wall using the bricks from the wall. There was a bunch of "miracle mythology" surrounding a statue of the Virgin that resulted in the town becoming a focal point for pilgrimages that brought in so much wealth the city was able to construct a huge tower completed around 1500. The coolest thing about the tower, other than it's extreme height and the lovely carillons that play constantly, is that it serves the modern purpose as the geographic center for the Dutch National Grid. As proponents of the USNG (United Station National Grid) - a far more concise and accurate way of establishing location than the older Mercator coordinates, we know how important this is.
There is a great walking tour where you can see all the historic sights including the alms houses where victims of plague were treated and buried - the latest plague epidemic was around 1667. There was some evil stuff going on too... accused witches were flung off a bridge.. if they sunk that proved they were not witches and were treated to a relatively pleasant death... if they floated that proved they were witches and they were burned at the stake... it's hard to grasp this degree of evil taking root in such a calm and seemingly friendly place, but this is not the only place in the Netherlands and even in New England where this kind of insanity and evil perpetrated against women prevailed..
We were in Amersfoort in 2013... we arrived with our bikes on a train from Karlsruhe starting at 8.AM. We arrived arrived after dark and by the time we found our room we were tired, cold and hungry. We wandered deserted streets searching for an open restaurant and finally found the perfect place. We wanted to go back, but of course this time we couldn't remember the name or location. However due to a combination of walking in circles and reviving our old blog we finally determined it was the Jazz Cafe, now called the Lazy Louie. so on a rainy day we went back there for lunch. It was a perfect revisiting of the good time we had 6 years ago.
Our tiny cabin in a tiny forest is the perfect place for a quiet glass of wine. Here's Maggie deep in thought working on her blog in the deep woods. Tomorrow we are off - continuing our journey heading SW toward Germany.
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