Thursday, October 3, 2013

our trip to the netherlands: harderwijk, land of my forefathers!

All ready for a day of adventure! Hoping it won't rain, because some of those clouds look iffy...
The green jacket makes its appearance once again. There was a definite fall chill in the air most days.
We've arrived in Harderwijk! It was surreal to think I was walking the streets that my family walked. My dad grew up here in Harderwijk before his parents immigrated to Canada.

 We found the city wall and couldn't resist "holding it up." Toooouurists!
 Harderwijk doesn't have much of a claim to fame these days, except Dolfinarium, which is basically the same as Marineland in Ontario. We didn't bother going, but enjoyed walking around town. I liked imagining what it was like as a fishing town, full of hustle and bustle, open markets, etc...
 There are a few replicas of old fishing boats in the harbour. When the Dutch decided to close in the Zuiderzee and build the now-province of Flevoland, it spelled the end for fishing in Harderwijk and other towns like it. And that meant my Opa had to find a new occupation, because he couldn't continue to fish on the......
.....HK59, which was my great-Opa's boat. (This is a replica.) I've heard snippets of stories in my growing up years, all about life on the Zuiderzee and the fish it provided for my family. A seaside life seems to be the story of my ancestry, so perhaps it's fitting that I've ended up here on the East Coast of Canada, living so close to the same ocean that they fished.

We stopped for a late lunch (and a snack of bitter ballen) at a cute restaurant in town. It was quiet, the waitress was friendly, and the food delicious! As for the company, well, nothing but the best! ;) As we were walking out of the restaurant I noticed a glass panel in the floor. When I peered in, lo and behold it was their meat freezer! With shelves full and hooks groaning from the bounty, I might add. Very cool.

Ever since I was a little girl, I've wanted to visit Harderwijk. Seeing where my dad grew up was such a blessing! It hardly feels real that we were really there, walking those same streets, but it did happen and I am very thankful for the opportunity to have gone!

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