Our last day in Holland and we wanted to fill it up! Since Breda was close and recommended, that was our first destination. We walked to the Grote Markt, which was a bit different than the other cities we visited. City Hall was there as expected (and we saw two sets of brides & grooms coming out a different times while there), but the the square itself was pretty much overtaken by café seating. We found the VVV and picked up a walking tour brochure. While there we found out that a Red Head festival was going on and noticed that there were lots of red haired people around!
We set off to follow the walking tour, but made a stop at the Great Church (Our Lady Church) first. It was a bit disturbing to see that the church was being used to house an exhibit featuring 100 hot red headed men. We chose to focus on the architecture and the historical installations and ignore the rest! The walking tour was pretty good and pointed out some interesting locations, but we didn’t quite finish it. One of the stops was an old monastery with a beautiful, peaceful courtyard (only one way in and out). It apparently houses senior citizens now. We saw Breda Castle, which houses a military academy. Dick’s dad did his officer training there many years ago. A nice stroll through the park brought us to the center of the Red Head Festival where music was playing and vendors were set up. It was Dick’s last chance to have kibbeling and we also got poffertjes, which are small round doughnut-like treats covered with powdered sugar. Yum!
There was lots of shopping streets off the square and even an indoor mall. We browsed some shops and found some things at Hema, Blokker and Kruidvat to bring home. We also had to have one last coffee stop at a café on the Grote Markt! This is an experience that just can’t be duplicated in the states.
Since we were so close to the Belgium, I insisted that we drive over the border and visit a town close by. We stopped in Hoogstraten and walked the main street. There was a large, distinctive Catholic church in the gothic style and made of brick. When we passed by, a bridal party was just emerging and we waited to see the bride. The church bells rang for quite some time and it was pretty amazing. We’d been looking for a particular sugar dispenser and found one to our liking in the Blokker store there. We stopped back at the church to stroll through the yard. There was a small graveyard there with interesting tombstones that included the pictures of the deceased. We had to make our way back to Chaam for dinner so it was a rather brief visit to Belgium, but satisfactory nonetheless!
We wanted to take the folks out for our last dinner in Holland and the Pannenkoeken Huis ten Bosch was our choice. This was such a cute place with all kinds of funky and interesting decor! I order a very sweet pannenkoeken with creme brulé, strawberry syrup, whipped cream and candy hearts. I think it was called the sweetheart pannenkoeken. It was surprising that a lot of places in Holland, including this restaurant, don’t accept credit cards. It was fortunate that we were able to use Papa Smid’s debit card from a bank in The Netherlands. We had to reimburse with cash later!
Back at the bungalow, we finished the day packing our luggage.
Curious sighting: hundreds of red haired people all around the city of Breda!