Monday, September 11, 2006


on our first friday in the country, adam's boss (philip) rented a car and drove us through the picturesque twente countryside. the area here, commonly known as twente (not a county or a province, but rather a region, like "the high country" or "the front range" or "north park" -- like that) is really quite lovely. it's filled with lush, dense, diverse forests, fertile farmland, and marshes filled with cattails, lilypads, and swans. it’s very unlike the netherlands that we discovered last year, when we spent a week in delft and amsterdam.the west is crowded and busy, but the east is quiet and quaint. i think i like it better here, even though there are fewer “touristy” things to do. it’s just smaller, quieter, more my pace. we’re definitely off the beaten path out here in enschede.

we spent most of friday afternoon driving around with philip, ellie (philip’s wife), and ed (adam’s colleague), and saw a good sampling of our pretty, rural twente. we ate lunch in an adorable theehuis (tea house) that’s just the type of place that we’d like to take bob and rae when they come out to visit us in a few weeks. but the highlight of our day was our exploration of ootmarsum, a little artsy village about 20 km from here.
a very famous dutch painter, ton schulten is from ootmarsum and has his gallery and home there. he’s very celebrated in that community and has met the queen and i think maybe even been honored/knighted or something by her too. (i’m not sure… the sign talking about it was in dutch, but i think that’s the gist of it.) we got to walk through his gallery and ton was even there too, talking with visitors and answering questions about the art that was for sale. his paintings were really colorful and interesting, but i actually found more pleasure in the sculptures that were there, even though they weren’t created by mr. schulten himself.

at the end of our day, we drove to nearby delden, a little village just on the other side of hengelo, and saw a castle of some sort. i think the story is that the castle was purchased by some wealthy family ages and ages ago, and the descendants of the original family still reside there. we couldn’t go inside since it’s somebody’s home, but we did enjoy just looking at it from outside. there is also a castle garden which is open to the public, but we didn’t have a chance to go there because it was almost closing time. adam and i would like to ride our bikes there sometime and maybe have a little picnic inside once the colors start to change.

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