living in colorado, we got really used to sunshine. we took it for granted. and so on sunday, when the sun was shining ALL FREAKING DAY we decided to take advantage of the amazing weather and make a quick outing to nearby deventer, just about 35 minutes or so up the road by train.
(a cool sculpture near the church. in nederlands it says de maatschappij en de mensheid beginnen bij ieder van ons. we think that translates to "society and humanity begin with each of us.")
deventer is a lovely, picturesque town on the banks of the ijssel river. the movie "a bridge too far" was filmed in this city, even though most of the true-life events in that movie took place in arnhem, a city to the south of us. unlike hengelo and enschede (we're located right on the german border), deventer's city center was somehow spared during world war two, and the city has a lovely historic feel to it not too common in this part of the netherlands.
the edge of deventer is defined by the ijssel river, which is somehow an offshoot of the rhine and which also drains into the ijsselmeer. the ijsselmeer (the huge watery chunk of the netherlands that amsterdam is located on -- that big offshoot of the north sea that looks like a humungous lake in the middle of the country) has a very fascinating history which i learned about on wikipedia... back in the day, like as in the days of the romans, the ijsselmeer was known as lacos flevo ("flevo lake") and was more of a connection of lakes and marshes, which over time was eaten away and eventually just merged into one continuous body of water. later (i don't know when) this became known as the almeer, indicating that it was still more of a freshwater lake at this point. then in the 13th century there was a terrible flood -- there was a huge storm in the north sea, and the storm surge crashed through the dikes and subsequently flooded the almeer. it was after this flood that the almeer became known as the zuider zee, or southern sea, because it became full of saltwater and was essentially an offshoot of the north sea now. it was because of this natural disaster that the village of amsterdam became accessible to boats on the baltic sea trading route, and the city gradually grew into the bustling metropolis that we know of today. there have been a few more disastrous floods in the zuiderzee since then, one in the 13th century in which 80,000 people died and another in 1421 when upwards of 10,000 people perished when a storm surge broke through another dike.
in 1932, a 32 kilometer dam was completed on one end of the zuiderzee, and the area became known finally as the ijsselmeer. meer means "lake" and it is now a freshwater body of water once again, thanks to the ijssel river which feeds this large lake. all of this is relevant, you see, because we live in the overijssel province, which means basically that we live over the ijssel, or on the other side of the river.
basically we spent sunday walking around, eating french fries, watching little boys play soccer in the market square, and drinking beer in a very gezellig monastic-themed bar in the shadow of the big church. incidentally, reading the dutch sign on the side of the big church, we learned that there was another church built nearby in this area sometime in 780, but the first stone was laid for this church in about 1040 by some bishop from england. i couldn't find the way