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by Sondra Grace
‘Twas ‘bout a week before Christmas when all thro’ Verhalenhuis
Not a creature wasn’t stirring in butter, pecans or muisjes;
The potholders were hung by the oven with care;
In hopes that the cookie doughs soon would be klaar;
When all was baked and nestled snug into tins,
Wine and music and friendship had we all to our zin
Visions of jam thumbprints and ting-a-lings danced in each head
We left ‘gainst a winter’s night, glove and scarf gekleed
And Anne in her apron, with smile tinsel bright, called
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…everywhere you go”. I got that song going round and round in my head… So it was time to visit a Christmas market.
Saturday the 10th of December early in de morning I gathered together with other TIC members to go to Valkenburg “The Christmas Town of the Netherlands.” We were going to discover this town in the south of the Netherlands close to the rivier Geul and its’ famous Caves and Castle Ruins. The corridors of the caves acted as secret passageways to the Castle Ruins in the past.
In the bus, we had time to talk and get to know each other, and after an hour and a half we arrived in Valkenburg. At first we visited the “Fluwelengrot” (Velvet Cave), one of the oldest underground corridors in the Limburg Region.
At this time of the year, there were many festive stalls which offered Christmas presents and gift items, but also clothing and personal care products. We were told the temperatures in the caves would be at a constant 22°C but… it was really around 12°C (or less brrrrr!)
Fortunately, some of us got a glass of Glühwein before the start of our cave tour. A nice Limbo man (someone from Limburg… that is what they call them in a funny way) offered us a free drink!
We were dressed accordingly to the weather, but in case you were not, you could also buy some warm clothing…woolen scarves, a nice hat, gloves in many colours, sweaters… To suit all tastes.
After the cave tour we visited the town and climbed the Castle Ruins from the year 1050, the only elevated fortress in the Netherlands. We enjoyed the delightful view from the hilltop castle. The town is crowded, many queues everywhere…a lot of visitors from other regions and from Germany and Belgium, as well.
The larger group eventually got back together for a drink before we went back to Tilburg. It was a nice day and I enjoyed the conversations I had with all the members!
Wishing everyone a happy new year,