A Stodghill Says So blog:
We had strawberries for lunch and that started me thinking about the little Dutch town of Bergen op Zoom. We spent a pleasant evening and night there in 1985, but it wasn't easy.
Jackie was upset because we crossed the border from Belgium on a back road without guards so she felt we broke the law and would be jailed as illegal aliens. Then a short time later when we arrived at Bergen op Zoom we couldn't get into town. We weren't barred or anything like that, it's just that there's a wall around it as it has been the scene of numerous battles and sieges.
There are houses ouside the wall and people were out working in their yards or just relaxing at the end of the day. As we made our third complete circuit of the city without finding a way in some of them were laughing and waving when we went by. Three times around was enough for me so I parked the car and set out on foot to find a way in. I succeeded so we finally arrived at our hotel.
After getting settled in we went down for dinner, which was being served outside in an area enclosed by a low wrought-iron fence and overlooking the square. I decided the stress had sent Jackie around the bend because she ordered sea eel. She said it was good and maybe it was because she ate all of it. I stuck to something more mundane but had strawberries and peppercorns for dessert. Americans would never dream of blending the two. The Dutch are a bit smarter because one taste compliments the other and it was delicious.
Before we started out in the morning I was a bit stressed myself. Jackie had insisted that the one thing she had to see in Europe was a genuine Dutch windmill, the huge kind people live in. I asked the hotel employees and not one of them had a clue as to where we might find one. So we set off on the road to Breda and hadn't gone more than a few miles before we came to one after another of those windmills. I guess it was a case of not noticing the everyday things around you.