Nijemegen

Nijmegen Travel Blog

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the devil at the church

On Saturday I went to Nijmegen with my flatmate, Eva, who's from Indonesia, and Ilka, who's from Berlin.  We had an invite from a friend of Eva's, who she knows from home, to have a quick tour of the city and go to his house for dinner. 

This is the second time I'd been to Nijmegen - I was there for the Vierdagse in 2006, the year it was cancelled.  But that year I was with my friend Kelly, who isn't one of nature's independent travellers.  When the vierdagse was cancelled because of the heat, and I wanted to go exploring, Kelly was worried about getting lost or stolen or looking messy, so we spent quite a lot of time in the tent until I got bored enough to embarrass the living daylights out of her by going swimming in the canal fully clothed.

Ilka, Eva and I
  next time I go travelling with kelly it will be on condition that I can go off on my own a lot more, and she isn't allowed to worry about me until I feel guilty about leaving her!  The practical upshot being that I was quite keen to do a bit of exploring. 

Nijmegen fights with Maastricht for the honour of being the oldest city in the Netherlands, and was certainly the first with city rights.  It is on the river Waal, and has a few things that may be classified as hills.  I mean, not if you were brought up in the Alps, but certainly by local standards.  My legs were really quite surprised by the concept.  We went to the Grote Markt, where Trevino (Eva's friend) and Ilka told us two different versions of a local legend about a girl who lived with the devil whose soul was saved - as far as I can tell - when whe watched a cart race in honour of St Mary.

weigh-house
  There's a statue of the girl in the centre of the square, her chains at the side of the square, and the devil right outside St Stephen's kirk.  It's a really striking modern statue, and when I upload my photos you'll see.  Actually, considering he's the personification of evil, he looks pretty insecure in the statue.  Reassuring, I guess!  We had a look around the church for a while.  It's another of the striking, stark protestant cathedrals, and there is a beautiful tomb in the middle with some really good mediaval art on the lid.  There's also a statue of some Gladioli, which they give to the walkers at the Vierdagse (the real flowers, I mean, not the statue!).  I lit a candle for remembrance day (which isn't held here until May, although I saw a fair few people who must have been Brits wandering around wearing poppies) and we wandered off.
Eva and Ilka
 

We passed the site of the house of Karl Marx's mum, where Trevino's other friend took several photos of the very modern building that replaced it - I don't know quite why, as the street itself was totally new.  Nijmegen was in the heart of operation Market Garden and is therefore pretty modern in places.  We went down to the river, and saw the remains of a Roman Hippocast in the Holland Casino.  It's just plexiglassed over outside the Casino, and is amazingly well preserved.  Then we wandered around the park where the castle used to be, admired the view of the river from the hill, and I explained about the Vierdagse.  Trevino showed us a few relics and a time capsule from world war two, which to be honest I wasn't quite as interested in - we have quite a few of those at home, and there isn't much to see other than a plaque on the ground.

  Ilka and I wandered off pretty quickly to look at something else. 

After that we went to get the bus back to Trevino's house, after getting briefly distracted by Blocker.  Blocker is a great store that sells all kind of kitchen gadgetry, Christmas gadgets and random stuff.  A bit like Edinburgh Bargain Stores - slightly like Target without the clothes or food, I guess?  Trevino lives out by the University in a really big student house.  Dinner was excellent - I'll describe the food in a bit more detail in my "today I have mostly been eating" blog, and Trevino and his friends were really nice.  We had a great night. 

Photos to follow.

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the devil at the church
the devil at the church
Ilka, Eva and I
Ilka, Eva and I
weigh-house
weigh-house
Eva and Ilka
Eva and Ilka
the statue of the chains
the statue of the chains
Waal Brug
Waal Brug
l-r, Trevinos friend, Eva, Ilka, …
l-r, Trevino's friend, Eva, Ilka,…
Former Bishops palace (now a high…
Former Bishop's palace (now a hig…
Nijmegen
photo by: Ils1976