Dinner in a castle wall

Trip Start Sep 22, 2007
Trip End Oct 06, 2007

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Flag of Netherlands  , Limburg,
Sunday, September 30, 2007

We don't actually go to Palenberg, but on viewing a map of the area, that seems to be the nearest town.  We get back from Maastrict and head toward the general area of Landgraaf, Neth., then work our way toward out dinner date following some kind of instinct Gary relies on.  He can't quite remember exactly where it is, but sees clues and after only a couple false turns, we arrive at an old church at Rimburg.  There is a little river ahead, but the bridge has chunks of concrete blocking the way, so we park in the parking lot at the church.

Gary assures us that it isn't far to the house/castle now and we unload the stroller and stuff Roel in then take a leisurely stroll across the bridge and down a beautiful, peaceful country lane to a portion of a castle wall still standing.  We turn toward the castle at the large, arched doorway in the wall.  I suppose this would have been the gatehouse that housed the soldiers when it was a functional castle - now the facilities are rented out - our hosts live in the gatehouse that has been converted into comfortable accommodations.   There are some bedrooms on the ground floor, and we climb some stairs and the kitchen, dining and living rooms are upstairs, over the arched entrance.

We visit a bit as the sun dips toward the horizon, then we are told about some German bunkers in the trees a short distance away, so we head out to see them.  It's not a bad walk, even holding Roel (I'm not sure why we didn't use the stroller, except that we would be going into trees once we got there) and we see bombed out bunkers in the dim light of dusk, even darker in the forest.  I guess our side blasted it.  Apparently the US commander in charge of the Allied forces exercised restraint and removed the valuable heirlooms and furniture from the castle so the soldiers wouldn't plunder it so now, the owners don't mind renting to Americans.  It is a good story to hear, that an officer who is obviously immersed in the propaganda of war is able to still be considerate to the "enemy" and help preserve this beautiful piece of history.  Not to say that war didn't touch it the place ... there is a large pock mark on the wall where an artillery shell hit, and there are chipped places where small arms fire struck.

Upon our return from the bunkers we have one of the best dinners of our trip.  The company is pleasant and the food is delicious - a mix of interesting foods.  Our hosts' children love snails..... they have to be restrained a bit so the guests can have their share - but there are lots there so the children are able to have their fill.  Our enchanted evening at a castle wall ends all too soon, and we head back to our hotel warmly discussing out experience.  I imagine myself living in a charming pastoral hideaway like that, but I can't think of anywhere in Canada that has an old castle set in the woods along a peaceful stream.
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