On Wednesday this week I went with a friend to Castle Middachten in the province Gelderland. I have heard about this castle being decorated beautifully during the Christmas season since arriving here. The public is invited to come and view each of the Christmas themed rooms. They have beautifully decorated Christmas trees. They also have a small Christmas market as well.
Christmas markets are not very big here in the Netherlands/Holland. Sinterklaas is the holiday where as Christmas is truly a religious holiday. Christmas trees in the past 10 years have become more and more popular. But to go to a Christmas market, I must travel to Germany (about an hour’s drive).
So I have to say that I was looking forward to going to Castle Middachten because it is only open for one week. I was so proud of myself because I remembered to charge and bring my camera to the castle.
Now, I have to say that if I am going to be yelled at in a foreign language, I choose French. They sound so polite when they are telling you off and I am giving them one of those blank stares in return because I have no clue what they are yelling at me about. So in France, I really can get away with the “blank stare.” Here, I just try my best to look stupid when being yelled at because I can read a little Dutch and I can understand a little about what is being said to me.
Here’s the disclaimer: I swear, I didn’t see the sign on the way into the castle’s entrance that was by the front door because my I was standing to the right of my friend and the sign was on the other side of her. You know the sign: no photos, no eating or drinking, put your mobile phone on silent, etc.
So there I am, walking in the front door with my friend, and the entrance is just beautiful. There’s a harpist playing and my friend says, “Oh you should take a picture of the entrance and the harpist.” I totally agreed. So out comes the camera, I take a picture and the flash goes off. I … umm … forgot to turn off the flash. So … I didn’t get yelled at by one Dutch lady, oh no, I got yelled at by 5 ladies all at once! But when being yelled at in Dutch, their voice becomes low and harsh. Because let’s face it, they want you know straight away that you are “busted.” Talk about complete and utter embarrassment; plus, everyone in the place had to turn around and see what all the commotion was about! I politely say in English that I was sorry, I didn’t know, etc. and I put the camera away. It is times like this that I am happy that I speak English and try by hardest to give that blank stare of “I am sorry, I have no clue what you are saying.” But the Dutch ... they are smart … they know.
But Castle Middachten was beautiful, warm and inviting; and the Christmas market was nice. They sold food that was made there on the premise and I bought pears that are steeped in wine and some honey. They had some jewelry and clothing and small items for your home. I bought a few handmade pewter Christmas ornaments to remember the day. All and in all it was a wonderful “gezellig” day that I spent the day with my friend, Deirdre.
|This is my “illegal” photo of the harpist|
The Martini Knitter