Sunday, February 11, 2024

A day's dash up to Dordrecht

Time has flown past again and I've neglected my blog for two weeks. Shame on me! I've got quite a lot to catch up with so I'll do my best to add another post this week if I can. This week's offering is about a day's dash up to the beautiful town of Dordrecht to meet my niece. She and her husband were over here celebrating her birthday at the end of January, but since they were spending an entire week in Amsterdam, I managed to get the train up country to join up with them on 1 February.

But why Dordrecht, you might ask? Why not Rotterdam where I spent so much of my life. Well, three reasons. Firstly, my niece has been to Rotterdam before (albeit a long time ago), and secondly, Dordrecht is singularly beautiful, so I thought it would be nice to show her somewhere different. The third reason is that it is almost exactly halfway between Amsterdam and where I live in the south. Being on a direct train line as well made it easy for us to find each other.


I was so pleased it was a sunny day, although it was quite chilly. We had lunch at one of those rustic style cafés that the Dutch do so well and then we took a stroll around Dordrecht's more traditional areas. To my shame, I got a bit lost and we never reached the places I would really have loved to show them as time was running out for me to catch my train back to the wilds of southern Zeeland. I feel I can be forgiven, though. In the past, we've nearly always approached Dordrecht by water; not only on our own boats, but on the Fast Ferry, a public transport service from Rotterdam (see this old post from 2019 of a previous visit ). It's always been our preferred way of reaching the city. 

Unfortunately, I have a terrible sense of direction. This shortcoming resulted in my getting confused as to which way we should go, the upside of which was that we saw buildings and streets I'd never seen before. By the way, Dordrecht is the oldest city in Holland (the province, not the country) and it has a history worth reading about. See Wikipedia's summary here.

One example is the old Gemeente School (otherwise known as the statenschool or state school). It was the first time I'd come across it and I found it quite impressive. Apparently, a number of such schools were built to cater for all the children who needed to be educated following the compulsory education act of 1901. Dordrecht's was built in traditional Dutch style, giving it a very noble appearance. I think I'd have enjoyed going to school in such lovely environs.



The facade of the old 'statenschool' built in 1913
(Article here. Ask Google to translate)

Strolling the inner courtyard of 
Dordrecht's old school buildings

We then meandered our way through some of the town's gorgeous old streets, admiring the traditional Dutch architecture and marvelling at how so many of the houses were skew or leaning out over the streets. They are all beautifully maintained, but even so, it almost defies belief that they manage to remain standing.


Taking photos together

My nephew-in-law (if there is such a thing)
He was taking the picture of us taking pictures


I've made this photo extra large to show the delightful
wonkiness of the facades here. Nothing is straight!


Eventually, of course, we gravitated to the waterside (this is me, after all). Dordrecht has quite a similar feel to Ghent, with many city canals where the old warehouses stand with their footings in the water. I took more photos than this but they all include my niece and her husband, so publishing them here wasn't an option. However, take a look at my old post for more watery pictures if you'd like to see them

Of course, we gravitated to the waterside. This is one of
Dordrecht's many inner harbours

We only had a few hours, but it was just right. I am a very fond aunt so it was a real joy to see one of my sister's daughters here. Maybe they'll all come over one of these days... I can but hope.

To sign off, then allemaal, here's a photo I've pinched from a website about Dordrecht's harbours. I wish it were mine but it's by AC de Leeuw.

Wishing you all a great week to come, and I'll do my best to write another post during the coming days.

16 comments:

  1. Oh, Val, another lovely and fascinating blog! Thank you. What amazing buildings. And how I feel for you and your sense of direction! We might be related! HaHa! (Steph)

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    1. Thank you, Steph. I'm really pleased you enjoyed seeing a bit of Dordrecht. As for the sense of direction thing, yes!! You and I share that inability. It can be both funny and frustrating :))

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  2. Looks like a fascinating old town. Amazing what you can see when you get lost, innit?!

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    1. Shirley, it's sometimes a blessing to get lost! Thank you for reading my blog again. I'm glad you found Dordrecht interesting. I love it there!

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  3. This is a lovely blog Val. How wonderful to meet up with your niece and her husband in Dordrecht - and to get lost! It looks like a beautiful city to go off the beaten track in. Such fascinating old buildings. I would have had my Google maps app on to find my way! I'm good at getting lost too.

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    1. Ah Rebecca, you're not going to believe it, but I did have Google maps on and I still got lost. I know. It's hard to credit, isn't it? In the end, it didn't matter because we had a lovely time anyway. Dordrecht is well worth a visit!

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  4. Hi Val, another fascinating blog, thank you. 😁Those old buildings are so interesting and wouldn’t it be great to about the people who lived and worked there, perhaps they might have been one or two of my ancestors? 😂

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    1. Lorraine, so many thanks. I would love to read more about the history, but I never seem to have time to read enough. There’s always so much else to do.

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  5. This was a lovely trip around Dordrecht, the old buildings and waterways look splendid. The old school is very impressive and you mentioned it was built in the "Dutch Style", we have a small area in our town known as Old Clee and the houses there are built in that style too. I posted about it some time ago and you can see it here.
    https://lincolnshirecam.blogspot.com/search?q=old+clee
    Lovely photographs as usual, take care Val.

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    1. Ooh, thank you, David. I'll take a look at Old Clee. Maybe there's a Dutch connection. There often is in the east of the UK. I'm so pleased you enjoyed the tour around Dordrecht.

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    2. It seems I missed that post last year, David, because I saw my comment on the next one. How pretty Old Clee is, and yes, those Dutch gables are quite distinctive. They also remind me of the Cape Dutch houses in South Africa, which have those curvy gables as well.

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    3. I'm pleased you had a look. David

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  6. The joys of getting lost are endless, Val. What lovely places you saw! Thanks for taking us with you. Dordrecht needs to go on my bucket list. xx

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    1. Ah, I’m so glad you like the look of Dordrecht, Beth. It’s one of my favourite places here in the Netherlands and has an intimacy that Amsterdam lacks but as much charm as its bigger sister. I do hope you’ll come and visit one of these days. Xxx

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  7. Dordrecht is a beautiful place, Val. Reunions are special no matter the length of time. I am sure that your niece and her husband enjoyed your company, plus I love train rides. Thanks for taking me along, Lynn

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    1. It's a pleasure, Lynn. I'm so pleased you enjoyed it!

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