I went to Nijmegen today. It’s the oldest city in the Netherlands, I’d never been there before and today was as good a time as any, even if the weather was pretty miserable most of the time. It started to rain, it stopped, and then it started again. I grew up in North Yorkshire so I am used to rainy days. They don’t get me down and Nijmegen is such a beautiful city it would have been impossible not to enjoy myself.
As is often the case I did not have any specific plans. I just walked out of the train station, made my way to the city centre, and began wandering the streets to try and get a feel for the city. That made me hungry so I popped into a kebab shop for a kapsalon. After that, I wandered around some more and found Valkhof Park. It’s not a particularly large park, but it’s very peaceful and has an interesting old ruin.
Valkhof Park is also home to the Sint-Nicolaaskapel (St Nicholas’ Chapel). I don’t think it’s still used as a place of worship, but it appears to be in very good condition for building that was built nearly 1000 years ago.
Valkhof Park is situated on a hill and although the ruin and chapel are interesting I was more impressed by the view over the River Waal. It’s a pretty wide river and I was surprised to see how much activity there was. I saw one boat carrying scrap metal and another that was transporting 20 or more brand new vans. When I lived in England I often spent time in the areas around the River Tees and the River Tyne, but I don’t remember seeing activity like that. Having said that, many years ago, when shipbuilding was still an important industry in the North East, things would probably have been very different but that was before my time.
If you ever visit Nijmegen, the Grote Markt is also worth seeing.
The buildings in the Grote Markt have a very distinctive appearance and I was particularly impressed with the Café Daen. I popped inside to dry off a little and have a couple of small beers. The place has a really olde worlde feel. I like it. In fact, with all the exposed, dark-stained, wooden beams on the ceiling, the Café Daen reminds me of some of the old bars in York. I never took any photos, but if you want to see what the Café Daen looks like inside its possible to take a 360° virtual tour on this web page.
Nijmegen is a fantastic city with plenty to see and do. There were many interesting places I didn’t have time to visit, including the Museum Het Valkhof and Kronenburgerpark. But that’s not a problem. It gives me an excuse to return another day and see a little more.
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