Monday, July 18, 2011

Our Gorinchem Citadel Walk

We had intended to be out-n-about this past weekend for a new photo hunt, but after a week of heavy rain, and more forecast, we stayed home and relaxed.

That's when I decided to take you on my citadel walk where we live in Gorinchem, Netherlands! It's been something in the wings for a long time, so here it is, with pics from the last 1-1/2 years.

Gorinchem's city center is surrounded by water and walls, making it a perfect, fortified city center. There is even a tour you can take around the citadel, explaining all about the walls, which you can see here. We have yet to take it but "most of the town walls from 1600 are in more or less original shape."

See that big red dot near top center? That represents where we live here at De Lindeborg, inside the citadel. At least 4 days a week I walk around one half or the other, cutting back through city center: 40 minutes to the left, 30 minutes to the right. If I walk the entire loop at a brisk pace, without my camera, it takes 45 minutes. Sometimes Astrid and I do that together, as we did yesterday.

And what a walk it is! I still pinch myself because of what is here at our fingertips.

First of all, there are 4 main landmarks, all of which I have shown from previous posts, but here they are as seen from the citadel walk: two windmills, the Grote Kerk, and the water tower.

First off, and only a block away from our back door, is the Nooit Volmaakt (Never Forget/Never Perfect) windmill, from 1718. That top-left image is my laptop's wallpaper, so soulful with a light dusting of snow.

Today, let's turn to the right towards the windmill and follow the citadel wall clockwise.

On the backside of the windmill is a staircase that takes you down to the canal that runs through city center and where all the old-timey houseboat barges are. I almost feel like I'm trespassing because I'm in their front yard as I pass by. Then I climb another set of stairs to cross the bridge before continuing on along the wall.

Then I pass Old Sannie on the left, sitting on his own little island in the Paardwater.
(See how this comes together from past posts?!)

Then starts some of my favorite views along the city wall.
See the ice skaters? They were there my first year here, early 2010.

This is the part of the walk where you can find the little "munchkins" from the artist Erik Buijs. All these fellas sit on poles at eye level, at regular intervals along the walk.
Each one is about 7 inches tall.

About this same time, off to the right, is when you see the water tower from 1886, now an apartment building.

It's at this point, on my short walk, that I turn into the city center to go back home, with the second windmill straight ahead. I don't pass it on the short walk, but I see it and that's enough.

Now, since it's too much like craziness to continue clockwise around the citadel (isn't it strange how our brains work!), please go back to the big red dot on the map and go left with me counterclockwise to finally meet up where we last left off and complete the loop.

I always think of last December's Santa Run (remember?) when I start off on this longer of the two walks. This was where we went then, through the huge, over-arching trees.

This is also where I start seeing the cannons because the huge Merwede River is before me, with freighters passing daily back-n-forth to Rotterdam. Remember, this is a citadel and the cannons remain as reminders of a rich history of defense.

And there she is, the Merwede River and bridge in the background, with Gorinchem's outside harbor (outside the citadel wall, that is) in the foreground.
See the walkway? That's what the whole walk is asphalt.
And see how raised it is? That's the city wall, on which we're walking.

It's in this neck of the woods, looking inside the city, that you see some of the best views of the Grote Kerk.
It's only two blocks down the street from where we live (with its tilted tower).

Then, within minutes after the boat harbor, you come down off the wall to the Merwede River where the water taxis are ready to take students, workers, and visitors from one city to the next.
Sometimes cheaper than owning a car!
There's also a huge grassy area for all kinds of activities and festivals throughout the year.
A great meet-up place. Even a beach for swimming.

See the gigantic "munchkin" on the pole there at the waterpoort?
Yup, it's done by the same artist, Erik Buijs, as along the earlier walk.

Right after you turn left at the waterpoort, and then follow past the restaurant (top-left image of the collage before last), you turn right....

...and cross over the Linge Harbor to the left...the city's inside harbor, as in inside the citadel wall. It's the harbor where Sinterklaas enters the city on 5 December every year from the Merwede River.
No boat can enter until the sluice is opened, so it's totally protected.
It's also fun to stand there and watch the boats come through. In fact, if the sluice is open on the walk,
you can't cross over til it's closed to continue!

After passing the inside harbor, with city center there on the left, you climb stairs up to the wall again and see the Merwede River continuing on the right.
Across the river is where you can see the church and windmill of our sister city, Woudrichem.
And also, in the distance, the Loevestein castle (all with my 300mm lens).

This is also the stretch where I see the most dogs running around.
I actually see them all along the citadel wall. What a great place for exercise!
It was on this walk when I first met Ernie and his beautiful dog, Laika.

And then you see her, De Hoop (The Hope) windmill from 1764.
Magnificent. Majestic. There for the world to see not far inland from the Merwede River.

You actually pass the Dalempoort first, before you pass the windmill, continuing the walk.
See the water tower behind in the top-left image? Everything is really that close.

One of Gorinchem's most famous scuptures sits there at the Dalempoort: the salmon fisher.
It's a reminder that years ago the Merwede was full of salmon. Sadly, no longer.

Often in the area of the Dalempoort and De hoop windmill there will be an art symposium.
Art displays come and go throughout the year. But other pieces around the citadel are permanent, as testament to a rich culture full of surprise and intrigue.

And there you have it!
I head back home into the city center, having seen a little bit of everything.
In the center image above, way back at the end of the road is De Lindeborg's back door.
Home Sweet Home after a nice walk to die for.

When YOU come to visit us, this is one of the first things we'll do: go for a walk! There are plenty of benches all along the loop. No hurry. No rush. We can take as long as you'd like.


  1. Wow...what an incredible tour. I feel like I've been there. Thanks Ginnie. - Marc
    (love the munchkins)

  2. That is a beautiful walk just full of so much! I absolutely love the Woudrichem collage with that house on the corner.

    And I spy a baby and strollers on walks (isn't that just perfect!)..

    Well I know Cammie and I would love to visit but it's so hard to do without P! For now we are visiting Cali for 3 wks instead.. :)

  3. this is your neck of the woods????


    you really don't have to travel :) with all these sights.

    so jealous. amsterdam is in my list of must see - how far are you from there?

  4. You really live in a picturesque town – so many beautiful sights. What a walk! I like the windmills, they are so majestic. I also would like a little studio in the water tower, with books on all the circular walls.
    I enjoyed the tour, thanks.

  5. Marc: Thank you, friend. I will pretend you HAVE been here to take the walk with me. You would love it. So much to see...and I never take it all for granted. I still pinch myself.

    ET: Thanks, Jen. You and Cammie (and P!) would totally love taking walks around the citadel. There is so much to see. And Cammie would have fun watching the other kids and the dogs passing by. :) One day....maybe. You never know about these things.

    PC: Yes, Maria, and thanks. This is my/our neck of the woods where we live. Amazing, isn't it! Amsterdam is an hour's drive north of us, not that far away. In fact, we're going there to pick up friends from Atlanta a month from now to stay with us for 5 days. They will be our first guests. :)

    Vagabonde: Thanks, friend. It IS a picturesque town, always with something going on. To have two windmills within easy walking distance is such a gift, as you can imagine. And a studio in the water tower...why didn't I think of that?!

  6. We walked so many times the Citadel Walk and we never get bored, each time there is something els we see.
    Right now the chestnuts on the huge trees are growing.
    Each season has its beauty and it is a delightful walk.
    Every once in a while I take a run all the way in the early morning, before breakfast, never never tired of the things I see.
    I think we are very fortunate that we live here.
    Gorinchem, a big enough city to have all things and small enough to 'know' everybody/everything.
    You did a great job of putting together 1,5 year of photohunting into a nice overview: 'This is Gorinchem's Citadel Tour' you are welcome into OUR city........

  7. Astrid: How many times have I told you that this is the perfect city for us! We have had photo hunts in many cities all over The Netherlands, but I still am thankful that THIS is where we live. Because of where we live, everything is at our fingertips. All the activities, festivals, and old-city architecture are here within the citadel. I feel so lucky and blessed. Hartstikke bedankt, MLMAMV, for making a life with me here!

  8. Oh goodie.

    Just the water alone is a wonderful neighbor. Seeing the skaters, with hands behind their backs, just like HCA just sends me.

    So much of the walk is like a park. Or a museum of architecture and sculpture. And culture, history. Really so beautiful! Where you live! Just amazing.

  9. Ruth: Yes, Sweetie, and thanks. The water alone is enough. And the architecture. Nature. Sculptures. History. All of it. I often look at it through YOUR eyes. :)

  10. If I lived in your neighbourhood, I would be out walking every single day! I would only go home to sleep! When can I come to visit???????

  11. Sham: HAHAHA! Not only you but your two precious grandboys! I can see y'all now, walking around the citadel and having a ball. The boys would be in heaven. You tell me when you can come and we'll welcome you gladly. It'd be a switch to meet a blogger here instead of there. :)

  12. Oh my... what riches you have for your fine photographic eye... right in your own neighborhood. After being away for 2-1/2 weeks and finding myself in overwhelm with all the "things" requiring my attention on my return, I've been giving serious thought to SERIOUSLY simplifying my life so that I can enjoy travel more and not feel so burdened with all the "things" that get in the way of my enjoyment of life in general!

    Enough about that... if I had such rich fodder for my camera lens as you do in your own little neighborhood, I might NEVER want to travel. Thank you so much for sharing what is so near your home... I love seeing your city through your eyes (and through your lens) and can now picture you and Astrid more easily when I think of you.

    Briefly... a few (not all) of my favorite collages from this image are the munchkins by Erik Buijs, the windmills (also a favorite feature of the Dutch landscape for me), the harbor views (especially the inner harbor), and the outdoor sculpture collage with Astrid giving a sense of scale to some of them!

    I'm sorry the rain canceled your weekend plans but definitely am not sorry for having the chance to see your neighborhood in such marvelous detail! :-)

  13. ...I so want to linger over these posts ... and MI below! I will linger while I am lounging in MI by the lake under the shade tree - so can't wait! I am busy packing and organizing ( I HATE coming home to clutter & a mess ... my car is full of bags for Salvation Army... when I de-clutter, I meant it) The horse we were going to buy may not work out... some feet issues. UGH. But we are still searching, no hurry. Your photography is stunning... I'll be back! :) Hey, I even looked at a Friesian horse/ Fell pony mix. Originated in the Netherlands... such beauty! I will post photos of her on my horse blog in a few weeks...

  14. Victoria: Thank you, Friend. I know what you mean about simplifying life. I did that big time when I down-graded and moved here to The Netherlands. Now I have time to travel, even if just short distance, and see the things I want. It's heaven!

    I'm glad you can now picture where we live and how full it is of everything you'd ever want to see. I feel so fortunate! It's fun to see what you especially like about our city...some of the same things I do.

    It's not as rainy this week, so maybe we'll head out on Saturday for Apeldoorn, where we intended to go last weekend. I look forward to that.

    Margaret: So now it's YOUR turn to be in MI. Good for you. I know that's a favorite stomping ground for you! Enjoy your preparation as well as your time away. So sorry your horse might not work out...but I know there are plenty of others to find, so I wish you much success. Wouldn't that be something if you ended up with one originating from The Netherlands!

  15. Once again an impressive post. Very interesting to see your environment all seasons...
    Just know we are visiting Jen and P and sweet little Cameron.
    We will go for a walk....

    miss you and Astrid

  16. You know i do not normally say this, Ginnie, because I love your many photos and all the work you put into the mosaics/collages you create, but some of those images deserve to stand alone. For example, it saddens me to see the archway with the trees merely as a small square among other related, but (mostly) not as outstanding, photos. That one has not received justice in this post. I am also struck by the image above it of the little boy on the bike. Both really stand out to me, even though they are tiny and buried within a collage. This is not intended as a bad comment, though. Think of it more as saying I wish you would not hide your light under a bushel. Collages really work well for your collections (like weather vanes), but some of your photos really ought to stand alone and receive the attention they deserve.

  17. Tor: Thanks for stopping by midst your very busy summer, Brother. I love that you are now with Jen, P, and Cammie. Have a blast!

    Karen: I do read your comment as a compliment, Lady, and thank you for it. Some of those stand-alone images are ones I do highlight on my Shutterchance blog, so in that case, we're both on the same page. That's how I often feel about some of YOUR images when I see them! Thanks again for your vote of confidence.

  18. your photos are special and extraordinary !!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Elettra: Thank you for stopping by and commenting here. That means a lot to me!

  20. Beautiful pictures! Thanks for the tour!

  21. I was there two years ago and i was impressed. Unfortunately i had no time to visit around it very well because i was there for only two days, but i hope to visit it again very soon. I recommend this place, it is very nice.

  22. FN: How very kind of you to stop by and leave a comment. Grazie.