Deventer, Every Reason to Head East


A piece of medieval history on the shores of the meandering Ijssel River, Deventer is recognized as one of the oldest towns in the Netherlands. Its ancient fairs drew merchants from throughout Europe. The fair theme still seems to continue as huge carnival structures are erected beside 500 year old cathedrals for a holiday weekend. We meander through small cobblestoned streets, some with boutique clothing and art, others with layers of cheeses, the pungent smells causing me to linger outside until beckoned in by the Cheesemaker for a taste of his wares.
I refrain from taking more photos of the pots of red and pink geraniums, climbing roses and other flowers which decorate the tables of restaurants who vie for business by showcasing artistically prepared table settings, tempting customers as they head for home.
Church spires dominate the skyline, bells ringing out every 15 minutes. A deep resonating sound, wonderful to hear. Directly across the river is a campervan park, (€15) large green spaces, peaceful (until the church bells ring) and super convenient. We set up camp and then catch the ferry (€1.50 return) back into town. The ferry-man seems suitably bored after a day of ferrying people back and forth on the five minute journey.
Deventer is not unique in it’s history and architecturally significant buildings, the riverside settlement of Elbert, rural Almon, and other Hanseatic villages make the extraordinary seem ordinary. The Lonely Planet guide to Western Europe dedicates one sentence to this beautiful place suggesting Deventer as a side trip. Personally, Deventer, along with most of the west side of Holland, has been a highlight.


Caption: Boats at rest, Elburg


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