soaking up the Christmas atmosphere at the Charles Dickens Festival
17.12.2017 - 17.12.2017
Deventer is a seemingly normal city in the Netherlands, but once a year for one weekend long it is transformed into something special. During the winter months the Lower Countries such as Belgium and also The Netherlands, are under the spell of that one phenomenon we simply call “Christmas”.
I must admit that I guess this is a “global” problem once the month December has arrived, but the inhabitants of Deventer make sure this period in time is even more special and that it doesn’t go bye unnoticed!
Once a year, the weekend before Christmas, the city or to be more precise a few streets in the centre of the city are transformed into the era of the 19th Century and people get a glimpse of the magical world of the writer Charles Dickens! Ever since I was a child I was hooked on his stories of Oliver Twist and even growing up, The Pickwick Papers were interesting as well, but the story I liked the most was “ A Christmas Carol” and I guess till this day this is one of my favourite books coz after all … don’t we all know an Ebenezer Scrooge who in the end isn’t all that bad, or even a tiny Tim in this case!
A few years back, working in a bus company, I started getting familiar with this event but because most of the time I was on holiday, there was never a chance to visit it … that is till now!
Me and my best friend Tania couldn’t go on a long trip because of work and as soon as I got back at the end of November I started looking for a trip to Deventer.
Looking for various booking sites I soon figured out that spending a night into the city was out of the question, so instead I wanted to drive by car for just one day. When the day came closer and closer, I heard left and right from a few drivers in our company that even finding parking space was near to impossible, just thinking that they were pulling my leg, I called the tourist office in Deventer myself and they advised me the cheapest and easiest way was to go on a day trip with a coach company … yeah right!
I immediately thought they had some kind of joint profit going on but since my mum was joining me, she thought that this was maybe the best option … after all, spending some time on the Christmas market it was also possible to drink some hot mulled wine (which I love!) and I didn’t had to drive the long way back late in the evening.
In search for some tour companies coz we don’t do that kind of stuff in our own office, I soon found one close to my hometown for the ridiculous fare of 20 euro per person. Yep, that was indeed a good price coz I guess parking fees are rocketing sky high on such days and I immediately bought myself 2 tickets while counting the days.
When the day arrived, it was early in the morning and I soon figured out that the 2 of us were not alone, together with about 60 other persons we drove off to our neighboring country only to arrive in Deventer at 9 o’clock in the morning and boy, were we lucky to be so early.
Although there was already a waiting line to enter the streets, after half an hour of waiting we could enjoy the Christmas spirit ourselves and really, if you like this time of the year, than you should really visit it once in your lifetime. It was so fun to see all the people in the town get dressed up in those old cloths interacting with the people (read tourists) and there was also the opportunity to see a little of the city, try some delicious food of the region and also get into the vibe of Charles Dickens.
After seeing about a dozen Olivers and tiny Tims all looking so adorable, we still got a smile on our face and before we knew it, it was already time to go home again. Mind you, maybe that was not such a bad thing coz the hot mulled wine was getting to me … lucky it was a cold day, so I had a good enough excuse to drink it.
By the time it was 8 PM we returned back to our meeting place only to find a gigantic mayhem. During the day it got busier and busier, there was no doubt about that, but when thousands of people want to go home at the same time, that is just looking for disaster.
When we finally caught up with our driver and the rest of the group was counted for, it was almost 9 PM … driving home was not such a bad thing, but when the both of us were finally home it was already way after 11 PM. I must admit that I had a more than fun time in the city and I loved every minute of it, but yep, there was chaos as well … I guess popularity also has it’s disadvantages, but really … the people of Deventer will always have a special place in my heart!
Merry Christmas everyone!!!!