Weekend getaway: Arcen and Velden

Last week was very stressful at work.  We were working overtime everyday to meet client’s demands so I was really looking forward to this weekend. My husband booked us a night’s stay at Landgoed Kortenbos in Meerlo, a small town in Limburg. When the Dutch go to Limburg it usually means communing with Mother Nature. Or a beer drinking binge. Limburg has several Dutch breweries including Hertog Jan and Brand.

The drive way of Landgoed Kortenbos was lined with cherry blossoms trees.  The buildings that you see behind are the hotel itself on the right and the house of the owner on the left. There was a barn in the middle. I think it was a boederij or farmhouse before, transformed into a lodging place.

The room was very spacious but I was disappointed with the beds. Twin beds, that mens a big gap in between while you were tossing and turning in your sleep. There is no space to cuddle otherwise you’ll fall in between the beds.

Before checking in, we stopped by the charming town of Arcen for lunch. My husband knew of a restaurant there that serves delicious beef steak, Alt Arce.  They have plenty of beef dishes, of course from the Limburgse farms. I had calf’s liver. Very delicious. Reminded me of Sundays in my hometown when my dad would buy cow’s liver from the butcher and then grill it for lunch.

We had this  peaceful view of the Maas River. Unfortunately it was raining and for about 15 minutes, it rained hail stones. Then it was sunny. A perfect day for the notorious Dutch winter – four seasons in one day.

After settling our things in the hotel, we went to the Maasduinen National Park. Finally real nature – trees grow and die naturally here unlike those in the city parks which were planted in a neat line  and cleaned by the municipality whenever a tree falls. Even people on a wheel chair can take a liesurely stroll here.

We walked here for about an hour, my husband taking landscape photos while I basked into the joy of hearing the birds sings and the cascading of a real river – not those canals which you can find all over the country.  I was thinking of my dear province Marinduque  and my family lived so close with nature. At the back of our house was a small brook where the neigbours would catch  mud fish every summer. For 17 years, I slept with the sounds of the crickets and night birds and woke up with the noise of the chicken, pigs and our dogs. Here in the first world, we have to pay and travel far to see nature. Sad.

We saw this hut in the middle of the forest. I think it’s a resting place for farmers because I thought I heard cows and sheep from a distant. But I wasn’t really sure. I was so engrossed with the greeneries even though some areas were still brown from last winter.

On the wooden chair it says “You sit good in the Limburgse landscape”. It means that you are on the right place in the Limburgse landscape.

We walked for 1.5 hours until the blue sky started turning grey – our signal to run for cover. My husband was carrying his new camera and there’s nothing worse than getting it wet in the rain. We got lost on our way back which was a nice thing because we discovered where the river runs. It was so peaceful.

We drove back to Meerlo for dinner. And for the first time in my 3-year stay in Holland, I saw a road lined with huge trees, like in Scotland. It was beautiful.

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