If I had a column in the Delft op Zondag

(Not the real)
Delft op Zondag


18 JUNE 2017

At the 'Nol

DELFT - The town is composed of small neighborhoods, each of which usually have a very noisy street party annually. Mine was last weekend so my partner and I went off to the Nol in 't Bosch hotel for a pauze / pause. It hardly changes visit to visit.

I do not drive in the Netherlands, not a car anyway. My partner does that. She prefers to drive and kindly makes no comment on my skills in that. My excuse is that I grew up in the US and all my driving habits are based on my time there. She drives without having to think about traffic and what people are likely to do. To this American, almost everything about driving here is odd, not expected, confusing. So, she drives and I admire the scenery. Of course, my motorcycle is in its own, separate category.


"Pleasant as Delft is, sometimes it is refreshing to get away if only for a few days. Our choice is the Nol in 't Bosch for that, a small hotel in the woods just outside Wageningen. It is a place to have dinner with friends or sit on the terrace, read a book and drink coffee. To be alone a while, you can wander off into the surrounding forest."

We spent the first evening with a couple who live in the US for now. My partner has been best-friends with them since childhood. They have a big pickup and a shiny Airstream trailer which they use to tour America. There are so many places in the US to see, so much variety: people, land and cities. That life is one of their dreams and they enjoy it enormously.

Our second evening was spent with two other couples, two of my partner's brothers and wives. One couple came on their bicycles to join us. It was a lazy time of good food and catching up on births, children, pending marriages and how things are with everyone. Our dog got the bones from a steak - happy dog. It was that kind of evening, one to be savored; as the Dutch say: gezellig / cozy.

The road inland from Delft is superhighway. Drivers are almost always polite, 'let you in' and easy about little things. It is a short way from the Randstad / Beach City to the Groene Hart / Green Heart of Holland.

Near a town that my partner is from is a small hotel. It is not flashy - it is old-world and kept that way - well in a woodland preserve. It was a 'pause' on the Utrecht road for coaches and served beer to thirsty travelers.

The story is the original owner was Arnold which is why it is called 'Nol in the Woods'. Today's version is as inviting as when Arnold ran it. The decor is paneled and horsey with field sport pictures on the walls.

One dines in style there: food is cooked only after ordering and the service is classically Dutch, by which I mean casual, friendly and with attention to the small details. This time, friends were in town and others live nearby.

Back in Delft, the world continues to lurch along, as it always has. Wars, tragedies, corruption still flourish. It is good that there are some places, like the 'Nol, where one can get away for a while, a place to pause.

G. Wiley / NLStrabo - © Copyright - All rights reserved - gwileynl@gmail.com
In memory of Herb Caen