My Mini Break in Holten

by - 6:00 PM

Deadline, another deadline, linguistics test, literature test and a third deadline. That's what the last week of my first block in university looked like. By the end of that week, I was completely exhausted and in desperate need of a break. Lucky for me, my parents were on vacation in Holten, a small town in the east of the Netherlands. They invited me over, as I had Friday off. I immediately accepted that invitation. Even though it'd be just one day, a mini break sounded like a perfect plan.

Getting to Holten on Thursday was no easy feat though. It's easy to get there by car, but it's a different story when you depend on trains. I'd have to take one fast intercity train to Deventer, then a sprinter to Holten. And sprinters are, despite what their name suggests, incredibly slow.
When I arrived at Utrecht Central Station, my train to Deventer already had a delay of 15 minutes. I had to take an alternative route, which meant an additional super slow sprinter. When I finally arrived in Holten, the sun had long set and I couldn't see a thing. I couldn't keep my eyes open either, so within two hours after arriving at the cabin my parents had rented, I was fast asleep.

The next morning I woke up to 200 messages in a university group chat. I quickly scrolled through them, then turned the wifi off. I wanted to leave all the university stress behind that day.
After a simple breakfast, we checked out of the cabin and drove to the Sallandse Heuvelrug. We started walking from the parking lot near Natuurmuseum Holtenberg Diorama around 10am and returned a couple of hours later. I don't know exactly how long the route was of how long it took us, because as soon as I entered the forest, I lost all track of time.

Like many other, I love spending time outdoors when the leaves turn red and brown. My year doesn't feel complete if I don't go to a forest in October, as if I've skipped Fall altogether. I was very happy to stroll through heaps of leaves in the province of Overijssel, but this walk had more to offer than leaves and trees: after a few minutes of walking we arrived at the Holten Canadian War Cemetery. My parents and I paid the cemetery a visit to show our respect to those who gave their lives to free my country of the Nazi regime. I think it's wonderful that my country keeps these cemeteries in good condition so we can keep the memory of these brave men alive.

Visiting the cemetery was a humbling experience that made me appreciate that beautiful day even more. The oak trees were all shades of brown and red already. They contrasted with the bright green grass and evergreen conifers. Most of the trees were still on the green side of Fall though, as the temperatures in the Netherlands have been very high since May. I'd hoped to see more shades of yellow, orange and red, but the forest was stunning nonetheless.

As we walked, we saw much more than just conifers and oak trees. There were loads of wild mushrooms along our oath and tiny little birds flew up from fallen tree branches when they heard us coming. It was a bit chilly, but the sun was out, making it a perfect Fall day. At times I almost forgot I was in the Netherlands. Shortly after the halfway mark of our walk, we climbed a hill to a viewpoint that was 55 meters above sea level. Believe it or not, but 55 meters above sea level is quite a lot in the Netherlands. Looking out from the top of that hill, I couldn't see a single sign of civilization. I felt like I was in Germany, Luxemburg, anywhere but in my own country.

The viewpoint had a few benches and a little hut in which you could take shelter from a sudden rain shower (very likely to happen in this country), so we took a small break here. My dad found a little notebook in which visitors can write a little something about their experiences on the Sallandse Heuvelrug. My favorite entry was written by a little girl: "Fun! But a stick poked me..."

I was getting hungry as we left the viewpoint behind. I wasn't in a hurry to get back to the car though; I was enjoying the forest too much to rush through it. Everything was just so colorful. I picked a few leaves up to take home, so I could dry them and put them in my journal. Such a small little thing made me so happy to be in Holten that day. University seemed a million miles away.

Early in the afternoon, we returned to the car and drove back to Holten's town center. We had lunch at Nijkamp, a place my dad loves for its portion sizes and delicious dishes. My mom likes it as well, because they also sell products that are typical for the region. Personally, I mostly enjoyed Nijkamp's aesthetic and their amazing schnitzel (best one I've had in years). It is here that we ended our day and my mini break. I couldn't have wished for a better place to unwind this Fall.

x Envy

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2 Fellow Ramblers

  1. It sounds like a fantastic mini break, I love being out in nature, especially in Autumn. Even if it is cold haha. Your photos on this post are stunning.
    Also, that cost is AMAZING and so perfect.
    Cora |

    1. Sometimes I think the cold makes a walk in the forest even better. Adds so much to the atmosphere. And thank you! Honestly, I feel like I'm Sherlock Holmes when I'm wearing that coat.


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