Trip to Europe Day 7 – Asten and meeting family on Sinterklaasavond

Trip to Europe Day 7 – Asten and meeting family on Sinterklaasavond

We went for a morning stroll around the vegetable growing area between Asten and Heusden. It had been frosty overnight, and the temperature was only 1’C – but perfect for a walk.

Because of the climate, a lot of the fruits and vegetables are grown in greenhouses. They grow produce including tomatoes, strawberries and paprika (capsicum).

Also on our walk we saw the castle ruins. The Huys tot Asten first appeared in documentation around 1399. It started as a manor-house and soon developed into a true castle. The building underwent several renovations over the centuries, but was firebombed by the Germans in 1944.

We headed back to Ria’s via the bakkerij for some lunch supplies. There was a good selection of Sinterklaas specials.

All up it was a 5km walk, so we had earned a good lunch. Ria made us some hot chocolate on the stove, and we had some sandwiches for lunch.

In the afternoon we had some rest time, in preparation for going out in the evening. Ria had organised for us to visit with the van de Mortel family who live nearby.

We had a light dinner at Ria’s of soup and pasta, and passed some time, until we were due to go visiting at 8.30pm.

The family we were visiting are first cousins of my mother. Our hosts Frans and Wilma were beautiful hosts. Around the table, there were also other cousins of mums (Frans’ brothers and sisters), as well as Frans and Wilma’s sons Stan and Thijs.

We started the night off with some vlaai – they were all impressed that I knew that word! It’s like a fruit pie.

As the evening went on, they brought out more finger food – meats, cheese, melba toast, spreads, and some hot food including bitterballen. Lekker! We departed at about midnight! Quite a late night for me – I was glad for the rest I had in the afternoon!

Sara Napier

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