The next stop is at the other side of the river. A lane with enormous birch trees leads you to Kasteel Schaloen.
It dates back to the 13th century and is restyled in 1656. The other buildings on the site are used as a hotel. So looking for something different to stay in.......
Anita's Exclusives is a spectacular shop for puppets in general, but babydolls in particular. The amazing fine works of art sometimes actually do look like being alive and a visit to this shop is an absolute must when strawling thourgh the shopping streets of Valkenburg.
Valkenburg aan de Geul is a touristic hotspot in South Limburg, but also here one can be surprised by little things that still tell their tale. Small specific flowers that make clear that here is a different flora then in other parts of the Netherlands and also small statues in houses, that show historical believes and the peoples cultures based on that. Catholicism is still an important thing in Limburg, but the charming figures over doorways and in corners of houses is a wonderful thing that's easily overlooked. Try to reckognise which saints are in the image and sometimes it might say something about the profession that the person that lives here holds.
As Hans and I drove through the hilly countryside in South Limburg, we came across a sign that read KASTEEL SCHALOEN and decided to check it out. A tree-lined lane leads you to the fairytale-like Castle which dates back to the 13th century. It was actually a complex consisting of the castle, lovely gardens, a restaurant and accommodations. It looked pretty exclusive and probably expensive.
As you can imagine, this area attracts a lot of tourists. Besides the Drie Landen Punt ( 3 Land Point ) there is a Labyrinth and a Panorama Tower. From Valserberg, the highest hill in the Netherlands, one can admire the superb view of Aachen, just across the frontier.
This area is a lot different than the rest of Holland as it is hillier than the usually flat lands. It's probably the reason the Dutch like it here. In nearby Valkenburg, there is even some ski hills.
Like I said this is the resort area, so what do people with money like to do? The Thermae 2000 is not in Berg en Terblijt, but rather in Valkenburg. This region is so beautiful and peaceful, I’m not sure you need to go to a spa to relax. But if you have extra money to spend, why not pamper yourself. The spa has a wide range of facilities and activities including Turkish and Roman baths. If you really want to splurge you can stay on site at the Themaetel.
Situated on top of the Cauberg hill in south Limburg
From Valkenburg you might consider visiting the village of Wittem, with its abbey. This is the entrance to the abbey church of the Redemptorists, an order founded by Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787). The local saint at Wittem is Gerardus Majella.
Back in the 1970s or early 1980s - before I joined the University Library in Nijmegen - the University acquired the entire library of Wittem Abbey, something in excess of 100,000 books. These were subsequently hauled to Nijmegen during one long, hot summer - or so the story goes.
This small bridge marks the spot where the allied forces first crossed the Geul on their way to free Valkenburg and the rest of our country in september 1944. The 120th Rgt. of the 30th Infantry Division (Old Hickory) of the 19th Corps of the First US Army was the regiment that freed Valkenburg and therefor this bridge is called Old Hickory bridge. It is located next to kasteel Halder.
More about the liberation of Valkenburg can be found at the website mentioned below.
The Bronsdael Groeve, just walk further along the Geul in the direction of Meerssen, is a monument of the second world war.
In 1944 the Germans started to spread their industries over a wider area in Europe, amongst others in Valkenburg. In july 1944 the 1500 dutch people were forced to work in Valkenburg. Under codename Valerie15 work started to build a repair-station for BMW 801 aircraft-engines. In September it was ready. Full capacity was planned for october/november, but it never got that far, because this area was freed in september by the Americans. All that is left now is concrete, lots of concrete. Legend has it that this was a launching base for V2 boms, but that is probably just a legend.
As said in the previous tip there is also a herd of oxes (scottish highlanders) here. They do come across the water and sometimes block your way on the footpath.
This highlanders also are here to keep the grass short and make the reserve as natural as possible again.
In this picture you see some of the horses that roam the Ingendael nature reserve.
The horses are Polish Koniks, a small Polish horse, kind of wild pony. The koniks are good grazers. They keep the landscape open and a natural forest will evolve.
There is also a herd of oxes wich you can see in the next picture.
This three statues are made in 1739. The lord of the nearby Kasteel Schaloen had them built because the castle was haunted by the evil ghost Ruprecht.
The original statues were stolen in 1968 and in 1973 they were replaced by this concrete replicas made by Sjef Eymael.
It is september 2004 and when we walked along the Franse Molen we saw they started the restoration. Can't wait untill it is finished....
The firm Coppes from Houthem started the restoration of the “meule van Cassel” , or Franse Molen. The restoration was planned 10 years ago, but there were problems between the municipality, the owners and Monumentenzorg. The builder Coppes bought the mill 3 years ago and it looked like it was going to be restored. But a conflict with a neighbouring hotel about their right to have an emergency exit across the mill grounds stopped the process. They went to court and things were settled, in two years from now the mill should be restored. So come and see it for yourself in 2006.
A ruin, but this once was a proud watermill.
Built in 1804 by the frenchmen Bertrand Loisel. Hench the name French mill.
It was restored in 1861, and got a new wheel in 1876. It was used as a grainmill untill 1962. Today it is a ruin, with fences around it to prevent accidents.
Hopefully someone with money will renovate it and restore it to its old splendour soon, before it is no longer possible to save it.
address: Lindelaan 32
Kasteel Oost (East Castle) is just outside of Valkenburg along the oostweg.
It is built in the beginning of the 16th century. And was used as the house of the nobels in Valkenburg. Nowadays it is a partycentre and there are weddings held here. People live in the adjoining buildings.
Kasteel Oost is national monument and is built completely out of mergel , the stone that was mined from the caves.
There is a great footpath along the Geul after you passed the castle.