When I thought about what I wanted to do to extend my trip a little (because it seems silly to fly all the way to Europe and not do a bit of extra traveling), I decided that rather than focus on museums and castles and whatnot, I wanted to spend the time visiting people--especially people that I've known for quite some time and had never met in person. I met Irina way back during Usenet days on rec.arts.sf.composition, so that would be about 20 years ago or so. She's been a beta reader for a number of my stories and books, but up until last week we'd never been in the same time and place. So she was on the short-list of people I wanted to visit and here I am in Deventer, Netherlands.
Mind you, if I'd known that I'd get to stay in a building with a 12th century basement, I'd have been even more certain I wanted to visit! The picture above is the view from my (4th floor) bedroom. The basement and ground floor belong to the Russian Orthodox church that Irina belongs to, and she and her husband own the upper stories. The upper parts of the house are mostly 18-19th century with a few bits of older wall, but here's what the basement looks like:
Other than relaxing and chatting, I'm gotten to spend a lot of time wandering around with a personal tour of many of the older parts of the town. Deventer is a great example of integrating older buildings and newer construction into modern commercial and residential functions. Much of the older part of town has cobbled streets and restricted automobile access (though many bicycles!) so it has a slight feel of an extended pedestrian mall. Here's a random example--just an ordinary neighborhood.
I've been taking lots of notes and pictures relevant to early 19th century vernacular architecture and town layout. (I wonder why?) There will be more pictures and descriptions on facebook. And now, I'm going to go shopping for cheese...