Nijmegen, Kleve and Schloss Moyland

What better to do on a sunny Sunday than catch a train out of the city and head off into the Dutch countryside. Typically it didn’t go one hundred per cent to plan as our first train showed up ten minutes late but after some rethinking we managed to shift our day trip around and we were soon travelling off over the border into the ‘unknown’, otherwise known as the Netherlands.

Once at Venlo, already in Holland, we had only four minutes until our next train left. The changeover was slightly rushed but we made it and just two hours after leaving Dusseldorf we pulled into Nijmegen and were ready to explore. Nijmegen is considered to be the oldest city in the Netherlands and also boasts yet more roman ruins. It came as a slight surprise, I must admit, to find more carnival celebrations waiting for us, but my friend Gemma and I managed to successfully negotiate our way past the floats and costumed locals and soon enough found ourselves in the picturesque Grote Markt. This is the town’s main and oldest square which boasts, the typical Dutch architecture: narrow buildings with gabled roofs, coloured wooden shutters and interesting tops.
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From this pretty little square we headed right, down Burchtstraat passing the Stadthuis (town hall).
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Being Sunday, it was nice to see the shops open as in Germany shops and supermarkets are closed on Sundays. However, this was no shopping trip and though the shops were tempting, especially the department store V&D (my initials) we restrained ourselves and remained focussed on our sightseeing plan.
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At the end of this street we ended up by the Valkhof, historically one of the most important sites in the Netherlands. No one is quite sure where the Park’s name originated from – it is thought to have acquired the name Valkhof  as this location used to house the court falcons, but it could also be a version of Waalhof (due to it’s proximity to the river Waal)..
Several historic figures including Emperor Barbarossa, the Vikings and Charlemagne had strongholds in this, now pretty park. Not much evidence of these times is left, apart from a little chapel and an ecclesiastical religious looking ruin (called the Barbarossa ruin).
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 The park also provided a great view down onto the river Waal with the huge Waalbrug crossing over the river. This bridge played an important role at the end of WW2 during the battle of Arnhem (A Bridge too far).
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Just by the park we also came across this interesting building, nowadays a restaurant..
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Our last stop in Nijmegen, was the impressive Stevenskerk. We didn’t have much time before our bus but managed to have a quick walk round inside..
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Once finished admiring the interior of this magnificent and imposing looking church, we rushed our way back in the direction of the station passing another large area of greenery as we went, with yet another grand and rather strange looking turret. Perhaps previously part of the town walls?
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Back at Nijmegen Centraal we made our connecting bus to Kleve (back in Germany). This bus (SB58 direction Emmerich) took us through residential and rural area, which in themselves were really interesting. The journey was not long and we soon arrived at the incredibly quiet Kleve Hbf.
We had an hour to waste before the next leg of our journey, but with practically nothing in sight around the Hbf we went for an explore. Little bit of info about Kleve – it’s where Henry VIII’s fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, originated from. The town itself doesn’t have too much to offer, there are the Historical Gardens, which we drove past on the bus coming into the town and also Schloss Schwanenburg. Unfortunately with limited time we didn’t manage a visit. After a refreshment stop in Cafe Wanders we were on the move again and caught another Bus (44 direction Xanten – a famous Roman centre in Germany) back into the countryside in search of the opulent looking Schloss Moyland, one of the area’s picturesque Wasserschlösser (water castles).
The trip took only fifteen minutes and with only forty minutes until the Schloss was due to close, we ran to the ticket office, where the kind ladies gave us a reduced entrance fee of 1,50 euros. The Schloss itself is incredibly beautiful, a square shaped building with intricate towers and a turret, set in the centre of a lake with peaceful gardens surrounding it.
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Inside the Schloss, we were a little disappointed as it was completely modernised and offered a rather sparce art gallery. Being pushed for time, we skipped the art and headed up in the direction of the viewing tower. Once we had made it up the tower to the viewing platform, we were greeted with these beautiful views.. Definitely worth it!
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Once we had finished inside the castle, we had a little time left to venture into the gardens.
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The castle closed at 5pm, which meant we had half an hour before the bus, which would take us back to Kleve, ready for the forward train onto Dusseldorf. The rest of the journey was quite slow which meant a lot of waiting around but we safely arrived back in the city at gone 8pm. It is safe to say we were both pleased to get back to my flat, able to put our feet up and have something nice to eat.