written by Robert Turner - Tour Manager
I was so fired-up about the Liedjesmakers Festival that I forgot to post about the fantastic bed and breakfast that was our home for two nights. It was called de Opkamer and located a stone's throw from the cities car-less shopping area, and also walking distance from the Liedjesmakers festival site.
The building was built in 1903, in the shadow of a coffee factory that at that time had existed for 40 or so years. The factory building still stands today. The initial version of what would become de Opkamer had a store on the first floor in which herbs, coffee and other fun stuff from the Dutch Indies were sold. In 1919 the building was given a make-over which gave it its current look. It is a key part of the fabric of downtown Almelo.
Our hosts were Gijs Ligtenberg and Penny Hope. The house has been owned by the Ligtenberg family since 1985. Sadly, Gijs lost his Mother last February, and he and his girlfriend moved in shortly thereafter. They are incredibly warm hosts. Gijs and his sisters now own the property.
Penny even did my laundry - which was very kind, but a tad embarrassing. Thing is - when I travel I take some of my most ready-to-be-disposed-of things and wear them one of two last times and toss them while on the road. It lightens the load up for the ride home. They also didn´t have a dryer. It was sorta cringe-inducing to see my socks and underwear (some of each with tears in them) hanging amidst her laundry.
However, right by where the laundry was drying was a punching bag. So, the fiery and most certainly physically-fit Penny cheered me up by demonstrating her kick boxing skills. She beat the crap out of that bag, and what little embarrassment I had quickly dissipated into fear.
They are a fantastic couple. They brought breakfast to our room each day - ham, cheese, a kwa-sah, some other bread, fruit, eggs and juice....and they were very helpful with our inquiries about their city.
Media dorks should also be alerted that they also offered a ton of local and cable channels. We didn't have much time to watch, but I did briefly at one point watch and found myself fascinated by what I think was local Dutch baseball.
If you are traveling through The Netherlands, I strongly suggest you visit Almelo and when you do, stay at this killer bed and breakfast. But plan early, as they book well in advance. This place is not such a secret among European folk.