Sometimes you think that the grass is greener on the other side. You look for something beautiful too far. We tend to do this as well while travelling. I encountered a gem at a city nearby the place I live: Breda. I have only been in this city once and it was eight years ago. What intended to be a few hours of chit-chatting with fellow blogger Ruby from rubybackpacking, ended up to be a half day of wandering.
I learned several new facts in Breda. Did you know that Breda is an important city for the history of the Dutch Royal Family? I did not and I suppose to be the so called historian? Shame on me! The city is situated in the middle of the North Brabant province, about 60 km west of Eindhoven or 50 km southwest of ‘s Hertogenbosch. The icon of the city is the Grote Kerk, one of the last remaining gothic churches in the Netherlands. Eventhough the city has its fame from the long history of the Dutch royal family here, Breda is not only about the aristocrats. It is about Dutch charms and elegance but on the same time modern and cozy.
A little history of Breda
Visiting Breda would not be complete without visiting the Grote Kerk or Onze Lieve Vrouw Kerk. The entry is free. You may give one or two Euros for charity and it opens daily up to 16:00. On weekends you can climb up the tower and see the bird view of Breda. Unfortunately I was there on a Tuesday so I could not do that. It is said that the church is one of the most beautiful Gothic churches in the Netherlands. At the moment there is an exposition about six centuries history of the Nassau Family in Breda. It is quite nice to go inside for a while, mostly because I am always intrigued with everything that has got to do with history. Partly it was because I was looking for a quiet place to ease my mind.
While slowly walking about the church I saw the replica of “De Tuin der Lusten” or The Garden of Earthly Delights from Jheronimus Bosch. Ok, this is probably getting pretty boring, right? But think about it, this painting was made in the late 15th century, yet it is so detailed. I have seen and learned about this painting when I was studying and never thought to see a replica of it so close. Don’t worry I would not bother you with some art history lessons in this blog. Ok, let’s explore more!
This city remains me about the old cities in Belgium, a little bit of Ghent and a dash of Leuven. If you like to see trails of the Nassau family everywhere around the city then you will love to wander the small streets around the Havermarkt, Veemarktstraat, Catharinastraat and Grote Markt. Do not worry as it would not be so boring at all. You can also have your retail therapy there and take a rest while sipping coffee at one of the hundreds lovely restaurants and cafes.
Coffee and Bakso in Breda
The reason I went to Breda this time was to meet up with Ruby. We met at Koffie bij Teun, a small cozy coffee bar, where you can enjoy delicious cup of coffee or cappuccino, have some work done on your laptop, have a delicious brunch or lunch or just have a good time. This place has won the price as the Best Coffee Bar in Brabant. I must say that the coffee was very good. As a coffee lover I do really appreciate when someone serves me a very good quality coffee. So this is no nonsense or some marketing tricks. It is utterly an honest compliment from a fellow coffee fanatic.
Having met Ruby I went on strolling around the city centre. As an Indonesian, I somehow always search that smell and taste of home wherever I go. So in Breda I searched for Indonesian food. I have heard about a small cafeteria which serves Indonesian street food such as Bakso en Siomay. The location of cafeteria Sate Djago is just outside of the centre, but you can just walk there. I ordered Siomay, Ayam Goreng Kremes and Nasi Rendang. The food was quite good and reminds me of home. The peanut sauce of the siomay can be spicier if you ask my opinion. I would like to taste the red peppers even more.
All in all on a scale of one to ten I would give Breda an eight for a daytrip while you are in the Netherlands.