Witches and Wildlife

This past weekend, we checked out two places that we have been interested in – Oudewater and Biesbosch.

Oudewater is a very charming town; the highlight of which is the witch weighing house.  The house is currently a museum but it was originally a weigh house for all kinds of products.  Then during the 1500-1600s, it became a place to weigh suspected witches.  If the suspect was found to be of normal weight for a human of their stature, they received a certificate of clearance that they could then keep and use as clearance any time they were accused of witchcraft or sorcery.  The museum itself is fairly small, but they do provide some interesting information on witch persecution and the best part-they still have the weigh scale and they will weigh you and provide you with your clearance certificate (kids at least, not sure about adults).  Our youngest has been cleared, though I still have my doubts!

Aside from the museum, Oudewater has some lovely architecture and historic buildings.  Being that the area was small, it made for a nice stroll on a pleasant day.

Our other stop for the weekend was Biesbosch.  This is a nature reserve that is well known for its beaver population.  While we didn’t see any beavers, we did see many birds and waterfowl (they have sea eagles which look like bald eagles) and we learned a little about the history of the area and the harvesting and use of the willow cane that grows there.  We also saw a ton of those “soap” producing trees.  There are many hiking and biking trails at Biesbosch and many people take boats or canoes out on the water.

Though our weather has been struggling to stay dry, warm and sunny, it was a nice weekend for these excursions and as pleasant as they were, we would definitely go back.

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