"Gilze, Netherlands" Netherlands by Kentbein
Netherlands Travel Guide: 32,492 reviews and 86,811 photos
I had the GREAT opportunity to visit my dear VT friend, MATIM (Ilse) in Gilze one January weekend in 2003 while I was in Europe on a working assignment. It was one of the most interesting travels I've ever had, and Ilse and her family are my absolute favorite family in all of Europe. I can't thank them enough for their kindness and friendship!!! They were the best part of this entire trip.
Gilze is in the southernmost part of the Netherlands and is a fabulous little town. Ilse calls it a village, but it was lots larger than any village I know, and seemed to stretch in all directions at once while I was there. One word of recommendation though. Be CERTAIN to take your own cell phone when going there, as there is one and only one public phone available, and not one of the townspeople know where that phone is....at least when you ask them in my horrible, broken, grammatically incorrect German (I do not know the Dutch language. My apologies to you Netherland.)
Once you finally know where that phone is, finding it is no problem. It is indeed right there, big, bold and beckoning. Without knowing where you can find that phone however, and having only a US cell phone that doesn't work in Europe, you're in big trouble. It's especially problematic if you've just flown across the Atlantic Ocean all night, wadded through German Customs, finally gotten your rental car, have driven three and a half hours from Frankfurt on the autobahn, and are a little bleary eyed and not quite yourself searching the freezing Netherlands' weather for that one, single, public telephone in all of Gilze.
After searching all over the town and offending the good Dutch townspeople by asking them in my horrible German where I can find a phone, someone finally pointed me towards the town square where proudly, boldly there stands a bright green public telephone booth. I gratefully walked up to that booth, poked my head inside, and discovered that pocket change, even bright, shinny, attractive, brand new Euro dollar pocket change, has absolutley no effect on the Gilze telephone booth. The booth requires,... no demands, ...that the hapless user have, assumedly through osmossis, foreknowledge of the European custom of "telephone cards". Coins are scoffed upon by this telephone booth. Cards rule in this new kingdom.
I was, unfortunately at that time, without this knowledge of the card. However, thanks to a kind Nigerian refugee who led me through the phone card drill, I was able to ring wonderful Ilse and announce that finally after hard won battles with airport security, six sleepless hours of United Airlines flight 917, rental car acquisition, autobahns, and searching for a Gilze telephone booth, I was physically occupying a small fraction of Gilze's town center with a working telephone in my hand. It was wonderful to hear a beautiful, familiar voice telling me that she would be at my magical telephone booth in three minutes.
Ilse was there in fact, in two, and it was great to finally see her. Ilse and I have been VT friends since 2000, trading child rearing stories, discussing the few cultural differences (but mostly similarities) between the USA and the Netherlands, and wondering if we'd ever actually meet. There on a cold, dimly lit Saturday, on a frozen town square, we answered that question and were in fact, seeing each other. I'm sure it was a terrible shock to see me in person, but Ilse is a wonderful lady and did not recoil in horror at the sight of my standing in her town square.In fact, she was gracious, delightful, kind and good to me, and even had some hot tea and brownies waiting at her home.
Life is good in Gilze, Netherlands. It was a wonderful start to an all too short stay in one of my favorite European towns.
My favorite family in all of Europe, Marcel, Tim, Ilse and Maaike.
- Pros:It's a wonderful country
- Cons:Can't find any cons. It's a great place.
- In a nutshell:Wonderful. I love the Netherlands.
Ilse and Tim, February 2004. It snowed! more travel advice
My favorite place to be in all of Europe is in Ilse's kitchen!!! more travel advice
Kentbein's Related Pages
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