A Tale of Two Cities: Finding Deventer

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…”

– A Tale of Two Cities

If ever my travels have brought me to a strange and magical city – this was it. One fine evening, on our wanderings throughout The Netherlands, the girls and I stumbled across a little town unknown to us. The town of Deventer. Located on the Salland region of the Dutch province Overijssel, this little town holds years of history hidden within its cobblestone streets. Now this was one of our usual random travelling days. We had grabbed travel guides, umbrellas and our sleepy selves and headed off into the unknown.


That’s the thing about beautiful Europe – you can just get onto a train and let it take you somewhere, even if you don’t know where exactly you’re going.


This time our aimless wanderings had brought us a little magic on our last stop before bedtime. Tired and freezing, we wandered along the dark cobblestone streets of Deventer.


We walked through quiet alleyways and alongside dimly lit little shops. We peered through glass windows and wandered down streets with dangling fairy lights.


Around deserted churches, quiet and alone, it was as if the city was fast asleep.



Quietly and quickly, we made our way around the city, barely managing the mind numbing cold.


It was then and there that something magical happened.


We stumbled onto a little street with scenes from a famous Charles Dickens novel painted on the walls.


With the darkness all around us, we had stepped right into a scene of Christmas past, present and future.


It was on this late and blisteringly cold night that we had first heard of the Dickens Festival being held on December 18th. What could this be? A festival with beautiful Dickens books on sale? Perhaps a day when movies are shown? Maybe even a play or two? Of course, we had no idea what to expect but we certainly could not pass up something as mysterious as this. We knew we would be back.

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I'm Shalinee - a Geminian scientist who loves to travel, write, draw and eat chocolate. I've visited over twenty countries, published a Environmental Science encyclopaedia and somewhere along the way started a science communication company to help students and corporates translate that hard-to-read data generated in a lab. Other than that, I'm just searching for the magic still hidden in the world.

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