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Bergen op Zoom - a hidden back door

I went over to Keukenhof a couple of weeks ago to see the pretty flowers - successfully - and stayed on the way in Bergen op Zoom.

Bergen is a town that I had seen on the motorway as I drove past but I had never stopped. It is north of Antwerpen on the way to Rotterdam and easy to get to by the tunnel above Gent and Bruges if you are going that way.

I bet you'd never stopped either.

But it is worth a stop for sure. It has an old centre, very walkable, with plenty of restaurants and plenty of scenic views, big enough to have what you want and small enough to allow you to easily stroll around and see the whole thing.

On the road from the station into the centre, opposite a very nice ice cream shop, is a very small open park or green space with some tables where people eating their ice cream or other nosh can sit and enjoy. In the green space are 4 or 5 large metal art works, close to the ground, of stylized cut out maps of Bergen op Zoom as it was at different times in its history. Initially it looks like just sculpture until you look more closely.

This is not a place to make a special pilgrimage to but a very nice place, very very clean, with a great atmosphere and a fab place to take off stress and pressure. Some of the gardens are fun, and it is great fun to walk down the tiny windy cobbled lanes looking at the houses. We found one house with an interesting old plaque on it and I was just making out that it read "The Sugar Spin House" in Dutch and working out what that meant when the owner walked down the street and talked to us about it. It used to be a sweets shop and is right around the corner from a school. Sugar Spin is what the Dutch call candyfloss or cotton candy, and it used to be made there as well as other sweets.

We stayed at a small B&B called De Drie Scheepkens Bed & Breakfast which we found on booking dot com. It absolutely earns it's nearly perfect rating. The room is big - there are 3, we stayed in the "Executive Suite" with a large shower, great wifi, fab brekkie, and out the french doors from the room there is the roof garden shared by you and the China Suite next door. Wow. Great views over the rooftops, a fountain, and nice outdoor wicker seating. The room has a very high ceiling. BBC normal programs and several dozen more channels are on the TV. A coffee machine is on the desk which uses pods.

The gents who run the B&B are very helpful - perfect English - and very easy to work with.

Both a B&B and a town to which we shall return.