Saturday, 9 June 2007

Sarah the Witch in Oudewater

This post covers our trip to Oudewater where we both underwent a trial by weight to see if we were witches!

Yesterday (Friday) was another sunny day although it was quite hazy. We set off in search of the bulbfields to see if we could see any tulips but alas, we were about 2 weeks too late. The bulbfields are all devoid of any colour now. Postcards were the nearest we got to seeing them!

We then headed to Oudewater, a town which became famous in the 16th century when witch-hunts were at their height. Thousands of men and women were accused of being witches and many were put to death. There were 3 ways to see if someone was a witch - trial by fire, trial by water (if you drowned you were innocent) and trial by weight. You were declared to be a witch if you were unduly light. Sarah is unduly light so I thought I'd better get her weighed...

Above: Sarah on a broomstick
Below: On the weighing scales

We drove to Oudewater through tiny cobbled streets. We got stuck behind a lorry delivering alcohol for 15 mintues then almost got hit by another van. We parked up and went in search of the Heksenswaag, witches' weigh house. Emperor Charles V declared that the weighing scales in Oudewater fair in the 16th century as the weighmasters were not open to bribery. A certificate from Oudewater was valid throughout the empire as a way to refute witchcraft charges.

Sarah stepped on the scales and was declared a witch! She was too light to be weighed as the minimum weight was 44kg. (I'm trying my best to fatten her up!) She then posed with a broomstick - if you're light as a feather it is reckoned you're more able to fly on one! I stepped on the scales and my weight was no risk at all to witchcraft. Surprise, surprise says Sarah!

We then drove to Gouda where again we drove around tiny streets looking for a parking place, very hot and very stressed! We gave up in the end and followed the motorway back to Delft and followed directions for a supermarket. You guessed it, we got stuck in tiny streets again! We came back to the campsite where I had to go buy some emergency Heinekens. After a couple of beers and a lightning storm, Sarah and I walked into town where we had the best meal out we've had in a long, long time. There was an Indonesian restaurant in the main square and the food was superb and reasonably priced.

Above: I still got accused of being involved in sorcery despite my weight...


Sue Yates said...

Hi Matt and Sarah

Looks like you are having a great time. I'm really enjoying following you around.

Take case


Sue (Yates in case you have lots of friends with the same name_)

x lil sis x said...

Double trouble, boil and bubble, watch out belgium here comes the withcraft couple!!!!

Now i am quite proud of that lil peom there....if you say couple the same way u say bubble, in a sort of cockney accent.....maybe not!!!

Oh btw if Dave reads this, i just want to say one thing.....i do no have a lisp!! Its just a silly voice i put on...accasionally!!