I wandered the town square, enjoying the bustle of a little flea market and admiring the city’s magnificent town hall. It was raining but I had waterproof gear and was content, if hungry. A restaurant on the square had a table where I could eat and watch the town’s activities.
Sated, I walked the few blocks to the complex—dating back to the 12th century. There were two places of worship now connected by what we would call a social hall (where coffee could be served).
The lovely interiors included the oldest altar piece in the Netherlands.
Eventually, I opened a heavy wood door to enter a corridor enclosing a garden of hedges and other plants. To the left, a barrier prohibited entry into part of the cloister. To the right, interesting sounds echoed off the ancient stone walls.
I walked around the corner to discover a group of high school aged kids practicing movement and song. After a while, they were still and silent as a slim young woman began singing “We’ll Meet Again” in crystalline soprano.
It was magic.Noting my interest, an adult leader explained that they were practicing for a World War II memorial event to be held in Middelburg in a few days. I was invited but my tour would have moved on by then.
I have no regrets. The poignant song resonating through so many layers of history is permanently lodged in my heart.