Reis naar Groningen

Figuratively breathtaking view and literally breathtaking wind.

Active weekends are a key to healthy lifestyle. Ha-ha. We are in the middle of our learning journey and one day we have free. On the agenda is trip to Groningen.

   Groningen is the main municipality as well as the capital city of the eponymous province in the Netherlands. With a population of 201,865 as of 2016, it is the largest city in the north of the Netherlands. Groningen is a university city. Although Groningen is not a very large city, it does have an important role as the main urban center of this part of the country, particularly in the fields of music and other arts, education, and business. The large number of students living in Groningen also contributes to a diverse cultural scene for a city of its size.

For me it is the first time so I was very curious. It was a chilly morning gradually turning into wet and cold afternoon. Lately Dutch weather is in its full bloom, not in the best sense. Wind chills to the bone. We are going out of the bus and heading to Sportcentrum Kardinge. And here it is – ice skating ring. For me it looks  unusual and very cool. First of all it’s huge, second of all there are rules! And I like rules. So let me first tell you why I hate ice skating. The “ring” I am used to is full of kids, crazy young man and clumsy chicks as me myself. I am not at all good at it. So, these things in my country are either outside in the cold on the main square, just a tiny piece of ice with borders. Or outside in even bigger cold on the river. Bumpy piece of ice that is cleaned for this purposes on the river and NO BORDERS.   And it is very chaotic. People there move chaotically like electrons in the atom. But here it is huuge, under the roof and  in the middle of it there is a football field. Everyone moves in the same direction and there is a special place for people that do it very well and came to train and for the rest who is just having fun.There is also a nice worm café for spectators. I was somewhere in the middle, meaning I didn’t go to the café but I wasn’t skating either. I was on a hunt for a good photos!

2 hours felt like 5 minutes. Some were falling, some played race and did other crazy things, some watched and in spite of the difference in activities we all fully enjoyed it.

Our next destination before 2 hours of free time was Martinitoren tower.

The Martinitoren is the highest church steeple in the city of Groningen and the bell tower of the Martinikerk. The tower is located at the north-eastern corner of the Grote Markt (Main Market Square). It contains a brick spiral staircase consisting of 260 steps, and the carillon within the tower contains 62 bells. The tower is considered one of the main tourist attractions of Groningen and offers a view over the city and surrounding area. The citizens of Groningen call their tower d’Olle Grieze, meaning the old grey one in the local dialect.

It looks like a high brick tube with vintage staircase where just one person at a time can come trough. Million steps later we are on the very top. Figuratively breathtaking view and literally breathtaking wind. That was our little workout. The only thing I could think of after the tower was –“I NEED to find some place worm”. So the first café 2 of my classmates and I found was the one we went to. It was cute as every Dutch café is.  Evening in the restaurant was awaiting, so we just ordered hot drinks. And there we were just sitting and chatting.

When the time came, we were at our way to Grand café De Bastille. Very nice restaurant. Kind of a romantic ambience, candles, dim light, good food. Our whole group was on the top floor. It was the first time I tried mustard soup “zaanse mosterd”. It is so hard to explain my mixed feelings about it. It tasted like hot mustard mixed with water. Doesn’t sound very appealing to me. But guess what?? It was not bad. But very very strange 😀

That was the end of the evening. We returned to Timmerholt.

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