Groningen: A Small City with a Big Heart

It’s been a couple of days since I got back from my lovely trip, and I still can’t believe how amazing it was. It was one of those times when you don’t realize how much you need something until you are knee deep into it. I hadn’t had a proper, completely disconnected, simple holiday in a while, and I didn’t know all the good it’d do me, plus it was so much fun!
From the moment I left my room, I knew it would be totally worth it. My friend A is a lovely girl I met while on my year abroad. We were both taking this New Media Art course and we got grouped together while on a field trip to Berlin’s Transmediale festival. We spent the week exploring Berlin, visiting Art shows and eating great food, no better way to start a friendship, that I hope will last for a long long time!

A few months ago she visited me in Scotland, so it was my turn to visit her now. I packed my stuff and headed to the night bus, which I shared with a few Dutch families traveling back home, and so the trip began. We arrived in The Netherlands at about 2AM and there she was to pick me up. We headed to her place and went to sleep. The next day would be tiring! We were going wandering to a natural park south of Groningen called Nationaal Park Dwingelderveld.
The plan was to do a 6Km route, but instead we just mixed trails and ended up walking over 8Km. During that time we took photos, admired the beauty of the place and just simply enjoyed the nature. It’s definitely worth a visit. It’s also really nice for cycling and there are campsite grounds close by. 

Electrical fence for the cows powered by solar energy!
After our wonderful day in the sun, we returned home to some take out food and relax time, followed by a visit to the bar where they recommended I tried Dutch White Beer (Witbier), which I did of course, new place new things, but I decided it is not for me.
The funny looking glass has it’s purpose, as one of the guys we were with explained to me. Apparently back in the day when people traveled by carriage (with horses and all!) if they wanted to drink they could never put their glass down. So a brilliant mind came up with the idea of this shape and the hook thing so they could just “hang” their glasses outside the carriage! Isn’t that genious!?
Anyhow, after a relaxing evening we headed home, and nighty nighty for another big day!
On Monday morning we got up and went shopping for a few things we (specially me) would be needing during the day, we were going FLATMUD HIKING!! in the Wadden Sea. It is a very German/Dutch/Danish thing to do (although they call it in Dutch: Wadlopen, and in German: Wattwandern). We did it with a Dutch company called Dijkstra wadlooptochten located in Pieterburen (Groningen), and it costs about 12€ for a 3 hours long hike (about 8Km). The guides for the most part speak Dutch, but they also have the option of English speaking guides.
All you can see, is the North Sea. When the tide is low it is so low you can walk Kms and Kms into the Ocean!
Ready, Steady, GO!
Top and Bikini from H&M
The first rule of Flat Mud Hiking is: Don’t try to keep clean, you won’t!
We found that to be true within the first 2 minutes of our walk.

Knee deep in mud, like in Spa’s but for free 🙂 Soft soft legs afterwards.

Some people in our group decided to taste this raw Japanese oyster.

It looked so amazing out there

And after a swim in the North Sea we were fairly clean, only to head back into the mud of course!

And at the end, this was waiting for us!

We completed an 8+ Kms hike through mud, and water and Japanese oysters, and baby fish, and crabs and more mud, under the sun with sea breeze. Totally worth it! And when we reached the end, our guide informed us that because of the conditions of the ground out 8Kms walk, was the equivalent of 21+ Kms in normal ground, no wonder we were so exhausted! 
After such a tough day, we rewarded ourselves with some amazing, home-made pizzas at the local pizzeria, it was only fair! 🙂

It tasted oh! so good after all that walking 🙂

 When we got back into town we decided to take another relaxing evening. We went to the cinema and watched The Wolverine.

My last day there we decided we needed to take it easier so we just went to the city and wandered around for hours. 
First, we went to Het Nederlands Stripmuseum, a beautifully cozy Comic Book museum which brought me back down memory lane. 

Of course, I had to be silly (Sorry for the image quality :/)
Dress, bag & cardigan from H&M
Sandals from Primark (Some cheap go to sandals for lots of walking that i don’t mind throwing away)

We sat at the main square, wonderful place to observe people. It was also market day so it was quite busy (even tho it doesn’t show in the pic below as everyone was sitting down, eating). 

There we joined the crowd and ate some amazing giant Dutch waffles (they are two delicious thin layers of thin waffle with a center of caramel syrup, warm and amazing). I was so eager to get started that I totally forgot to take a picture, so to give you an idea of how they look …
I found this image in
Straight after devouring our glorious waffles, we headed to Martinitoren, which is an iconic building in the city of Groningen. We climbed up the 311 steps up to the highest (climbable) point and admired the views.

And on our way down, we tried to “ring the bells”…and we flew!

It’s a lot harder than it seems, and hurts your hands if you don’t know how to do it properly. But it was fun to try 🙂
Later on, on our way home for dinner, we stopped at this little bakery where they had this little cookie monster oreo cupcakes!

After diner, we headed to one of their friends for a night of strategy board games, which was the perfect ending to the perfect short vacation.
The next morning I took my bus back to Bremen, and back to reality. Which isn’t that bad, is it??

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