zephyr illusions photo by donna October 1992. The view atop Chasseral, Jura Mountains looking across Switzerland to The Alps on the horizon. Fog, intensely thick, rising from Lac Bienne and stretching its fingers high onto the Lignières-Plateau de Diesse after wholly filling the valley below the plateau.

Monday, September 19, 2005

European Adventure 2005 Day 12

Slept in late this morning and it felt great. not only is this hotel room charming, it's really quiet (combination of the thick stone walls and facing the inner courtyard garden, i suppose) and the bed and pillow are sooooo comfortable.

after struggling and failing to be able to push the massive and heavy window open for the fresh morning air (lol, that freaking thing is REALLY heavy!), i showered and made my way downstairs to the sunroom cafe that is directly under my room and looks out to the courtyard garden for a late breakfast... what a beautiful room to enjoy waking up with a pot of coffee and an excellent breakfast buffet. besides a wide choice of cheeses, meats, breads, cold cereals, fruits, juices, milk, hard-cooked eggs and sweets, there is also a choice of hot breakfast foods... scrambled eggs, bacon, some kind of fish and potatoes. really quite an impressive spread for breakfast buffet, i gotta say.
i enjoyed a breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, juice, milk and coffee which must have invigorated me because before heading out to explore the town i struggled to open the window, again, and succeeded in wedging the block of wood under the window frame. lmao, i think i'll sleep with the window open the rest of my stay here!

i spent a big part of the day walking and exploring and taking photos, occasionally stopping for a coffee, cappuccino or espresso... was in the mood for a good caffeine buzz today and i got a good one going :)

definitely no mistaking that this is a university town... is there anybody here over the age of 30??!! saw lots and lots of university age students everywhere, on bike, on foot, gathered around cafe tables, sitting on the steps of the big buildings of the town centre and by the adjacent big open plaza that appears to be the market square. it was hot and sunny today and it seemed as though everybody was out enjoying the great weather.

something else that stands out to me is how clean and tidy is the bustling town centre and how open and expansive are the market square and center plaza. not only are all store fronts clean and tidy and there's no litter laying about, but the bricks themselves that make the streets and sidewalks are so clean that they look new. could this be because these areas are closed to motorized traffic except for the public buses and vehicles on official business?
which reminds me... when i first arrived Groningen and got lost, i remember driving through the town centre and thought how lucky i was that traffic was so light. i thought traffic was light because it was Sunday. lol, now i know it's because i was driving in a forbidden zone! ooopss! :p

btw, isn't that the cutest little trash truck you ever saw?! hehehe, i thought the work vehicles in Switzerland are tiny, but the Dutch got the Swiss beat when it comes to cute little trucks. lol :D

also, standing out to me is the amazing number of cafes, restaurants and shops this town can support. Groningen seems to be a smaller city than Utrecht, but it strikes me that proportionally this town has more eateries and shops.

OH! also saw some klompen while walking around.... but, somehow buying klompen at a newstand/cigarette kiosk just doesn't seem right to me.... think i'll keep looking for my *real* clogs ;)

sometime in the afternoon, after picking up a town map for future exploration, i returned to the hotel and relaxed with a biertje as i caught up with some writing and checking mails.

then went to the Cafe Hoppe (really cool big place with lots of dark wood everywhere) for some dinner. had a simple, but very good, weinerschnitzel, fries seasoned with paprika and salad. really quite tasty, but couldn't finish the generous portion of fries. oh, and, no i didn't ask for ketchup... the mayonnaise was very good with the frites :p

had a fun conversation with the friendly university student (studying to be a physical education teacher/sports coach) who was working. we talked about Dutch musicians (surprised him that i listen to Kane, Intwine, Racoon & Anouk) and actors (i learned that Rutger Hauer is Dutch) and about life in Holland vs the States. he even demonstrated to me his ability to do various American accents that he has learned from watching TV and movies.... his New York accent being the best.

after dinner, i wandered around a bit and stopped in a very packed bar where the music was loud and good and the glasses of beer with frothy head were pushed across the bar nonstop. the bartender put Stevie Ray Vaughan on the stereo at my request and i had a philosophical conversation with some guy who claimed to be an artist.

tomorrow will set out again, this time with a map, and see if i can find the art museum. will check into climbing the Martini Toren, too. hope the weather is as nice tomorrow as it was today.... wanna get a good pic from way up there :)


  1. I saw you had the art museum planned. that was one tip i was going to give you. The outside is also very special. It is just across from the Central Station, which has recently been restructured to it's old glory, so maybe you could visit that too.

    As for other interesting things, you could try Pieterburen, a rescue centre for seals. It is not in Groningen, but as you have a car.... it is possible.

    And else, you could just try out the many bars there are in Groningen.

  2. heheheee, yup, when at a loss of what to do in Groningen there are always cafes and bars to try out! went to Central Station today... WOW! what a beautiful work of art is that building! will write about it later....

    and, thanks for the suggestions... keep 'em comin'! :)