17 October 2011

Weekendje Groningen

We headed out to Groningen this past weekend - just to get away together and explore a part of the Netherlands that I know very little of. Unfortunately, we once again both forgot our cameras. We also both forgot an umbrella, but that was less of a problem, seeing as we were blessed with absolutely gorgeous sunny weather this weekend.

Huize Tavenier
We got to see the house where Matthijs was born: Huize Tavenier, which is a beautiful Art Nouveau style house. It was for mothers healthy enough to give birth outside of the hospital but giving birth at home wasn't so ideal (Matthijs's parents (or just dad?) were still students and lived in a house without hot water). More than 27,000 babies were born here - and I find it unique and fascinating that Matthijs is one of them.

During the weekend, we wandered around a lot, caught up on sleep in our hotel (a great deal including train tickets, although it was in the middle of nowhere), saw a lot of fascinating buildings (Groningen seems to be a mixture of architecture with different styles mixed through each other), got to stop in a few shops (stores close at 17.00 on Saturday and don't open again until Monday morning), and just enjoyed the feeling of being away for a short time. We also got to visit our new niece on the way there and have lunch with an old university classmate from Matthijs.

City building 1928 near the Groninger Museum
After Amsterdam, Groningen has the most Amsterdam School Architecture - it's a bit like Art Nouveau but with a lot of rounded corners, bricks sticking out in strange patterns - or placed sideways. Two examples are this city building on Gedempte Zuiderdiep street and the Oosterkerk that we bumped into on the east side of the city. Both photos are from Wikimedia Commons, taken by Wutsje.
Oosterkerk - a Gereformeerde Church

We also got to attend a church service in the Aa-church, a service that honoured the restoration of the organ and featured two Cantates (including Bach's "Now thank we all our God"). It was the first time in years that there was a service in the church, and it was obvious that everyone wanted to attend the celebration: what was it ever full!! Matthijs and I arrived almost a half hour early, only to see a line-up of people going through the door. They'd printed out 500 copies of the liturgy - and I think everybody was sharing a copy. There wasn't enough room for everyone to sit, even though we were packed into the benches.

After having seen everything in the Guide books that I'd wanted to see, I had only one wish from the weekend left over: to fill myself up on delicious food. And at De Kleine Moghul, this wonderful little Indian restaurant a bit north of the centre, I happily got to fulfill my wish and we could head back home :)

It was a delightful little weekend away (n.b. the ending "je" on a Dutch word makes it a diminutive: thus a weekendje is a short/little weekend): Matthijs and I both enjoyed getting away and exploring. And to make the feeling of vacation last a little bit longer, Matthijs and I have tickets to a concert tonight in the Concertgebouw!

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