Monday, July 1, 2013

Groningen, part 1 (a bike ride through Dutch countryside)

Several months ago (all the way back in April) Peter and I went to Groningen in the Netherlands to visit our good friend Nico.  He's been studying there for the past two years and we figured it was finally time to see what his life up there was all about.

Nico showed us the most wonderful time and was a great host and tour guide (he's official)!  Plus, we just enjoyed spending quality time with him, as he is leaving for a year abroad this July.

I wanted to share the pictures but there are so many I can't just do it in one post!  So, here is part of three.  This first post is from a bike ride we took with Nico into the Dutch countryside around Groningen, which is absolutely idyllic.  Everywhere we rode there were lambs nursing from their mothers, little ducks waddling around and drawbridges being opened for the large barges heading into Groningen's harbor.  It reminded me of a book I read as a child called The Wheel on the School.  I hardly remember what it is about, but I knew when I saw this part of the Netherlands that this is exactly what I had pictured when I was reading.

This bike ride was incredibly challenging for me.  The Dutch ride everywhere and are very good on bikes.  On this particular day, Nico had to do this tour as a way of finishing his tour guide training for Groningen.  It was lead by his tour guide teacher and it was only other tour guides that participated.  Since they were all residents of Groningen--and therefore bike riding experts--after the first five minutes of the bike ride, my legs were burning.   After just two stops on the tour, I was so exhausted and was feeling so pushed that I was close to tears.  

So, Peter kindly offered to abandon the tour with me and make our way back to the city at a leisurely pace.  It was most definitely the right decision!  I was able to stop for five minutes to take pictures of and marvel at the little lambies and cows and the ride back was so relaxing.  I was a much happier person after that.  

Despite the fact that I'm a bike tour dropout, I am so glad we did the part that we did.  It was gorgeous and a Saturday morning breath of fresh air was just what we needed.  I would highly recommend renting bikes if you travel to Groningen.  You can rent them at the main train station and...get this...the rental place is open until 2 a.m.   It's a great way to get around the city and out of it if you would like to!  

1 comment:

Anna S said...

This is absolutely beautiful! My dad always travels to the Netherlands for business, and he raves about the beauty of the Dutch countryside. I only hope to one day be able to take a biking tour there! Your blog deepens my wanderlust! I love it :)