Friday, January 24, 2014

Latvian Connections and Digging into the Past, Part IID

The last couple of days of my vacation were spent further exploring the Netherlands. Groningen is a lively university town with plenty of history.

Goudkantoor - built in 1653 for the tax collector

The university was founded in 1614, and has 27,000 students. That, of course, means plenty of bicycles. Few students can afford cars, and there is precious little place to park them in the city.

Main university building - with hundreds of bicycles parked out front
Naturally, university students move frequently. What is one to do if one does not have a car, and most motorized vehicles can barely navigate the narrow old streets, particularly in the center of town? Well, then one can rent a bicycle/pick-up truck hybrid! These were some of the cleverest things I'd seen in a long time.

It being the Netherlands, there is also plenty of cheese in Groningen...

And, it being Europe, good coffee...

Upon leaving Groningen, on our way back to Belgium, we stopped in Giethorn, known as the Venice of the Netherlands. The vast majority of the town is only accessible via canals.

We did spot some wildlife here. Both a stork and two adorable dogs were patiently sitting at the side of the canal, apparently waiting for something - lunch, maybe?

As in most Dutch towns and villages, the homes in Giethorn are very well cared for - manicured lawns and hedges, beds of spring flowers.

In all, my vacation in Belgium and the Netherlands was absolutely wonderful - chilly weather notwithstanding! Luckily, the adventure we had on the very last evening - almost getting locked out of the parking garage in 's-Hertogenbosch (yes, that's the actual name of the city where we'd stopped for a late dinner; it is typically referred to as Den Bosch) - ended the way it needed to, and the next day I was on my way back to the States. As always, I was so grateful for the kind hospitality of friends, the opportunity to see new places and meet new people.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love having visitors, so let me know you stopped by!