Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Latvian Connections and Digging up the Past, Part IIC

After several days of exploring Belgium, a trip to the Netherlands was in order. My friend's cousin lives in Groningen, and she was celebrating her 30th birthday, which required a trip north to help celebrate. Thanks to having lived close to the Dutch border while in 7th grade, and also to my sister having lived in the Netherlands for two years, I have seen a fair amount of the country. However, I'd never been as far north as the university city of Groningen.

View of Groningen
We arrived late, but were then up until 2am helping the birthday girl celebrate. The following day the locals had work to do, so we needed to make ourselves scare, which was not a problem - we had planned an outing to the Dutch countryside. The daughter of one of my co-worker's was spending the month working in a glass blowing studio in a small museum in Orvelte, not far from Groningen. This was a off-the-beaten track type of place probably never visited by American tourists (the museum's website is only in Dutch!), but we enjoyed our visit and particularly learning about the art of glass blowing.
Typical tidy Dutch home in Orvelte
Glass blowing studio in Orvelte, with artwork by resident master
Glass blowing master at work
Traditional building in Orvelte

We also decided to make a quick stop in a lovely town called Kampen. Unfortunately it was too late in the day, and most everything was closed, but I loved the many well-preserved historic buildings here.

One of many gorgeous old buildings in Kampen
Kampen street scene
A number of buildings in Kampen were in the Art Nouveau style
That night I had decided to book a hotel room for myself. My Brussels friend and her Groningen cousin needed time to catch up, and I needed time to sleep. If you are ever in need of a place to stay in the center of Groningen, I can highly recommend the Asgard Boutique Hotel. Although breakfast is not provided in the price of the room, the hotel is quite new, very clean and comfortable. The next morning I was grateful for my decision, as it turned out that the party had essentially continued - everyone in the cousin's apartment had been up until the wee hours of the morning, while I had peacefully slept in the quiet hotel room for a good nine hours. As I was checking out and signing the guest book at the front desk, I noticed that a couple who'd signed the book the previous day was from Latvia. Upon further inspection, it turned out I knew them! Yes, it is a VERY small world when one is Latvian!


  1. Labdien, hello, bonjour! Just discovered your blog via http://expateyeonlatvia.wordpress.com/ and I can not agree more " it is a VERY small world when one is Latvian!" :) and it is true even in a world of blogs. Thank you for such wonderful posts and photos about NL. Being and expat Latvian in Belgium, now I really feel like have to go and visit my friends in Netherlands, best of wishes from Brussels, Signe

  2. Sveika, Signe! Paldies par viesošanos manā blogā un par kommentāru. Jā, brauc tik pie visiem latviešu draugiem ciemos!! :)


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