During my first week in Amsterdam I signed up to go on a weekend trip to Gronigen with CIEE, the program that organized my study abroad experience here in the Netherlands. At the time, I had no idea where Gronigen was or why we would ever want to visit... but hey, it's a free trip right?? So two weeks ago, the special weekend finally arrived. I packed an overnight bag and loaded a giant bus filled with sleepy students at 8 AM. I still had absolutely no idea where we were going, what we would be doing, or why we would want to go. Yes, I could have easily done a little research on the city, or even opened the itinerary sent to me by CIEE, but what's the fun in that? Much better to be 100% COMPLETELY unprepared... (My futile attempt at sarcasm).
Later that afternoon we ventured out to climb the clock tower and explore the little town of Gronigen. Thankfully CIEE took us to a delicious pancake brunch after our kayaking adventure, providing us with the energy we needed to get to the top of the tower. There were so. many. stairs.
After a steep spiral staircase on a full stomach of pancake...the stunning view from the top
After dinner we decided to check out the Gronigen nightlife of course! Much to our surprise, it was so fun! Apparently, Groningen, which is in the northern Netherlands, is home to a large university with lots of young people and a vibrant nightlife scene. Our favorite spot was called the Three Sisters, which had a rotating bar, a great DJ and a room full of hot Dutch boys. Yet another surprise from good ol' Gronigen. :)
Our CIEE leader Erik with a classic photobomb
The next morning, after a few somewhat difficult hours at the Gronigen Art Museum, we hopped back on the bus and drove as far north as we possibly could. We drove until we hit the coast, or as I like to call it, the edge of the world.
The farm we visited produces their own Dutch wine and grows a variety of delicious fruits and vegetables. They let us sample the wine and pluck a few fresh carrots out of the ground. Why not?
I don't know if I'll ever make it back to Gronigen, but I had a wonderful time! Thank you to CIEE for a weekend of great friends, great food and great memories!
Kelly Tate, CIEE student