Jamie joins on another 3 day trip - this time to the city of Groningen in the far north-east of the country. The language spoken here is Gronische as it is a separate province of the Netherlands.
Geartsje Schram is the sister of my friend, Areanne, who has lived in Brisbane for many years now. Geartsje recently enjoyed 6 weeks in Brisbane and accompanied me, along with some other friends, on a weekend away to the Bunya Mountains. It was then we agreed I should visit her during my impending visit to the Netherlands, and here we are!
Geartje's house is a delightful urban dwelling with a private back garden and three levels of living. She made us really comfortable and cooked us a beautiful meal on our first night there. We spent about 5 hours walking around the city centre, going in and out of antique and curio shops and enjoying the summer conviviality.
Early the next morning, it was Jamie's 16th birthday and we presented her with her gifts before walking the 10 minutes to bus stop for our journey to the island of Schiermonnikoog (the beautiful eye of the monk) - apparently there was once
Really brightly coloured and fresh!
a monastery in this region. An hours bus ride was followed by a 3/4 hour boat ride across the Ijssel Meer to the island itself.
Once there, we rented some bicycles and it then began to pour with rain. We donned our beautiful yellow plastic ponchos and continued on our way. In a little while the rain subsided and eventually the day turned out to be quite sunny and blue, although very windy. We rode around the central part of the island and went through the dunes over to the beach fronting the North Sea. VERY windy!! But, it's easy to see how these places would be delightfully popular on a warm summer's day with beach pavilions nearby to serve every form of refreshment.
PJ particularly enjoyed the bike-riding and, at one point when we were all tired from riding into a strong headwind for a half hour, we just downed bikes and lay on the soft green long grass on the roadside, much to the amusement of the many passers-by.
By 4pm, we were heading back into the town heart and settled on a little pizzeria for our early dinner. The afternoon sun was beaming down
on us as we sat out on the terrace in front of a spacious green park.
Back on to bus at 6pm, then onto the 6.30pm boat returning to Lauwersoog. From there, a further hour's bus ride back to Groningen, followed by a 10 minute walk back home. We arrived at precisely 8.20pm - exactly 12 hours after we boarded the first bus this morning!!
The children are now heading off to beddy-byes, and Geartsje and I are venturing out to the city to have a bit of 'chill-out' adult time.
Tomorrow, we are SLEEPING IN!! Then a visit to the Cartoon Museum in town, followed by a last wander through town before catching the train back to Amsterdam in the afternoon. It will be nice to have a relaxing day just doing nothing much.
Till next time!
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