Monday, 18 January 2016

Groningen: Snow and Sun

It has been far too long since I last posted about Groningen. There has been plenty happening to write about (concerts in Groningen's venues, playing music at local gigs, outings to nearby nature areas, a long holiday for Christmas in Denmark [Jul], and a recent pandemonium in this northern city I call home caused by a wee bit of ice and snow). However, as it often is when things are happening, there isn't nearly enough time to think, let alone write. In addition, being a teacher just eats away the hours. It is wonderful, rewarding, and hugely gratifying, I grant you - but very time-consuming all the same.

Pavement skating in the park

Snowfall in Groningen
It was back to work (school) again today, and not only was it an early start, but my bicycle lock was frozen shut by the lovely -6 degree Celsius temperature we were having. Walking it would be then... Actually, the first week of January saw me walking a lot in Groningen as well; after our first snow day when classes were cancelled, I found myself stranded the next day on a different campus with buses and trains suddenly stopped as a "code red" was called. I had to walk home on icy pavements. I was lucky I could walk home, in fact, as some of my students were thrown into panic about how to get home to neighbouring provinces (Drenthe and Friesland). People were skating on the iced over roads and pavements, and I even saw a video clip of students engaged in "beer crate curling". Only in the Netherlands!

Today was beautiful, however. I had to walk, but it meant that once I was finished with my first class, I could enjoy the sun and my beautiful city. The sunshine seemed to put everyone in a good mood! As I was taking a photo of the Westerhaven from the bridge, a young chap walked past and said in Dutch that "it will be a good photo!" which I thought was very nice. The ships and canal were certainly beautiful! Then, a bit further down the road as I stopped to take a photo again, another man grinned at me and said, "Mooi, hé?" which translates to "Nice, isn't it?" Goodness, what a change in outlook to the previous snow fall. The city was abuzz with a good feeling, even though it was Monday morning and below freezing. Can the sun shine more often, please?