Sunday, 22 May 2016

Springtime in Groningen

It is the nearly the end of May, yet I feel I'm still stuck somewhere in March. Time flies when you are having fun, so the saying goes, and aren't I just! In February I travelled over 5,000km; in March I travelled within the Netherlands, before escaping on a week long holiday up north; and in April, the fourth block of university began, which is our busiest, yet I still managed to nip away for a few weekends. It was rather a relief when May hit, as we had a few national holidays that meant long weekends (full of marking and travelling). Now, June promises to quiet down as exams take place and the long wind down to summer begins. 2016 has gotten off to a rather hectic start!

While the pile of essays to be graded teeters over my head, I took this weekend to relax and ignore anything to do with comma splices or non-academic word usage. The weather has finally become warmer once more, and so, in an endeavour to complete my to-do list, I went into town for chores and to soak up the atmosphere a bit. There is a kermis or carnival/fair going on at the moment, so the city is loud and busy. I cycled home through the city for a change the other evening after teaching and suddenly realised we have two massive new shops that have opened. How had I missed that?

Saturday was a mission, therefore, to inspect and suss out what I'd been missing in my lovely city. The Saturday market was in full steam, too, in addition to the kermis, and to say the city was buzzing would be an understatement. I found an oliebollen stand pretty quickly and was in seventh heaven; I explored the new shops, and browsed the market stalls while being deafened by the kermis.

After two years here in Groningen, I find that I have a deep fondness for it. There is something special here. Whenever I arrive at the train station, I feel at home again after my travels. Like the 'slogan' for the city says er gaat niets boven Groningen (literal translation: nothing goes higher than Groningen; meaning: nothing beats Groningen). It was lovely to reconnect not only with myself a bit, but also the city I call home. Besides, any day that includes munching on oliebollen is a good one!

To share the lovely spring with you, here are some photos from the last few weeks in Groningen:

Flowers in the park

Blue skies at last in town

Sun catching the fountain
King's Day celebrations
Sunset in the park
Sunday afternoon by the pond