As soon as I got back to Holland on Sunday I decided to go on a little adventure to Keukenhof before returning to Groningen. Keukenhof is the home to Holland’s tulip fields, and is a truly breath taking site. I have never seen such a kaleidoscope of color, it was incredible. I walked around for hours, enjoying the afternoon sun and taking way too many pics! As they say, a picture tells a 1,000 words, so I’ll stop writing now and let the photos do the talking! Enjoy.
This is my 3rd year in a row being outside of Ireland for St Patrick’s Day, by far my favorite holiday of the year. Christmas, Easter, Halloween, New years…all fun but Paddy’s day beats them all hands down!
It is just pure and utter madness.
At first I was quite sad to be away from home, away from all the fun and frolics, the parade, the drinking, the green, the singing, the ceili street dancing and the whole run up to our national day of pride…but after spending it abroad for the last few years, I really appreciate the diverse ways people celebrate all things Irish the world over!
In 2010, I spent Paddy’s Day in Melbourne. It was about 30′c, sun shining and every Irish, half Irish or wannabe Irish person was to be found in any number of Melbourne’s Irish bars…from as early as 8 O Clock in the morning. Well, that’s what time Vera and I started at and there were already some guys on their second pint.It was a pretty awesome day, spent with some Irish friends and many couchsurfers from around the world. We did an epic, day-long pub crawl through out the city planting shamrocks on strangers and jumping on random buses in an attempt to face paint the poor driver. AS it was not half as crowded or chaotic as any Irish city, getting around, ordering drinks, getting food and not being ripped off were all easily accomplished.
Lat year, 2011, I spent Paddy’s day in South Korea…worlds away from both Ireland and Australia! As it fell on a week day, an all day drinking session was definitely out of the question! However, I did have an awesome day decorating my classroom with the irish colours and teaching my students all about St Patrick which was a welcome break from intensive grammar and spelling tests! That night I met some American friends for some DakGalbi (spicy chicken and rice cake dish). One of my friends was called ‘Jameson’, like the Irish whiskey so that was about the closest thing to ‘Irishness’ I encountered that day. It may not have been the normal St Patrick’s Day, but then again you should know by now… I strive for anything but normal!
Now I can’t wait to see what fun is in store for me in The Netherlands!
I guess it doesn’t matter where you are…it matters who you’re with!
I discovered that the world’s tallest climbing wall is here in Groningen so went along to take some photos!
Today at the dutch carnival I spotted these sweet little kids…jumping up and down on a vintage car!!
Today I climbed the 260 steps to the top of the Martini Tower in the centre of Groningen and took these birds eye view photos of the city, the church and the beautiful skyline. My original plan was to go to the cinema this afternoon but I think being a tourist and climbing the martinikerk was a MUCH more rewarding adventure! My only regret is not climbing it last week when everything was covered in glistening white snow! Oh well….
I would have to be living under a rock not to realize how much the Dutch LOVE their Ice-Skating. I always knew they were fond of their bikes, and after interviewing adventurer Jasper Winn a few years ago, and a few locals here in Groningen, I discovered they are also fond of roller blading but ice-skating was never something I associated with the Dutch!
Yesterday along side all the happy skaters gliding down the frozen canals, whizzing past house boats, speed boats and tall ships, I saw a site to behold! There were groups of people everywhere having BBQs in the middle of the canal. Sitting around on plastic chairs or even some with sofas, sipping ice cold beers while keeping warm next to a roaring fire…all on the ice! It was pretty mental!
Sadly, with temperatures slowly rising and rain falling in place of snow, I’m guessing all the fun and games will soon come to an end! Then we have spring to look forward to and spring in Holland is going to be a tulip-filled heaven!
Today I came across a bizarre site…brave souls walking down (and skating on!) the canals in the city centre. Such an unusual site to see a couple skating past a huge boat! If this cold weather keeps up “The Eleven Cities” Ice skating tour is bound to happen. All will be announced in the Dutch Media tomorrow! Excitement!
Here are some photos and videos I took over the weekend while exploring Groningen in the snow! It such a great little city and as everyone travels everywhere by bike, its so easy to get around and to visit friend…it never takes more than 10 minutes to go anywhere!