Category Archives: City

The best thing about Europe

OK, besides the butter–is the gardens. Today I took this picture in the Prinsentuin, a walled garden so beautiful I was sure it was private property. On a gray day like today, when not even the thought of apples (the weirdest and most persistent of the food cravings to date) could make me want to go to the market, I found a little bit of light and color in the garden.


WTF Friday 8/20

Given my fascination with Dutch garbage, it was only a matter of time until I moved onwards and upwards. I mean, really, I’m a highly educated grownup here. It’s time to discuss adult things. (I even have health insurance now, I’m so grown up!) Continue reading

WTF Friday 7/9

Another 87F scorcher here in Holland today. And woe unto you if you haven’t worked on your Holland tan.

Yesterday I sat in this exact same spot in the park, and there was a group of older people painting this unusual tree. Today? There’s mostly-naked Dutch girls sunbathing. The (crappy) picture doesn’t even begin to convey the weirdness; the Noorderplantsoen’s pretty big so people are able to spread out everywhere to most effectively cancer-fy themselves.

Weirder still? They’ve been doing this since March, when it was like 52F.

Weirdest? None of them are tan yet. Dude, you can’t get tan in Holland.

I’m assuming, given the fact that I got (harmlessly) creeped on (and was left alone once I dropped the H-bomb–“husband”) in this same park the other day, that the sunbathing is simply another kind of markt. This one’s the undergrad meat markt, though, because these undergrads just lack a Presidential courtyard to do it in.

I’ll stay in the shade, thanks.

Op de markt

Browsing the groenten (vegetables; say, approx., "hrr-OOHn-te")

Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday are market days in Groningen. When we first moved here in March, we hadn’t even had time to scrape off the Boston frost before Nathan’s boss was urging us to go to the market. “Even in March? Even now? Like what is there to buy, potatoes?” Continue reading

WTF Friday 6/18

The Grote Markt becomes a beach volleyball pitch. Martinikerk makes an odd backdrop. (And yes, it’s too cold for those people to be wearing shorts.) The sand is probably 18 inches deep or so, plopped right in the middle of the Groningen equivalent of Quincy Market. I saw them building it on Wednesday; by 8:45 Thursday morning, people were playing volleyball.

I’ve never seen people more desperate for summer.


I’d need both a better camera and a more patient eye to convey it, but when we get a pretty day here, the light is stunning. The tops of the narrow, old city buildings look even more dramatic against a clear mid-day sky. There are leaves on the trees. Girls bicycle in dresses; babies eat ijsjes (ice cream). People will sit at an outdoor cafe all afternoon, drinking little bitty coffees or biertjes (note: one never has a bier outright; one always has a little beer, a biertje).

Oh, boy, are we all gonna pay for this in November.

Hup Holland Hup

The church in our neighborhood, over by the Albert Heijn at Floresplein, goes oranje. (Helpful pronunciation guide: say "or-AHN-yuh.")

Last Wednesday 6/9 were the Dutch general elections, or verkiezingen. The verb kiezen means “to choose,” so their word for elections means “the choosing.” Which I think is cool.

What I gathered re: the elections, given my limited Dutch: There’s this (kinda) crazy politician named Geert Wilders who leads a party called the PVV. Continue reading