Thursday, January 2, 2014

Watch out for speedy cyclists in the student town

There is a saying “Er gaat niets boven Groningen” meaning that there is nothing above the Northern most Province.
I always enjoy driving up to the north of the Netherlands. We drive over a reclaimed part of the country that my mother-in-law used to travel to by boat. It’s now land and the romantic aspect is enchanting to imagine how they lived in the olden days. Farming, Friesland is close by and the dialect spoken is totally different to the Dutch you hear in Amsterdam.
Tourists go on boat canal trips in Amsterdam but you can also go on a boat tour in many other towns like Delft and Groningen.Img_2301 Groningen is the name of the city and also the name of the province Groningen and has a population close to 200,000. The city is a student city; it has over 50,000 students, which makes for a fun and busy tone. I like to walk around in the Stadspark and the main square (Grote Markt) has a lively fun fair and market. There will be Oliebollen for sale, at the Markt for New Year. I enjoyed the glass topped boat trip to see all the sights. It’s more relaxing to sit in the Canal boat because when you stroll around make sure you watch out for racing cyclists! One in every 5 residents is a student and they ride their bicycles at the speed of light. We also enjoyed sitting on the terrace outside the modern museum and watching the world go by.
Unfortunately, there are NO real Luxury hotels… but I like to stay at the Golden Tulip Paterswolde Groningen. It is near the city and has free Wi-Fi , nice countryside walks on the Hoornsemeer and near the lake. It is one of the few hotels in Holland with a heated indoor swimming pool and a garden. They have lots of free parking and a shuttle service to the city. Another hotel on the outskirts of the city is Bastion Hotel ( on highway A7 ) with easy access to the center of the city.
100 Other Chain hotel groups are the NH HOTEL MERCURE , The Van der Valk Hotel Westerbroek and the Asgard, all have close proximity to the station and Market Square. The Prinsenhof Hotel at Martinikerkhof 23, is one of the best Hotels, but make sure that you get a room in the modern section or you may end up with a dark room. But perhaps you can overlook that since it is a 15th-century building. Martinitoren (Martini Tower) is 5 minutes’ walk from The Prinsenhof, The Groninger Museum of Modern Art and Groningen Railway Station is about 20 minutes’ walk away. If you want to stay at an Hotel with an unpronounceable name, the The Hotel Schimmelpennick Huys” 3 stared Hotel, is the hotel for you -  in the heart of Groningen. … or you may want to drive a bit further, The German border is a 15 minute drive away.

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