Monday, January 21, 2013

GRONINGEN, Netherlands

Just when I think I couldn't possibly surprise myself further....!  Remember last week when I started backtracking and found files basically untouched in my archives?

Almost exactly THREE years ago, before Astrid and I bought our Granny Towanda (Daihatsu Cuore car), we took 2 trains in February 2010 to Groningen, some 120 miles to the NE of us.  It was an all-day affair for us and our biggest trip after my arrival to the Netherlands the previous December.

Not only did I make no post of that trip whatsoever here on this blog, I didn't even have a tag word for Groningen.  Today I will make up for that lost cause!

The 1866 Groningen train station, for starters, is called the cathedral of the winged wheel.
 The statue of the horse and its owner (“Uncle Loeks’ horse) has been there since 1959.
First impressions are always important, of course.

Straightaway from the train station you walk across the city canal to city center.
You can see how cold it February.

You know me and spires.  This was the first one we saw.
It belongs to the Aa Church from 1247!
Sadly, it wasn't open that day.

Whenever we walk to any city's center, we always get impressions.
That was the first day I ever saw snowdrops with my own eyes!

Within minutes...another spire.
This one is from the University of Groningen, founded in 1614.
It's one of the oldest and largest universities in the Netherlands and was voted its best in April, 2012.

The mother of all spires in Groningen, however, is the Martinitoren (Martini Tower) of the Martini Church.
Right there on the market square, it dominates everything.
You should know by now that I also love clock towers and sundials.
B I N G O.

Before doing anything else, we bought tickets and climbed the 1469 tower.
That's where I got my classic views of all the landmark well as the market square.
And, oh, I even got the windmill there in the background, far, far away (top center above)!

Lucky for us, the Martinikerk was open!  It's Groningen's oldest church, from 1225.

Much of the wall and ceiling paintwork has been preserved.

The choir dome of the church is 25 meters tall, surrounded by mural stations of the cross.
I could have spent LOTS of time there and would love to go back one day.

Another fabulous spire is from the 1602 Provinciehuis, seat of the provincial government.
It's a stone's-throw away from the Martinikerk, in the same neighborhood
  as the beautiful churchyard houses (Martinikerkhof), top above.

And lastly, at the end of our day, another spire is from the Jozefkerk, 1885.

 Officially, this is the Cathedral Church of Saints Martin and Joseph...

...which is why the St. Martin statue (middle left above) is in this church.

 The legend of Martin of Tours, b. 316-397, is well worth a read:  While a Roman soldier, he cut his cloak in half to share it with a beggar...and later dreamed the beggar was Jesus.
Those random acts of kindness...really do count!

On that inspirational note, it was time to head back home,
with impetus to get back to the Winter Olympics from Vancouver, February 12-28, 2010.
We visited Groningen on February 20, 2010!


  1. Now that's what I call a full life. :-)

    Wonderfully packed with so much goodness.

    1. We really did pack a lot in those first weeks after I arrived, Ruth, by train first and then by car starting March 2010. There came a point when we stopped doing something every weekend! I'm glad if I can start catching up on everything from back then! Thank you, as always, dear sister.

  2. Another fascinating set of pictures Ginnie. Your comment that this was the first time you had seen snowdrops made me think about what we can take for granted. I saw my first snowdrops of 2013 yesterday, an annual event a bit like seeing the first of the spring lambs I suppose :)

    1. Thanks, Anne. I guess there's a reason why they're called snowdrops! I didn't grow up with them in America, so they are extra special to me now.

      The spring lambs will be coming soon...before we know it. We'll see them everywhere and already that brings a huge smile! :)

  3. The richness of detail and passion in your photography is wonderful! I just get the sense that you were in heaven Ginnie! I love the ornate interiors especially all the tiles, carvings and unusual colour combinations. A tapestry of culture.......lucky you!

    1. All of Europe has been a heaven of sorts for me, Catherine! I still pinch myself after 3 years and hope to continual seeing everything I possibly can, within reason. My heart is full, as is my soul. I feel so blessed! Thank you for sharing it with me.

  4. Talk about bring back some great memories. We got a good deal on the train-tickets. For a set prize we were able to travel anywhere in the Netherlands. So we chose the most far distance from Gorinchem.
    By looking at all of your pictures, it shows that you/we were in picture heaven!
    Thank you for taking time to make these wonderful collages. Go back to the collage with the view of the windmill, remember the café Drie Gezusters (three sisters) Crowded but very cozy.
    Snowdrops, still a miracle to me, will arrive in a few weeks again.... Spring will follow soon after.

    1. Thanks for reminding me of those train tickets! That's indeed why we decided to go to a far-away place. I still can't believe I had never processed the pictures, however. Unbelievable. But looking at most of them made me remember everything as though it were yesterday! Thank you for being my Dream-Team partner, sharing all of this with me. We're so lucky.

  5. wow, you had these images in your archive all these years? thank heavens for free time. i wonder what else will you pull out of your magic archive :)

    have a lovely week. hi to astrid.

    1. I'm probably the one more amazed than anyone, Maria! Trust me, I'll unearth everything in time. I want no stone left unturned. HA! Thanks for joining the fun. :)

  6. I can see why you LOVE the Netherlands. Wow. The photo of St. Martin on his horse with the bricks behind them is awesome. Would you mind if I used it on my "Just Horses" side bar (I will credit you) I do have a photo of St. Martin, but I would love to use yours)

    1. You are welcome to use whatever you'd like, dear Margaret. I know you will give credit where credit is due. Thank you for the honor!

  7. So many wonderful collages! I especially like the green bird in the first one... not sure why I'm so drawn to that! And the last one with the orange colors on the trains... LOVE orange!

    1. Just admit it,'re a Dutch woman at heart. :) I must be, too, because orange is one of my favorite colors. Thank you, again, for stopping by to catch up on all these posts!