Good Times Happen For Those Who Visit

First, I’d like to apologize to my Auntie R for my blog posting slackness. My only excuse is that the weather has been perfect.

Two weekends ago (already?!), Shane and I were thrilled to host 2 new visitors, my Aunt Rebecca and her friend, Marlee!

These twoΒ were at the end of ~2 week trip through Slovenia and Croatia and were able to extend their layover in Amsterdam on the way home. Shane and I met them in Amsterdam for the day and then brought them up to Groningen for the weekend.

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We always forget how nice it is to have familiar faces around. πŸ™‚

Our main goal of this trip was the Van Gogh museum.

I’m not gonna lie… Shane and I aren’t exactly the best at art museums. We both like to go, but generally, we move through pretty quickly. This museum was an exception, and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Amsterdam!

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 After our day in Amsterdam, we headed north to play tourist in Groningen!

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The Martini Kerk & Martini Toren (church & tower)

As I mentioned before, we have had exceptional weather this year. For the first time since we’ve moved, we were not wearing jackets on June 1st. We even wore SHORTS over the weekend. Trust me, it’s a big deal.

So, taking advantage of this beautiful weather, the four of us spent Saturday walking around Groningen. I must say, it was so much fun to watch Rebecca & Marlee in the market here! The two of them are seasoned travelers and, unlike us when we first started market shopping, were not intimidated at all. Lucky for them, Saturday market generally has a lot of free samples too! πŸ™‚ We also checked out the Prinsenhof Gardens, and, of course, the cheese shops!

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On Sunday, we rented a car and headed about 40 minutes outside of Groningen to the Vesting (Fort) Bourtange. In case your not familiar, it’s a fortified village near the German border and known for its unique shape.

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Arial view of Bourtange. (not my photo, you can thank google images)

Bourtange was first built in 1593. Its original purpose was to protect the only road between Germany and Groningen (which is the province, not only the city), and was controlled by Spain during the 80 years war (1568-1648). It remained in use as a fortress until the late 1800s, when it was converted into a village. Eventually, it was left to deteriorate, but in the 1970’s it was restored to its former glory.

(read this next part dramatically)

Now you can step back in time, to 1742!

And step back in time we did! Rebecca and Marlee happened to be visiting on the annual “Battle of Bourtange” weekend, which is a 400 person reenactment of some of the battles between the Spaniards (who controlled the fort) and the Dutch (who were trying to reclaim it).

Sounds cheesy, but it was actually really fun. The fort/village itself is also really nice and worth a day trip on a sunny day.

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…people were really keen on getting a good view of the reenactment.

(If Shane wasn’t careful, he would have also gotten a good view.

Personal space? naahhh.)

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Come Monday morning, they were on the train heading home.

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It was a quick, but fantastic weekend, and we are so happy you came to visit!

…particularly Meatball. (hah)

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This weekend we are heading to Venice, Italy to meet up with our friends Michelle and Steve! More on that soon.

Tot ziens,

Whitney

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We are two Americans living in the Netherlands with our fat cat, Meatball. The Shwits is a diary of our time abroad!

One thought on “Good Times Happen For Those Who Visit

  1. Hi Whitney! Enjoyed the blog! Rebecca really enjoyed her visit with you! I liked seeing some of the places familiar from our trip. Hope you had a fun week in Venice! Heard from David that you got the new job. Congratulations! As you probably have heard I am very confined for the summer because of my hip redo, but we are trying to put a positive spin on the situation and hopefully there will be a good outcome. I am having to forgo trips to India in Sept and Paris/Prague in Oct but at least I’ve been to all before. Hope you have a good summer and that good weather continues. Today may break the temp record in London set in 1976 when we were living there! Hi to Shane! Love, Ann

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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