Netherlands – Groningen/Drenthe

 Last week I was in Holland for 10 days and I was looking forward to it a lot as I felt like I didn’t see my family and friends in ages. The last time was with new year, but it just felt a lot longer. I was also very looking forward to it as I was going to surprise my family with my visit. Which is very hard! Especially for my mum. Call it a mothers instinct, but she always knows. Within the 4 year I live in the UK I only managed to really surprise her twice. This time she also had the feeling that I was coming, so I had to come up with a lot of tricks to manage to surprise her at least a bit. I pretended to be at work(sending her pictures to make my story more believable), though I was only and hour away from her. So even though she expected me, she didn’t expect me the moment I walked into the living room! It was great! My dad and my brother walked in not long after that and they were surprised too, I love it!

IMG_0019I started my first morning at my mum’s work. She works in hotel restaurant ‘Rikus’ as a hostess. It’s a converted farm, which now has 9 rooms and an apartment. The thing I love about it most is that they grow their own vegetables. They have an amazing (!!) vegetable garden. Unfortunately there is nothing vegan on the menu, but I’m sure they can make a lovely summer salad from those crunchy leafs growing in the back. I always drink a tea, a freshly plucked one this time, and look at the paintings. The paintings are all made by Elise Klinkert and I love her work. She does a lot with horses and faces and they’re somewhat dreamy. Truly beautiful. You might have seen some of her work on my Instagram. If you ever need a place to sleep I would definitely recommend Rikus. The rooms are clean, spacious and it’s an excellent starting point for a hike through the forrest, breath in the fresh air or cycle from village to village. A perfect getaway for some peace and quiet.

IMG_0065In the mid afternoon I went to my best friends Nienke, Jeroen and their daughter Annemarie. We had a lovely time catching up and of course I cuddled their cute doggies Fleur and Roos and not to forget their gorgeous mini pig Madelief. Gosh I love pigs! We drunk tea, ate chocolate, made a yummy curry together and after even more chatting I had to go home. Lovely day!

My mum’s birthday on the 3rd of May! On the day itself we didn’t do a lot but baking cakes (which was hilarious, as baking isn’t really my mum’s thing), because the day after all my aunts, my grandma and a family friend came to have lunch at my mum’s work. It was a lovely celebration and a unique day. Very nice to see everybody.
Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 08.26.31On the 4th of May it’s also commemoration day in Holland to grieve for the people who’re killed during wars and everybody has 2 minutes of silence at 20:00. It always has an impact on me, especially now with all the refugees coming at the moment. What would it be nice if the world was in peace. Nobody should have to flee from their home country and leave their house and loved ones. It must be so hard for them. Let’s hope this nightmare is over very soon as everybody has the right to freedom!
The day after it’s liberation day, to celebrate Holland is free since world war ll. It’s also the national day for freedom and human rights. It’s a big happening as in a lot of cities there are festivals, with life music, performances and partying! My nephew had his first breakdance performance on the festival in Assen. The weather was beautiful, his performance was great and I was so proud of him. What a day!

IMG_0341I always see my best friends when I’m in the country and today I was going to meet Nicole. We had lunch at I the nicest place in Groningen, Anat. But in the morning we first went to a friend of ours we didn’t see in years. She just had a baby and so we thought it was a great reason to meet. We had such a good time.. and that 10 years later!
So about Anat.. I think it’s the best vegan hotspot of Groningen if it comes to food. What an incredible place. We were lucky as the weather was sooo good and we were able to sit outside in the warm sun, watching the thousands of students passing by on their bikes. You can choose several things, from soup to bread and salads, but there is also an option you can have little  bits of everything.. so you don’t have to ask me what I chose. And wohw.. the plate looked amazing and it tasted so good. IMG_0338Whilst eating I was already feeling sad that I couldn’t go again next week. We both drunk a Chai latte with almond milk, which was delicious too. We had to (had to!) have dessert of course and because there were two of us we could try both desserts. The chocolate cake and the lavender cake. Both yummy, but the chocolate wins.. duhh!
Anat isn’t very big, but there is a the possibility to sit up stairs. The interior in simple and light. Just what I like. Did I mention the colour of the outside? Love it! If you’d like to visit Anat, take a look at their website. I really recommend it, in case you didn’t got that yet. I’m definitely going back next time when I’m in Holland. No doubt.
13230803_1152302924813809_22750432_oAfter lunch we had some time left and decided to do some shopping. I always like to have a little wander around the shop ‘WAAR’. This is such a nice shop, all about sustainability. I bought 2 bars of Tony’s Chocolonely, a fair trade chocolate they only have in Holland (why?). I chose the almond and sea salt.. twice.. haha! Nienke already gave me the one with pecan and coconut, so with 3 massive chocolate bars I was good to go. ‘WAAR’ is definitely worth a visit when you’re in Groningen. It’s a bit hidden, in between the Vismarket and the Herestraat. Take a look at their website to see what else they have and where they stand for.
13210903_1152302891480479_1965184182_oGroningen also just got a ‘Dille&Kamille’. It’s my mum’s all time favourite shop as she used to work there as a teenager and just because it’s an amazing shop. It’s all natural things, beautiful colours and a lot of gardening stuff, wooden toys, kitchen tools and so much more. Take a look at their website to get an understanding of what I mean. The one in Groningen is quite big and a pleasure to be. My brother just gave me some nice wooden bowls and scoops for my recipes, so I didn’t buy anything, though I wanted to, I have to think of the size of my suitcase.

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 08.26.59Lucky me, the weather was amazing every day and on Saturday Nienke and Annemarie came to me this time and together we went to the lake ‘‘t Nije Hemelriekje‘, where you can swim and just chill. It’s only 5 minutes by car from my parents house and we spend there a lot of time as kids too. Good memories. ”t Nije Hemelriekje’ is in the middle of the forrest, surrounded by trees, but still with a nice breeze of fresh air. And because it’s only May, not a lot of people came up with the same idea and so it wasn’t that crowded as it can be sometimes. We brought a little picnic, splashed the cold water and had a good laugh. Life is beautiful!

IMG_0417On Sunday morning I went to another friend, Esther. She just got a new dog, an English Bulldog, and of course I had to meet her. Her name is Lucy and she is so cute and very beautiful. It was a quick visit, but so worth it. It’s always nice to catch up with her. And not to forget the amazing pink blossom trees in her garden. I’m happy I was able to take a few pics. I loved when it was raining blossoms, little moments of happiness!
In the afternoon my sister organised a picnic in the forrest to celebrate my niece Joella’s birthday. Who was going to turn 2 the next day. A picnic, surrounded by trees, nature, animals, amazing sunny weather, good company and vegan food. I could’t ask for more!

IMG_0713Monday, the last day! A day I decided to have for myself. So I packed some sandwiches in the morning and a bottle of water and jumped on a bike. I cycled for about 15 km through nature. I went to ‘Balloerveld‘, where you have amazing heathlands and flat white sand. It’s very nice to cycle there. I made a stop in the middle of the field, had my lunch and just sat(ok, at one point I laid down)on a bench, enjoying the silence and the birds singing. A bit further I bumped into the shepherd and her sheep. I loved to see the sheep, but I must admit as a vegan I don’t really agree with the whole idea. I love that the sheep can walk around there and are in their natural habitat though. In the back of the flock there IMG_0717was a mother sheep with her baby and the mum was limping and could hardly walk. But the shepherd was forcing her to walk by directing her with her stick and send the dog. It wasn’t a nice thing to look at. And if that wasn’t enough, 10 minutes later there was another mother sheep and her lam all alone, panicking, looking for her flock. I felt so sad for her. There wasn’t much I could do, but I hope she found them eventually.
Also because it was Joella’s actual birthday, we all went out for dinner that evening. It’s the kind of restaurant where you can eat as much as you want, and of course I ate until my stomach was nearly exploding. But we had a good time and there were quite some vegan options! It was a good end of my holiday.

IMG_0785Tuesday I did have some time as my flight was going in the evening. I used it to just relax a bit. I made everybody lunch and then my mum dropped me off at the train station. I went via Eindhoven Airport, what means I do have to travel for 3 hours before I’m actually at the airport. I like to do that as I can see Holland from north to south. Watching the fields, the cows and the sheep is so nice. It gives me time to reflect and to be thankful, because what a lovely holiday it was! It always goes so fast though, but I went home with a lot of nice memories!

Chai latte with almond milk at Anat,, yum!

Chai latte with almond milk at Anat,, yum!

Inside Anat

Inside Anat.

Chocolate and lavender cake at Anat.

Chocolate and lavender cake at Anat.

Books at WAAR.

Books at WAAR.

Tony's Chocolonely I bought at WAAR!

Tony’s Chocolonely I bought at WAAR!

The beautiful pink blossoms in Esther's garden.

The beautiful pink blossoms in Esther’s garden.

Picnic party!

Picnic party!

Did anybody visit any of these hotspots? Or are you going to after reading this? Please let me know or show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X



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