A Day Out In… Groningen

MargaWeimans-Carolien-Peter I woke up early yesterday morning, did some of my administration, dropped some mail at the postoffice and got me some fresh bread. All of that before 8.30 AM. Back at home I made some coffee and then had to wait till my companion of my trip up north would show up. The taxi driver showed-up far too early, but he waited too. Within two minutes Caroline arrived and we took our seats in the back of the car. Another passenger was sitting up front and we had to drop her off near Alkmaar.

The whole two-hour trip we talked, about everything and nothing. When we finally arrived at the Groningen Museum we first went for a much-needed coffee and some sweet “silent seducers” (aka cake). We came to see the creations of fashion designer Marga Weimans. Over a month ago I saw some of her work also at the public library in Amsterdam, and this was a show we both wanted to see. Some of her work is wearable others are just too sculptural, but nonetheless beautiful made with lots of details.

Okay, I knew you couldn’t use flash to photograph the exhibits, but I couldn’t find the switch to turn it off. So I sneaked a picture or two, three… okay eight when the security attendants weren’t looking. Even Caroline and/or her alter ego Luna Lunettes loved the spotlights.

The museum is a piece of art by itself, designed by head architect Allesandro Mendini and with the help of Philipe Starck, Michele de Lucchi and Coop Himmelblau. It looks like a mish-mash of buildings but together they fit right in. The main viewing halls are about a meter (3 feet) under water, so when you walk from one building to the next and look out of the windows you get another perspective of the building and its surroundings. Just sitting opposite of the main railway station it forms a buffer to the rest of the city behind it.

margaWeymans-Carolien-Peter2After the exhibit more coffee was needed before we went on our way towards the center of town. I called Big Sis who lives in Grun (dialect) and told her about our plans, maybe we could meet somewhere near the Grote Markt or the Martini-tower. Officially I wanted to take a taxi to get there but after I asked how far it was to the centre of town, we just walked.

We enjoyed the small speciali’ty shops, but also the buildings. On the corner of Gedempt Zuiderdiep I saw a wonderful building, it looked like a former school but build in Amsterdam School style. Caroline found a plaque on which it explained that the building was an extension to another one build in the 1880’s, and the architect had a connection with… Amsterdam in the 1920’s. It was not a school but the municipal building for Public Works, just as it was almost a hundred years ago.

Crossing the Zuiderdiep you’ll find the Groningen synagogue on Folkingestraat, build in a Moorish style. Folkingestraat is a delight for shoppers, of course we didn’t need a thing but went zigzagging from window to window. And then there was Small & Tall. I don’t fit in the first category but could find myself in the second.

Earlier that same morning, before the administration and the other things I was looking for some shirts and sweaters online, only to find out (in the end) they didn’t deliver to the Netherlands. And here I was in a shop that catered to very small people and the extra tall. The sales person picked out the right articles, and some of the wrong, that’s the play in the theater called ‘selling goods’. So 3 sweaters later and two shirts we were on our way again.

On the corner of A-kerkhof and Vismarkt stands the Korenbeurs, a grand classical building that houses now a… supermarket. Inside and outside it’s a monument so we just looked in and saw the cast iron structure of the hall that houses ‘Big Blue’ (no, not IBM!).

CIMG6174It was time to put our feet up, I heard Big Sis telling me of the Feith House, a former patrician home now turned into a café / restaurant. THAT was the place to go! We both wanted something special, and what’s more special then a local beer… especially when it’s the bock-beer time of the year. So we both had Oma’s Pruim which translates to Grandma’s Plum, but since this is a studentproject I think they mean with ‘plum’ some other part of Grandma’s anatomy.

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