Bremen to Groningen The Netherlands

It was a bit sad leaving the couchsurf in Bremen to head to the Netherlands this morning. We’ve visited Christina about four times now and we’re proud to call her a friend. She was the very first person we Couchsurfed with when we visited Europe back in 2010. Her son Lukas and his friend Felix also stayed with us in Perth. Since then we’ve visited them every time we visit Germany. When we backpacked across Asia and Europe at the beginning of our trip Christina and Felix met us at the train station giving us a warm welcome when we arrived in Bremen. It was sad to say goodbye wondering when we’ll visit again.
The weather looked a bit grey and dark so it looked like we’d be using our wet weather gear today.

Heading west from Bremen we passed through lots of farming country. Fields of barley, corn, and hay stretched out as far as the eye could see. Occasionally we’d spot a dairy herd of Friesian cows happily grazing on the lush green grass. With all the rain recently the countryside was just alive with spring growth.

As we only have to travel a short distance our plan was to visit an old castle town along the way. We got off the autobahn and onto the state highway which took us along one of the main canals. The canals run north to south not far from the border and on them long barges ply their trade. Unfortunately once we left the autobahn we were struck by roadworks after roadworks. The detours took us around and around the countryside adding extra kilometres to our journey but not getting us closer to our destination.

A few times we arrived at road closed signs with no detour signs. It was so frustrating. The satnav had no chance as every time it recalculated it took us to another road closure.

As we drew closer to the Dutch border the grey clouds got lower and lower until finally they sprung a leak. It seems weird that it’s raining in summer but hey it’s the northern hemisphere. When Belinda Carlisle sang about dancing in the summer rain I wondered what he hell she was on about. Now I know.

With the rain pelting down, the satnav went flat and of course the iPhone quickly followed suit. It was enough to make you cry.eventually we just gave up and headed for the border.
As we crossed the border the bike hit reserve so we pulled into the services to top up. In the rest area attached to the servo was a restaurant so we thought we’d have a break from the rain and a bight to eat.

The waiter lured us with the best steak in The Netherlands so of course we rose to the bait. They had a lunch special steak and when it arrived it was quite a good size. Needless to say it was a cracking lunch which we both thoroughly enjoyed as the rain steadily fell against the window. However, when it came time to pay what we thought was a cheap steak was suddenly an expensive steak. What we thought was the lunch special was actually the gourmet steak. Oops looks like we’ll be eating baked beans for the rest of the month.
Crossing into the Netherland’s it was quite interesting the subtle change in landscape with absolutely flat land with the occasional windmill. The countryside of course was criss crossed with canals and like Germany huge fields of corn, barley, wheat spread out in all directions. It was interesting comparing the size of houses on either side of the border. On the German side of the border, the houses are large two storey cottages with a loft whilst on the Dutch side smaller one level bungalows with a loft are the norm.

The run from the border to Groningen was quite quick. The weather was just so miserable that it became just a matter of keeping your head down and opening up the throttle.

Arriving in Groningen we soon found our couchsurf in a three storey apartment block the style of which seem to be everywhere. Our host was waiting for us and after parking up we took all of our wet gear down to the basement to dry out. It was so good to be out of the rain. The rest of the day we spent chatting to our host and learning a bit about Groningen. We got a few tips about the city and a few spots worth visiting in Holland. Tomorrow weather permitting we’ll check out the city centre of Groningen.

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