Day 1. We arrive at 9:30pm. Whenever we have a Monday off, everyone seems to be fleeing Brussels in favor of either France or The Netherlands. We chose the latter, Groningen, to be precise. Finally at our destination, the Datcha, we enter an oasis of calm. The garden is beautiful and just perfect in this heat.
We go for a quick bite at a local tapas restaurant, Bar Bodega Cervantes. Probably not our top choice, had we arrived earlier. But they are the only ones serving food after 11:00pm.
Back at the Datcha, we fall asleep, exhausted. Nothing. Not a sound. Except the croaking of frogs in the pond nearby.
Day 2. A day we spend entirely on our bikes. I love that. Our first stop, the market. Of course. We stroll around, and make mental shopping lists for later – fish, avocados and tomatoes, strawberries, smoked fish perhaps?, maatjes, a bottle of rosé. Why not stop for a glass of rosé first? Relax.
After our drink we head to V.D.Leij. More than just a cheese store, it is a cheese heaven. We end up buying Gouda Vieux Rouge. Simply gorgeous. The kind of cheese that makes your tongue hurt when you eat it. Do you know what I mean? Another stop: lunch. Shrimps. Back on our bikes, we ride around Groningen. A modern city, impressive architecture. We book a boat ride to see the city from the water.
Before we head back, we go back to the market and buy an impressive fish. And all the rest. For dinner tomorrow. I mean, look at this fish. All for 5.00euro. I never bought this much fish for so little.
Dinner tonight is planned at Restaurant de Parelvisser. Unfortunately they are closed. Instead, we go to Boccaccio, a Tuscan restaurant we noticed earlier. Our dinner is more than delicious: a selection of antipasti, Mark opts for the pigeon, I go for the fish of the day. We sip perfectly chilled white wine. Around us the buzz of a fully booked terrace. It is the beginning of summer.
Day 3. We leave Groningen and go up north. As far north as it goes. On the way we stop in Zonenkamp, and visit a quaint, perfect fishermen village. Coincidence has it and we stumble upon a fish festival. Love it.
Back at the Datcha, we get cooking. We sip rosé. Enjoy the fish. Listen to some music. And wish time would stay still. There and then.
Day 4. It’s over. Not before we stop in Keukenhof and stroll through fields of tulips. Then, Brussels.
Bar Bodega Cervantes– if not for dinner, then a buzzy place for a late drink
Gedempte Kattendiep 23
Restaurant de Parelvisser– seafood specialities
V.D. Leij Kaashandel – Dutch cheese shop
And if you are up for it, we came across the Culinair Wandelen which sounds like great fun. However, I think they are in Dutch only.
What are your favorite long weekend break spots?