Day 14: To Groningen and Beyond

Now waiting at Hbf (too lazy to spell the whole name) train station in Cologne, while sipping on my Java Chip Frap. Today’s such a nice day out today, so I’m sitting on the patio. It’s sunny and there’s a nice breeze today so it isn’t hot at all. The first two days here I was sweating buckets and the AC in the hotel wasn’t exactly very strong.

Just got approached by a row of homeless people.  There’s 3 of them going to table-to-table asking for change; in German of course.  Just shook my head and they moved on to the next table.  I find that homeless people in Europe are a lot more active than the ones in Toronto.  But, they also look a lot more miserable.

Well! Goodbye Cologne!

… (Hours later in Groningen)

I took 2 connecting trains.  First one was in Arhem and then in another one in Zwolle before ending up in Groningen.  Called my aunt once I landed – whom I’ve never met in my life – and she told me to take the number 3 bus that would head near their street.  I hopped on and used my Google Maps to figure out which stopped to get off.  Google maps has little icons that says where’s the stops, and I just got off at the stop near my uncle’s street.

When I got off I was greeted by 4 little Dutch kids! I had no idea what they were saying but pretty sure it was something along the lines of welcome.  The smallest one wanted to help me with my luggage but I couldn’t let a 40 lbs boy carry and 40 lbs suitcase.  Luckily my uncle only lives on the 2nd floor of his apartment so it wasn’t all that hard to carry it up.  My uncle wasn’t home yet so my aunt helped me settle in and I hung out with my newly discovered cousins in the living room while I unpacked my stuff into my room.

First thing I did was get my internet working on my phone so I could use Google Translate! Thank you Google for making this trip to Groningen possible! When my uncle got home it was a little easier since he understands some English and Cantonese.  He helped me translate a lot of thing on the spot and I’ve already picked up a bit of Dutch now.  For dinner we had some vegetarian lasagna, since my uncle’s a vegetarian Buddhist.

After dinner my uncle took me around the area.  He has this garden in his area that he shares with his neighbours.  It’s pretty cool.  Each household gets a small plot of soil and can grow whatever they want.  We ended up picking some green peas and lingonberries.  Later we went to go pick up some of the Netherlands’ famous french fries.  They’re REALLY good here.  Especially with their mayonnaise and satay sauce.