So after tiring the arms and legs with the Font bouldering, we headed to the Netherlands (not Holland as Sander explained to me). It's flat, as flat as a pancake so there was no temptation to climb :(. First stop was Delft for a couple of days to catch up with Barry and Kasia, who was visiting him too at the time. Delft is a really cute Dutch town filled with canals, traditional Dutch architecture and the most crooked steeple ever. It would give the tower of Pisa a run for its money. All the squares are filled mellow beer gardens and open-air cafes which were the perfect location to chill out and catch up on all Barry's adventures since leaving Ireland, especially since we were blessed with good weather. The first night there, the Irish man in Barry was determined to enjoy a few drinks with mates. Unfortunately for him, he's now a featherweight in those stakes so watching him put together his recent purchase of a bed from Ikea after the couple of pints was very entertaining! Of course Duncan maintains that Ikea is the Swedish for one part missing so that might explain the difficulties. The next day we wandered round Delft and took the tram to the beach in the Hague for a stroll. It was really good to catch up with the guys and see Barry settling in.
After Delft, we headed north to Groningen to catch up with a couple of Dunk's mates, Sander and Bernard. We stayed with Sander and his lovely wife Esther on Friday night. Esther had popped into town before we arrived to get us a selection of Dutch delicacies. We tried pickled herring (the jury is still out - good taste, raw fish texture), stroop waffle, orange cake (doesn't actually contain orange and is pink!!), liquorice and my favourite, sugar bread. I love sugar bread. Mmmmmmmmmm. Sander and Dunk had a great time looking at Sander and Esther's project, the renovation of a boat to potter round the Dutch canals.
On Saturday, Dunk brought me to see the latest Harry Potter. Yay! We had to catch it in the Netherlands to have any chance of seeing it in English. Afterwards we met up with Bernard who has recently moved to Groningen for love! And had just scored a job the day before. Congrats B! We had a really good night with dinner, drinks and one of Donovan's glow sticks. B's better half, Remke, and her friends caught up with us too. All good fun.
On Sunday, we chilled out and enjoyed the Dutch café culture before saying goodbye and hitting the road for Mickey and Katrin's wedding in Sweden.