This was the scene driving through the north-eastern provinces of Friesland and Groningen when we went for a visit to my youngest niece Babet and her boyfriend Joes, whom had recently moved there.
Due to several nights of a hard freeze people in the north of the country were skating on 'natural' ice everywhere!
It was nice and sunny enough but a hard wind and very cold temperatures made for a blustery day!
After admiring the new apartment and catching up over coffee we braved the outdoors for a visit into Groningen (the capital of the province of Groningen):
Our motley crew
Typical dutch: a 'draai-orgel' or barrel organ and racks full of parked bikes!
After a leisurely stroll through the main shopping street we visited 'the Forum', a new, ultra-modern cultural center that houses a library, cinema, and parts of the Groninger Museum.
It being a Saturday there were several food-markets going on and we grabbed some olives and off-course some cheese for our future happy-hours ..
We were treated to a colorful, wintry sunset on the way home:
It stayed very cold for a couple more days and I enjoyed the pretty views on my invigorating early morning walks to the dike.
I love it that it takes me only 3-5 minutes to see the ocean!
It is iconic for the small village of Huisduinen and for me it has signaled 'home' for all my life I lived in the area.
It's pretty much impossible to take a picture around here without it in it!
Maybe this one .. this is looking into the Grafelijkheidsduinen, the most northern dune area of the mainland in the Netherlands:
Or this one .. looking into the village of Huisduinen as seen from standing on top of the dike:
Decked out in Christmas lights it looks very idyllic doesn't it?
That Sunday we also revisited 'De Nollen', the unique art project of Rudi van de Wint, who happened to be the husband of my cousin Riet who's cabin we we're staying at.
We've visited before but since his sons, my nephews, are continuing to complete the project he started (and for which he left numerous blueprints behind when he unexpectedly died of a heart attack), there's always something new to see and experience.
It was, again, a blistery cold and windy day, but we braved the outdoors during one of the guided tours that are offered, which takes you through the beautifully restored little dune-landscape and along (and sometimes inside) the many large sculptures and structures ..
The project is closed in the winter but for every last Sunday of the month when they have a special event going on.
This time around the theme was Celtic and we enjoyed a couple of hours of Celtic folk music while warming up next to the fire with some hot spicy wine!
Outside the flame of one of the art sculptures could be seen clearly now in the darkening sky.
Only 3 days to go to the Winter solstice when nature's light will return!