It’s nice waking up on a Monday and only having three days of work in the coming week. By Wednesday night, my parents arrived up from France having visited my cousin and some friends on the way up in Alsace and Germany.
Early Thursday morning we got up to go the the airport to pick up Catherine’s parents who flew in on the first flight. After showing them our apartment and enjoying coffee and tea, we headed out to lunch. After lunch Catherine’s parents made their way to Groningen where they were booked into a hotel for the night. We returned home to pick up my mum and dad and head into Amsterdam. But first, we needed to solve a common problem, tablet addiction….
After dragging the youth away from their devices, we headed into town and had a look round, starting at Waterlooplein and walking over to Rembrandtplein, De Munt, taking in the flower market and walking up to Spuistraat to have a drink where, much to Catherine’s look of terror, we were joined by a mouse scurrying about under the benches.
From there we walked slowly over to the Overtoom by way of the Apple store (because that’s what you do right, just to check everything out, even though it’s the same as last month when you visited), and Bever outdoor sports, because Dad and I are the kind of guys who could look at and debate the merits of outdoor gear for days, (much to both our partners dismay).
We tried to get into an Indonesian restaurant, but it was full so we crossed the road and went to a Thai restaurant instead. (We knew both, so we weren’t disappointed). After dinner, a walk through De Wallen was the done thing before catching a metro home.
Friday was my big day! Finally, graduation day! We got suited and booted and jumped in the car for the 2 hour drive up north to Groningen, where we met Catherine’s parents, and because we were early, went off for coffee and cake. At the required timeslot, we returned to the main academy building for my short graduation ceremony, which took 15 minutes all-told.
My supervisor delivered a short speech on how we met and the work that was put in throughout my thesis project (and that is ongoing, my thesis has been adapted into a book chapter on lean management). Thereafter, it was time to sign my diploma, and with a handshake, I was a graduate!
Then followed the customary pictures on the main stairway in the academy building.
Thank you Mike for showing up and for the beer!
I then took everyone to lunch. We wanted pizza, but our favourite place didn’t fire up the pizza oven until 3, so (quite fittingly I think) we went to the Goudkantoor, which turns out to be the place my parents and I ate the first time when they brought me up to Groningen to move in over two years ago, therefore I thought it would bookend my life in Groningen quite nicely.
Saturday morning my parents hit the road for Germany to visit friends on the way home. We met up with Catherine’s parents in town and after a quick lunch, checked out the queue at the Van Gogh museum to see the Munch exhibition. However we decided that 45 minutes was a long wait and that we would book online and return the next day, so instead we walked back and had a canal tour.
We then walked through the Vondelpark. At that point I decided everyone looked thirsty, and miraculously, we ended up one street away from Craft and Draft…. 😉 so in we went for a couple rounds. After that we returned up towards Nieuw Markt for some chinese food at one of the best addresses in Amsterdam, Nam Kee. As per usual, Catherine and I ordered the calf tripe, and salt and pepper squid. The chinese waiter always does a double take when I order the tripe. He always double checks that I do indeed want the tripe, to which I always tell him, of course, bring it on! I also have him remove the plates and cutlery and bring bowls and chopsticks instead. Just for extra authenticity.
And with that, have a good Sunday!