For weeks we were looking forward to the end of March, the moment the Whisky Festival Noord Nederland was going to be held again for the 9th time. Every year this stands for a meeting of a changing and growing group of friends, enjoying a great whiskyfestival together and exploring the world of whisky. For several years now, we stay at one of the friends who lives in Groningen and opens his house, making it very (very) convenient for all of us to convert a festival visit into a weekend trip.
photo by Rolf & Nicole Kruger
On Saturday the 29th we traveled north with part of the group. An obligatory stop in Scharnegoutum at the Wijn & Whisky Schuur, a farm house that stores over 2000 drinks of which 1200 are whisky – was fitted into the planning nicely. Whenever we are in the neighbourhood of a nice shop with ditto collection, we just have to visit. After browsing around a bit and buying a thank you present for our host, it was time to continue to our destination.
photo by Rolf & Nicole Kruger
Welcomed with a nice cup of coffee and some time spent in the first rays of sunlight, the city centre of Groningen was waiting for us to have some dinner at Mr Mofongo, where another friend would join us, who we earlier had met at Maltstock, and had bought a ticket for the festival that gave him access to all sessions. Mr Mofongo is not just an excellent place to have dinner, they also have a robotic barkeeper (well, sort of) and a small working distillery in the middle of the location.
Five Angus steaks, a good saté and a ‘jump and surf’ later, clock was ticking for us to get in line at the festival, something we were all very much looking forward to. The atmosphere was great, the sun was shining and the venue of Der Aa-church was once again filled with many lovely drams for us to explore.
|photo by Rolf & Nicole Kruger|
It was a busy festival and after entering the church the group split up in bits and in ones and twos, each wandered along the stands and enjoyed all some of the drams that were available. Sometimes the group found each other again, sharing glasses and tips on what to taste next.
|By boat to the pub|
We were enjoying the festival in a relaxed way, meeting a lot of people and catching up a bit. We always have too little time at festivals, with too many people to meet, and too many lovely drams waiting to be savoured. This time too, the session was over before we knew it, and we found ourselves outside again where we gathered the group in order to go to festival sponsor and awesome pub called De Toeter.
Through the canals of Groningen by night, we traveled by boat to the pub, whilst enjoying a nice dram and some snacks that were provided. Again a great atmosphere, and a lovely way to see Groningen from another angle. The pub was filled with people from the festival enjoying a nice dram, beer or soft drink after a long working day.
|Having fun at De Toeter|
It was a great way to end a wonderful day, with good friends and drams. It was already too late to tell time when we got at our friend’s home, where most of us did not need long to close our eyes and catch some of that much needed sleep. As traditions go, Sunday morning we were woken by the smell of coffee and a full English breakfast, created by our host.
Another nice one, we are already looking forward to wfnn 2015, and see what they have in stock for us at their 10th anniversary. Maybe try our luck with a multipass too next year, to cover the fact we have too little time to talk to everyone we want to see…
Ansgar & Thomas