Dutch countryside: Heino, Groningen, Lemelerveld

I've spent most of the past week in Lemelerveld, a small village outside Heino, and this weekend I took an overnight trip to Groningen. The Dutch countryside is beautiful: landscaped meticulously, green and clean, sheep and ponies grazing as if they belong on a postcard.

Groningen is especially nice, somewhat large by Dutch standards but still small enough to walk everywhere. I ate some delicious traditional Dutch food (croquettes and other deep-fried meat-and-potato snacks) and visited the Groninger Museum, which I later read was designed by a famous Italian architect, Alessandro Mendini. The museum itself is built on the water, so when you're on the ground floor, you look out the windows to the canal at eye level.

The Groninger Museum featured an exhibit by Chinese photographer, Chi Peng, whose digitally manipulated images are too dramatically contrived for my taste, but impressive in large format.

To get from Lemelerveld to the train station in Heino, I cycled about 30 minutes by some farms that made me wish I had a Dutch passport so I could retire in some anonymous, beautiful corner of the world. The entire country is flat flat flat, so it's easy to cycle anywhere and everywhere.