When you leave anywhere that you’ve made memories, you leave a piece of yourself there. My year abroad was one of the most memorable of my life, so the itch to reunite with the place and revel in the nostalgia was unbearable, until I found cheap flights back to the Netherlands and cemented a weekend break back in Nijmegen.
The aim was to retrace my steps, re-drink my sips and re-eat my swallows. So first things first, we (and by we, I mean me and my friend Dan, who visited me for a week in 2017, so there were collective mems!) took a long walk along the beach. The sprawl of the sand along the river took me back to a happy summer lounging with a beer, and to the food festival that took place under the bridge.
Next up was the Honig Factory, where we ate delicious beef croquettes and bread, and savoured every sip of European beer. There’s something SO much better about European beer.
The day continued in a similar vein, beer, food, beer, making absolutely sure to drink lots of La Chouffe (DELICIOUS), and get a burger from Restaurant Wally (The BEST).
To our surprise and delight, the ‘Kermis’ started on the night we were there, which is Nijmegen’s annual funfair, which is enormous and popular and decorates the entire city. We wandered around before heading back to the hotel to prepare for a night on the town.
We stayed at Hotel Credible which is really well located, quirky and with the comfiest beds! The night consisted of bar hopping, beer shotting and dance bopping into the early hours.
The weather was rather miserable the next day, so we had a quick flick through the Valkhof museum before seeking solace in a Mexican restaurant which did delightful burritos. After buying an umbrella we headed back to the Honig and drank coffee for hours..
Trains aren’t so cheap in the Netherlands, so we flixbussed to Eindhoven in preparation for our flight, and luckily stumbled upon a café straight out of a movie. The décor was like nothing I’ve ever seen; an eclectic gallery of a lounge. We played pool and chess and wiled away the hours until we flew home.
One weekend isn’t enough to chew over all the memories I have in Nijmegen, and there’s only so much you can consume in one night, but that doesn’t detract from how amazing it was to be back. It was bittersweet to leave again, and I almost feel emotional writing this. I never really understood the saying until now, but Nijmegen certainly has my heart.
For any post-Erasmus people out there, definitely revisit your city. Don’t worry about it not feeling the same and disappointing you. It won’t.