On Saturday the 13th of September, stichting RUW organised a cycling tour around Wageningen. For students who are new to Wageningen, or that are curious to find out more about the place they live, this was the perfect opportunity to get to know the highlights of the city!
Cycling to campus on an early Saturday morning, one could hardly ask for more peace and quiet. Apart from the occasional jogger, the streets are nearly empty. The air is fresh, although a bit cloudy, and a soft wind is blowing. A lovely day for a cycling tour around Wageningen!
Gathering at the entrance of one of the university buildings, a small group of foreign students forms. Most of them have only just arrived in Wageningen, and do not know the city and its surroundings very well. That is where this activity of RUW comes in. Letting them see some sustainable initiatives and the nature around the city.
Creative Community Garden
When everyone has arrived, we get on our bikes and start our tour at a “creative community garden”. It is an initiative linked to the social farm “Hoge Born”. Students run a plot of ground where they have small pieces of land to rent for students, a tiny “forest” which will be an experimental place for growing mushrooms and a greenhouse, that has unfortunately recently broken down. The initiative has only just started, and is not very well known yet, a pity, for it has a lot of opportunities!
The garden does a lot of recycling, this normal old oven, for example, is transformed into a wood-burning pizza oven.
“De Blauwe Kamer”
Next up is a longer stretch of cycling, after which we arrive at nature reserve “de Blauwe Kamer”. It is a rather small, but beautiful area of nature. It is also very valuable because of the more than seventy bird species breeding there and lots of other animals living there as well.
A Movie and a Walk
First we get to see a movie about the area and the Dutch river works, then we head out into the nature. Now the sun has broken through and it is just perfect weather for a walk around the area! We are guided around the reserve by a employee of the park. He shows us the characteristics of the area and tells us a bit more about the history.
Ruins covered in plants
It was very nice to hear more about the old ruins standing in the area. I had been there before (read about that visit here), but never knew much about them. Now I know they are part of the brick factory that was there in old times, and how they came into decay.
We also got the opportunity to look for birds from the observatory, there was a chance of spotting an osprey, but we didn’t have the luck to see it.
Time for Lunch
Being outside makes a person hungry, so when the tour is over, we head for the river Rhine to eat our lunch. We find a lovely spot on a small stretch of beach and enjoy the sunshine while we refill our energy.
Lazuur Food Community
After lunch, it’s back on our bikes again! Cycling over the dikes, we make our way back to the city again. There we have an appointment with the Organic Grocery Store, Lazuur Food Community. One of the regular employees shows us around and explains the shop’s philosophy. They try to source as many products as possible locally, or if that is not possible, at least as environmental friendly as they can.
I love the shop! When possible, I try to buy most of my food there. Not only do they have practically everything you might need, organic and with as little additives as possible, they also have a lot of “different” foods. With that I mean mostly things that are more common in alternative and vegan cooking. For example, they have all kinds of so-called “forgotten vegetables”, which were really common in old times, but are now rarely used any more. Shopping there always feels like a little treat to me!
Winner of the day
When we come outside, the winner of the day’s quiz is announced. After every stop, there were some questions related to the place we visited, and whoever got the most correct became winner of the day. A small round of applause and a nice gift were for the lucky victor.
Windmill “de Vlijt”
Our last stop is at the windmill of Wageningen. There is some sort of festival going on in the surrounding neighbourhood, so we don’t really have the opportunity of talking there. But we now at least know the windmill is there for all our organic flours, grains and whatsoever more.
Because of the hectics of the festival, there is only a very short goodbye, and then everybody is off to home or going to explore the many festival stands.
All in all, I had a lovely day out! The shown highlights were nice and useful for the new students and it was great to meet some new people. Thank you for the tour, RUW!
Stichting RUW regularly organises activities related to recent themes. They offer group discussions, lectures, debates and excursion. By doing so, their goal is to motivate young people to think critically about their surroundings and form a dynamic platform. Activities are open to all students in Wageningen. Find out more on the website of Stichting RUW.