Following the Dutch shooting which took place on a tram in Utrecht three days ago (read all about it here), I can’t help but remember the beautiful day I spent in Utrecht when I visited in December 2017.
It was a clear crisp winter day. The sun was shining, white snow lay everywhere from the previous night, the air was refreshing, and the cobbled streets of the medieval city center bustled with joyous students on bikes, excited tourists and busy locals. The scent of freshly baked bread was in the air, and colorful flowers adorned many shop-fronts.
The canals were so pretty in the early morning light! It is such a romantic city.
My first stop was gothic Saint Martin’s Cathedral. Although the current cathedral was built in the 13th century, it rests on a much older church which had been damaged in a fire. The church itself had been built on the ruins of a Roman fortress.
The cathedral’s vaulted interiors, stained glass and beautiful sculptures are really a sight to behold, and I was truly enchanted by the atmosphere of mystery and historical meaning attached to it.
Apart from the Cathedral, another amazing stop in Utrecht is the Dom Tower, which is the tallest church tower in the Netherlands. The tower was built in the 14th century to showcase the power of the city, and with its 14 enormous bells and incredible height, it surely does that!
Unfortunately I was suffering from severe back problems caused by a slipped disc at the time, so I wasn’t able to climb up the 465 steps to the top of the Dom Tower (there is no lift). Instead, I walked around the city, enjoying its flavor.
Needless be said, I somehow gravitated towards the local bookstore (for those who haven’t taken a peek at the ‘About Me‘ section yet, I’m a total bookworm and book-hoarder) and I took the opportunity to purchase Isabel Allende’s ‘Eva Luna’, which I had been hankering after for some time.
After walking around some more, I stopped at a pretty little bar for my lunch, and even tried out one of the local beers.
There are many other attractions to be found in the city, such as the Central Museum, the Railway Museum, the underground archaeological ruins, Utrecht Botanic Garden and the Grand Canal, among others.
Later on in the day, after having enjoyed roaming around the city to my heart’s content, I visited the Castle De Haar, which is to be found around half an hour away (by car) from the city itself. This fairytale location however deserves a blogpost of its own,… more later 🙂