Make yourself a cup of coffee or tea and be ready to find yourself in the coziest places in Holland.
After admiring all those enormous andmodern architecture in Rotterdam I’ve decided to travel to more Holland type cities and that is how I found myself in the train going to Utrecht.
From the first small paved street that leads from the railway station to the city I started feeling myself very different. Even though it was early morning and there were not many people around, this city has hugged me and kind of whispered “feel yourself at home”.
I didn’t know any directions to follow, any spots to see, I just grabbed a map (remember my tip from previous post?) and started wondering.
Everything around was still in deep sleep and it was perfect. From street to street, from bridge to bridge the feeling of being tourist was flying away. I just picked the direction (in a way “hm…I will turn left here”), put on the headphones and started exploring.
It seemed like people living there felt themselves as in the fairytale: tiny gardens near the houses, small decorations around the doors, candles on the windows and of course nicely parked bicycles by the entrance. Utrecht would be perfect for the artists, as amazing paintings could be done everywhere.
I decided not go straight to the center and found a beautiful park, extremely green after the night rain and admirably empty: no tourists, no excursions and no huge groups of students shouting. This place would be just perfect for the every Sunday morning walk with a dog – oh how lucky the locals are.
By the exit of the park I found an awesome place in front of The Central Museum, which I recommend you to explore, especially if you are traveling with kids – The Dick Bruna House.
This place is totally created for kids, where the book character - colorful Miffy rabbit is waiting for them.
Even I has felt myself as I child there. Several rooms are telling about the history and the creator of Miffy and everything is interactive – kids can push the buttons, sing, draw pictures and enjoy every minute. On the second floor a special gym is created where you and your children can play together and do whatever you like. This place is full of laugh and happiness. So just get inside!
When you are back to grown up life again take a walk along the canal and allow yourself a bit of windows gazing. Dutchmen are very open people and as they say they have nothing to hide. That is why they don’t have any curtains on the windows and if you are so eager to feel how locals are living just have a quick look at someone’s window (though, remember being polite and try not stare for a long time J ) As I am fond of the interior designs and international life-style, this experience appeared to be indeed interesting. Locals have a great taste and their apartments in those old tiny houses look extremely cozy and sweet. Did you notice it?
By the end of your window gazing trip you will find yourself in the heart of Utrecht surrounded by magnificent medieval Dom Tower and Dom Church. If you are lucky enough you will have a possibility to climb the tower and to see the beauty of the city from the high. But don’t get upset if you are not, you still have a possibility to go inside to the incredible church garden. I’ve spent there almost an hour sitting and admiring it, watching people going here and there and listening to the bell sound. Great place!
You will be amazed of what Utrecht can offer: from long shops streets to green parks; from small cozy cafes to fancy ancient restaurants; from old universities on every street to modern blows shown in architecture, sculptures and even in crosswalks :) Everyone will find something special here – all you need is just look around.
And if it is not enough for you, by the way home just stop for the couple of hours in Gouda – the cheesy city. It is very popular for its cheese festivals and markets, but even without them this tiny town is great for a small walk.
You will see a magic Town House and the main scene of all the festivals; you will have a chance to see the famous Dutch windmills surrounded by small cozy houses and of course you will taste the prominent cheese of which locals are very proud.
In fact, Gouda (the cheese) is everywhere in Gouda (the city) J You can find a shop on every street, the lights in the center are made of its shape and there is even a huge monument to the cow – as the main source of its preparation. I bet you will enjoy it.