Our last destination in the Netherlands was the city of Utrecht! I found Utrecht to be the chiller, less touristy, but just-as-beautiful cousin of Amsterdam.
This being our 10th day in the Netherlands, we were pretty tired and decided to just take it easy instead of having an intense agenda. We managed to make it to a few tourist attractions, but overall the vibe of this university town was perfect for a sunny, carefree stroll!
Our first tourist stop was not too far from the train station: the Miffy crosswalk! Miffy is a children’s book character created by the Dutch artist Dick Bruna. The Netherlands seem to be very proud of Miffy. Miffy merchandise can be found in gift shops all over!
For lunch we went to an adorable cafe called de keuken van Thijs. In case you’re wondering how we chose places to eat, we just Tripadvisor’ed it in the moment. We didn’t do too much planning for this visit so we had a relaxed schedule and could do what we felt like, which was nice!
We got REALLY lucky with weather during this trip. Our first few days in the Netherlands was gloomy and foggy, but after that, it’s been clear skies and sunshine every day!
There is one thing that I didn’t get to do but really wanted to, and that is to rent a boat and float down the canal! What better way to enjoy this nice weather? Sadly everyone else seemed to have the same thought so all the boat rentals were booked. Boo! If you anticipate good weather in the Netherlands, please book a boat rental in advance and let me live vicariously through you!!
Our big tourist stop for the day was the Dom Tower. At 112 meters, it’s the tallest tower in the Netherlands and the pride and joy of Utrecht. Construction on the tower started in 1321 (!!! that is so long ago!), though of course it wasn’t completed until several decades after. It was built to be a part of St. Martin’s Cathedral, but the part connected to the cathedral collapsed in 1674 as a result of a tornado attack (!!!). And the Dom has been a free-standing tower ever since! And of course that is just a shortened version of the history of the Dom Tower, which I’m sure has seen some things during its time!
We bought tickets for the tower tour, and headed on up!
It’s 465 steps up the tower (and no elevator!). But don’t worry, there are frequent rest stops where the guide stops to talk about the history of the tour and things like that, so it didn’t feel too strenuous.
This bell tower reminds me of the Campanile on Berkeley campus! Any other golden bears reading this right now? 🙂
After our Dom tour, we stopped by this little cafe for an afternoon pick-me-up.
While enjoying our pastries and coffee, we saw this old man at another table with a parrot on his chair. A parrot! I didn’t take a picture because I don’t want to be a creepo taking pictures of strangers and their parrots. But I just want to say that I aspire to have coffee breaks with my parrot when I am old and grey. That is #goals right there.
The other tourist destination we made it to was the Rietveld-Schröderhuis, or the Rietveld Schröder House. It’s basically a cool-looking building at the edge of a mostly residential neighborhood.
Rietveld refers to the name of the architect, Gerrit Rietveld, and Schröder is the name of the lady who commissioned this house. They offer tours of the building but unfortunately, we arrived too late and the building was already closed. So we had no choice but to gawk and take pictures from the outside. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and I bet the inside is really cool, but I wouldn’t know!
The day is winding down! We got a drink at Biercafe Olivier, which is located close to Utrecht Centraal Station, so it made for a convenient stop before heading home.
This cool “biercafe” is located inside a former church. Neat!
Before leaving Biercafe Olivier, I took a free post card and actually mailed it out. The post card depicts the church-biercafe in cartoon form. It’s pretty cute and I appreciate a free souvenir 🙂
Thanks Utrecht for a great day!