An Open Itinerary

Utrecht Travel Blog

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Unlike other places we had been here, the buildings sat right on the water in Utrecht

Woke up Monday to a gently blaring elephant (one of the many fun alarms you can choose on your CitizenM touch pad) and took the tram into Centraal for a train ride to Arnhem.  Today’s destination was Hoge Veluwe National Park, somewhat compromised because it was Pentecost today and the Kroller-Muller Museum within the park would be closed.  That would turn out to be the least of our worries after getting off the train.


My incomplete research indicated the first bus to Hoge Veluwe from the train departed at 10:10AM.  But we arrived around 11AM and soon discovered there were only three more buses all day!  We hung out at the taxi stand, but nothing doing on Pentecost.

The Domtoren in Utrecht, straight up.
  We searched for a place to rent bikes, nothing doing on Pentecost.  So we walked towards the National Park, but we didn’t see any signs and everything was closed.  Asked the sole pedestrian we encountered if she knew the way, and she had no idea.  Well, it was a lovely day and Rudolph had spoken glowingly of Utrecht, so back to the train station!


Kim and I fared much better in Utrecht than in Arnhem.  The station here abuts a cavernous shopping mall, the Hoog Catharijne, a somewhat sterile environment but shops were open here.  Once we waded through the complex it was a treat to enter into a beautiful old city with two major canals, an “old” and a “new”.  Of course the baby of the two, the Nieuwegracht was completed in the fourteenth century!


Dominating the skyline is the impressive Domtoren, a towering cathedral completed 600 years ago.

Kim's pancake at Graaf Floris...making my croquettes seem a bit wimpy.
  Lured in by this ancient scenery, we strolled about canals thronged with a mass of people despite most of the shops being shuttered once more.  This time many of the eateries were open, however, and the Graaf Floris, advertising traditional Dutch cuisine, caught our eye.  We popped in and Kim ordered a cheese pancake for lunch, which she enjoyed as much as I did my croquettes.


Then back to the streets and enjoying another sunny day by walking all around.  Even the canals were jammed today, with every conceivable type of watercraft plying Utrecht’s waters.  Some were luxurious, many appeared fortunate to be afloat, but all were packed with passengers, every one with food or drink in hand.  We gave the water traffic a closer inspection by climbing down a steep stairway to a café on the canal, where we savored a leisurely cup of coffee before returning back to the train station.


This time we debarked at Amsterdam Centraal intent on walking back to the Citizen M.  Being in continuous motion all day had us ready for dinner and Kim wanted to find Bird, a Thai restaurant on Zeedijk Street she had read favorable reviews about.

Inside Graaf Floris, we loved the wall art!
  It took us forever just to find this street in the downtown crowds (unlike Utrecht and elsewhere, these crowds were more intimidating than welcoming), but a great find --- I’ve given Bird a well deserved review, so you can find the details there!


After a scrumptious meal we started towards home, but we were a bit fed up with our Amsterdam street maps by this point and Kim had the best idea yet à let’s stop at a junk shop and get a good one.  We did and made steady progress, although we had to pull it out frequently and pin down our current location to calculate next steps.  At one point I unfolded our trusty guide and a rather shabby, but very articulate gentleman walked up and immediately placed his finger on our location.  He asked where we were bound and quickly traced the swiftest path with an unlit cigarette he was holding.  We thanked him, at which point he politely asked for some small compensation for services and we gave him a couple euro.


His advice proved spot on and despite the distance to cover, we soon found ourselves back at Citizen M where we relaxed into what was becoming a ritual.

Beautiful to stroll along the canals in Utrecht
  Just having a nightcap and catching up on e-mail in the lobby.  Your room key doubles as a charge card within the hotel, making it exceptionally convenient to fall into this groove.  An important warning, however.  There are only pictures indicating whether the lobby toilets are male or female, and they don’t look too different.  Our first night Kim had to ask Rudolph to interpret, and tonight we saw a woman walk right into the men’s room!  If you do stay at Citizen M, the “man” (despite his powdered wig and apparent dress) is the image with a cane.


Tomorrow is Tuesday, our day to tour Den Haag with Rudolph!

ik-ben-10eke says:
Oh, old Utrecht is such a nice town. The wharfs are famous, used to be cellars and storage rooms, now most of them turned into restaurants, with terraces next to the water of the canals.
Posted on: Jun 18, 2009
vances says:
Yes, it was Pentecost. Thanks for sharing that video --- it was funny and right on, lol!

Posted on: Jun 12, 2009
CinnamonCookie says:
Why were all the shops closed? It was probably Pentecost? There are too many Dutch holidays haha.
You should check this one out, a comedian complaining about Dutch holidays:

Thanks for sharing the pictures :) Utrecht looks so beautiful in spring! The weather seems very nice! I missed Utrecht.
Posted on: Jun 12, 2009
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Unlike other places we had been he…
Unlike other places we had been h…
The Domtoren, a towering 600 year …
The Domtoren, a towering 600 year…
The Domtoren in Utrecht, straight …
The Domtoren in Utrecht, straight…
Kims pancake at Graaf…
Kim's pancake at Graaf Floris...m…
Inside Graaf Floris, we loved the …
Inside Graaf Floris, we loved the…
Beautiful to stroll along the cana…
Beautiful to stroll along the can…
...and it was another sunny day!
...and it was another sunny day!
The narrow streets of old Utrecht,…
The narrow streets of old Utrecht…
photo by: krysleigh