Tour De France 2015 Route Presentation

Today is the grand announcement of the route of the 102nd Tour De France taking place next summer. It’s relevant to Utrecht, because Utrecht is where the race begins next year! We’ve known that for a while, but the official release of the full route was just announced moments ago. I watched part of the presentation on the Cyclingnews.com website, but had to laugh/cringe at the English pronunciation of all of the Utrecht sites (Jaarbeurs, Lepelenburg), but the worst was the name of the city itself. I don’t know who was responsible for the English commentary/translation I was watching, but dear lord, I hope they get that figured out soon. You should at least be able to pronounce the name of the city!

The race kicks off on 4 July, a Saturday, and part of it even goes down Biltstraat, where Vino Veritas is, though I think they turn off before they get to us. There will also be events in town in the days leading up to the start.

For a few months now, a statue of a bicycle representing the Tour de France has been in place on the Stadhuisbrug. I’ve taken ground-level photos in the past, but last month while up on the Neudeflat, I got a few more aerial views of the statue. Someday I may get over the Jaarbeursplein to see the big ground design they in place there. I guess I have until next July. For now, enjoy these shots of the statue on the bridge over the Oudegracht. You’ll notice that the Domtoren, in the background of one, was much too tall to be fully included. Also pay attention to the boat going through the canal in the shots, particularly the shot where you can see the man essentially pushing the boat away from the canal walls to get it through a rather tight bend.
Tour de France Utrecht 2015
Tour de France Utrecht 2015Tour de France Utrecht 2015

Caturday: Winkelpoes Edition

My photo on Wednesday of the mask and sewing machine was from a window display of a tailoring shop on Voorstraat. In the past, I’ve noticed their window display more for the cat that is sometimes in the window. When I passed by recently, it was the mask that caught my eye, but soon enough, the cat suddenly appeared, although this time outside the shop.
Voorstraat Tailor's Cat
He seemed ready for the shop to open and wasn’t happy about the closed door. Perhaps he had some faulty stitches he needed to pick out from a garment. Regardless, he seemed a bit exasperated that no one was opening the door for him. You could practically hear the frustrated sigh.
Voorstraat Tailor's CatMany shops and restaurants throughout the Netherlands have their own winkelpoes (shop cat) and photographer Robert van Willigenburg has photographed many of them for his series of books called Kat in de Stad. He originally started with the cats here in Utrecht, including a few I know and have photographed myself. He’s now moved on to some of the many cats to be found in Amsterdam in his latest edition of the book that is hot off the presses.

I don’t usually promote Amsterdam stuff, as many of you know. After all, the city gets plenty of attention already. But when it comes to cats and books, I can’t resist. Particularly as I edited the English language version of the book. ;)
Kat in de Stad (Amsterdam)
Today is Dierendag, AKA World Animal Day, so give your own animals a bit of extra love and attention and maybe order a copy of Kat in de Stad. Trust me, it’s a beautiful book (in either language) full of entertaining cats.

The Oudegracht from Above

Oudegracht from above
I’ve often mentioned Utrecht’s famed multi-level canals, with the wharves down below street level. However, it’s not always easy to get a good photo that really shows both levels in one shot. Fortunately, while getting a bird’s-eye view of the city from the top of the Neudeflat recently, I was finally able to get a couple of shots that show both levels.

As you can see from my photo of the Oudegracht, the largest of the canals running through the city, the main buildings are on street level, but with cellars beneath them at water level, along with wide wharves at water level. Many of these cellars, or kelder, are used as restaurants, shops, studios and more. On this particular stretch of the Oudegracht, they are mainly restaurants, giving diners a great opportunity to enjoy a meal right next to the canal, assuming the weather cooperates.
Views from Neudeflat
As you can see when you look a bit closer, the wharves are accessed by stairs located at various spots along the canal. The little red and white building on the bridge is the Venezia ice cream stand that pops up seasonally during the spring/summer months. And all the flowers on the lamp posts and along the street appear throughout the city during the same time period. They add a pretty touch of color to the city.
Oudegracht from above
Finally, one last photo to show one of the boats that services the restaurants and other buildings along the canal. As well as trash boats, there are convenient beer boats that service the many restaurants. Rather than having to get big trucks on the pedestrian streets above, or having to carry numerous crates and boxes down the stairs, these boats are set up to pump in beer from canal level. Very sensible! I also love the tall, thin, pointed rooftops in the bottom of the photo. You can even see a bit of the back of the decorative facade that hides the simpler structure.

Utrecht Skyline

Views from Neudeflat
Friday I posted a teaser of a photo with a view of Neude square from above. Today, the grand reveal. Thanks to the post I did a couple of weeks ago about the Neudeflat building that is considered an eye-sore by many in Utrecht, someone filled my request to see the view from the top of the building. Herbert, a Twitter acquaintance, happens to work for the city, who own the building. He kindly offered to take me up to the 16th floor to see the grand view of Utrecht from above.

The weather had turned a bit foggy, so distance views weren’t great, but the low light worked out well. I really do have a lot of photos, but for today, just a few overviews. I’m thinking up ideas for some of the other photos.

In the first photo, obviously you see the Domtoren and the cathedral, with the Willibrord church on the far left. The building in the middle foreground area with the flags is the stadhuis (city hall) and the Oudegracht canal runs off to the right, though it’s a bit lost amid all the buildings.

And now, a bit to the northeast, here’s a view of Voorstraat as it leads off from Neude square, and on the left is an old water tower. This is the binnenstad, the old city center, but notice all the trees. It’s an old, urban city, but it’s nice to see bits of greenery, as well.
Views from Neudeflat
That’s all for now, but you’ll be seeing plenty more in the coming weeks, I’m sure.

Sneak Peek

Nuede
Guess where I went today? If you live here in Utrecht or have been paying attention to the red building on the right that has been popping up in recent posts, you may be able to guess. If not, you’ll get the full story in the coming days when I get the photos ready. In fact, they may be split into a few photo-heavy posts, because I am NOT going to be able to choose just a few. Utrecht is way too pretty for that.

High Praise Indeed!

This evenings scene! I had the most delicious wine and plank this evening at @vinoveritas030 on the Biltstraat. Prosecco that tasted like the best champagne, white wine with a hint of tropical flavour soft and not sweet. Matched with a mixed plank and a bread basket. All the product are imported from Italy. The flavours are rich and the bread is warm and light. I could go on and on about this short visit but it was truly the best wine and mixed plank I ever had in Utrecht. I’m a very happy person at this moment.

Explore Utrecht is a great site with lots of information about where to stay in Utrecht and lists and reviews of things to see, do, eat, and buy. I always recommend the site to anyone visiting and to locals, as well. Last night, we at Vino Veritas got a visit from Dainahara and a friend. It was great to finally meet the woman behind the site, but it was a thrill to read her glowing review.

In fact, I’ve been lucky to meet quite a few people I know through Twitter in the past week and will probably meet more in the coming days. Thanks to all for stopping by and for singing our praises, as well. It’s all been truly appreciated.