What do you get for the 894th anniversary?

It’s that time of year again. Utrecht is celebrating its 894th year as an official city. On June 2, 1122, Keizer Henrik V officially recognized Utrecht as a city. (Of course, Utrecht’s history goes back much further. The Roman fortifications date back to around 50 CE, and people may have inhabited the area during the Stone Age, going back to 2200 BCE.)

There are usually some festivities each year. I think the ones this year are more about family history. However, throughout the year, you can find a marker along the Oudegracht commemorating the event.
In honor of 894 years as a city, I thought I’d post a few photos of some of my favorite, unique places that make it such a wonderful city.
Urban Invasion
Roman Walls [Day 126/365]
Cathedral Art
Grachtenrace ronDom
Autumn on the Oudegracht
Rietveld-Schröder Huis [Day 281/365]
Winkel van Sinkel

Ghost in the Sunshine
Views from Neudeflat

Domtoren as Fietstoren

Fietstoren Fietstoren








It’s been kerstmarkt (Christmas Market) weekend here in Utrecht, with markets popping up all over town. We hit them all, except the one at Mariaplaats, including the newest one at the Domplein. There will be many more photos to come eventually, but for now, I thought I’d share this fantastic version of the Domtoren, made completely out of bicycle parts. They even added in gargoyles made from bicycle parts! Brilliant!

Eventually, I worked my way around to get the perfect shots. Proof that it pays to look at things from every angle!

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Religious Imagery

Religious Imagery
A moment captured in the Pandhof next to the cathedral. My continuing photographic goal is to get a photo of a wittevrouw (literally “white woman”, but referring to the cloister of nuns who wore a white habit) on Wittevrouwenstraat/brug. Someday!

18 Things to See, Do, Taste, and Experience in Utrecht

klmmapI’m always singing the praises of Utrecht and encouraging people to visit this beautiful, historic, and vibrant city, so it only seems right that I make a handy map of some of the places and things visitors should see. So here’s a map of 18 places in Utrecht that you should see, including museums, sculptures, parks, restaurants (which, of course, includes Vino Veritas), and historic points of interest. It is, by no means, a complete listing and hopefully I’ll be able to add on to it as the spirit moves me. Did I leave out one of your favorite must-see spots in Utrecht? Tell me what you think is a must-see.

Thanks to KLM for doing the technical creation of this map for me, while letting me use my own words and photos. They were kind enough to let me focus on Utrecht, instead of Amsterdam, after I pointed out how quick and easy it is to get to Utrecht from Amsterdam. Fly into Schipol Airport with KLM and hop on one of the many trains to Utrecht. You’ll be here in just half an hour!

Southern Gargoyles

Gargoyle 13
I can’t believe it’s been almost two months since I posted any gargoyles! I’ve been taking photos, but haven’t been blogging them due to work/time/patience restraints. I think it’s definitely time to rectify this! The stone sentries you’ll be seeing today are my southern gargoyles, and while I could make some sort of analogy about the rough state of some of them, the reality is that they’re simply the gargoyles on the southern wall of the Pandhof.

First up is our wavy-haired friend above. His face may be a bit weathered — wear sunscreen, folks! — but his hair still looks fabulous!

Our next fellow really does seem appropriate for the southern wall, as he does have a bit of the yokel about him. I shall call him Cletus.
Gargoyle 14

One of the particularly interesting things about Cletus is that he seems to be sitting on an upside down head. I know it’s not usually polite to stare between someone’s legs, but when there’s a whole head there, I think you can be excused for looking.
Gargoyle 14

Our next watery friend is rather handsome in a winged kind of way. He’s got wing-like ears and a set of rather fancily curved proper wings, too.
Gargoyle 15
Gargoyle 15

Unfortunately, the next two have seen better days. In fact, they seem to be missing most of their heads now, so they’re not seeing much at all! Spare a moment of silence for our two wounded waterspouts.
Gargoyle 16
Gargoyle 17

Finally, we have our winged cow. I’m familiar with the saying “when pigs fly”, but “when cows fly” is a new one for me.
Gargoyle 18
Or maybe it’s just the angle. From this angle, Bessie the Cow looks a bit more like Winston the Wolf.
Gargoyle 18

So there you have it, the southern wall of the Pandhof and the gargoyles spread along it.
Southern Wall

The Return of the Gargoyles

Gargoyle 8
When last we visited the Sint Maarten Kathedraal waterspuwers (St. Martin Cathedral gargoyles), we had moved into the Pandhof, the cloistered garden area of the cathedral. Sadly, work and weather have prevented me from getting over there as often as I had hoped, but I have finished one side of the garden area. I figured I’d go ahead and share photos of this particular batch. There are some interesting looking fellows and one poor guy who has been battered by the elements.

First up is my big-eared favorite who seems to have a fish head for a bottom, and the fish has wings instead of gills. I still can’t quite wrap my head around this one, but I absolutely love it.
Gargoyle 8

Next is our 1970s porn-stache entrant. That’s a face with a ton of personality! Unfortunately, some of it gets lost in the snow.
Gargoyle 9

Gargoyle 9

Gargoyle 9

Big mouth strikes again with this next fellow showing off his teeth. He’s got cloven hooves and a stylish medieval neck/shoulder warmer. Another impressive pair of ears, as well!
Gargoyle 10

Gargoyle 10

Next we come to a stylish lion with one impressive head of curls! Still, I wouldn’t tease him about the amount of time he spends on his hair. He’ll take a chunk out of you with those fangs!
Gargoyle 11

Gargoyle 11

Finally we come to the poor guy who’s seen better days. I feel bad for him having to hang out with mister hairdo right there next to him. Still, I’m sure our big mouthed friend on the other side of Locks of Lion is happier not to see what he’s bound to turn into some day. There’s a distinct family resemblance.
Gargoyle 12

Gargoyle 12

Pandhof Gargoyles: The Beginning

Gargoyle 4
My photography project of taking photos of all of the gargoyles on various parts of the Domkerk continues. Without a tripod for my camera, I thought I’d move into the Pandhof, the cloistered garden area next to the cathedral, since most of those gargoyles are a bit lower and easier to shoot. I’m still hoping to get a tripod at some point, since the extra stability will come in useful for the higher-up gargoyles, but there are plenty of creatures in the Pandhof to keep me going until I do get a tripod.

I continue to be fascinated by all the little details that make up these fabulous grotesques. Each one is unique, like a demented snowflake. This first fellow is pretty scary with his cloven feet, pugnacious nose, and big snarling mouth.

The next fellow is some strange hybrid of snail and Gary Busey.
Gargoyle 6

Gargoyle 6

This next one I think of as a Babushka Gryffin. I love the little head scarf.
Gargoyle 5

Gargoyle 5

And finally, we have the one I got today, which is just inside the back entrance to the Pandhof. I like to think of him as my Billy Goat Gruff.
Gargoyle 7

Gargoyle 7

Gargoyle 7