As mentioned previously, the Tour de France Grand Depart in 2015 will take place here in Utrecht. Today, the official routes were announced and there will be a big celebration taking place at the Domplein tonight at 7 p.m.
I really wish it was any night other than tonight, because I would like to go. However, today is also the American holiday, Thanksgiving, which involves a big dinner, which will probably be going on at 7 p.m. Sure, it’s just G and I, and we could have postponed it until tomorrow or celebrated whenever we want (or not at all), but I prefer to celebrate the holidays on the actual day whenever possible.
So instead, I wandered around town a bit today and saw some of the decorations going up around town. I knew the Domtoren was flying yellow flags, but I wasn’t expecting the yellow carpets being rolled out everywhere. The Winkel van Sinkel is also home to some of the celebrations tonight, including some of the press conferences.
It looked like the police were even getting in on the yellow decorations. Or maybe they were just wearing their usual yellow hi-viz coats. Because regular people riding bicycles here don’t wear special clothing, but police on horseback do.
See that red and white circular do-not-enter sign? I came across a few of those this past Sunday while out for a more extensive bike ride. I’m still new to the bike-riding thing, despite having had my bike for almost a year now. Living where I do in the city center, it’s usually just as convenient to walk, and if I’m going somewhere a bit further, most likely I will want to walk, because then it’s an excuse to take my camera. Everything goes by too quickly on a bike; you can’t just stop as often as I do when I’m walking to take a photo.
Anyway, back to the sign. Honestly, I wouldn’t have thought twice about the sign if it hadn’t been for the little pictures of the bicycle and scooter. Unfortunately, I didn’t know what the word uitgezonderd meant, so I didn’t know if it meant you couldn’t go that direction on bikes and scooters as well as in a car, or if it meant bikes and scooters were an exception. As I was still a bit wobbly on my bike, I figured I’d rather not chance it until I knew for sure what it meant. For what it’s worth, it means bikes and scooters are the exception and they can, indeed, go the wrong way down a one-way road. I figured as much, but suddenly, I was aware of rules of the road in a much different way than I have been since moving here. Since I don’t drive here, it’s easy enough to end up ignoring the bulk of the street signs, but once I ended up steering a moving vehicle (even if it is propelled only by my own force), all of the signs seemed to jump out at me.
I am getting used to the bicycle stoplights, although at one point I admit to getting overwhelmed for a brief moment as I tried to find the bicycle light amid the regular traffic and walk/don’t walk lights. I blame the momentary panic on an incredibly sore tush. Despite any extra padding I may have, none of it seems to make riding the bike any more comfortable! I think I’m only now — Wednesday — not feeling the ache. I’m sure if I keep it up, my tush will eventually grow used to it … or numb.
I leave you with another nicer shot of this canal and street, this time without the signs. Focus instead on those fantastic shutters on the buildings in the background, and the lovely bit of greenery reaching down to the canal below.
I went to Den Haag yesterday to meet up with friends, and in the process forgot that it was Friday and that I should post a photo. So here’s one last Film Festival photo, a day late. I didn’t take a ton of photos yesterday, but hopefully a few turned out decently. I’ll post them if they’re worth it.