A New Perspective on the Domtoren

De Utrechtse DomtorenThis week’s Weekly Photo Challenge theme is “perspective”. Sitting at one of the terraces beneath the Domtoren yesterday, enjoying the sunshine, I couldn’t resist this photo of the tower, specifically because of the perspective. Some of the building and some of the perspective gets lost in the photo. You need to be sitting there, craning your neck back to see the top of the tower, 112 meters up in the sky, to really understand the immense size. It remains awe inspiring.

But I also have another new perspective on the Domtoren, in a more personal sense. Saturday, a new book was published about the history of the Domtoren and its building process. The book weighs in around 2.5 kilos, and features a variety of illustrations showing some of the building (and renovation) processes, along with other related historic pictures. I had known for some time now that the book was being worked on and had been debating whether or not to pick up a copy of my own.
De Utrechtse Domtoren
Saturday, we stopped at the VVV offices (tourist info offices), because I wanted to see the book in person. (They had specifically mentioned having the book there.) Yet when I got there, it was no where to be found! Unless I missed it among the crowds, the only reference to it I saw was a picture of the cover in a display of other Domtoren related paraphernalia. Looking closer, it seemed as if the book wouldn’t be presented until later that afternoon. Disappointed, I figured I’d look for it another day. But then, just around the corner (and still in the shadow of the Domtoren), I saw a big display for the book at Libris book store.
Domtoren Book Display at LibrisObviously, I had to go in. I heaved up a copy and opened it. There, on the first inside pages, was a collection of various photos of the Domtoren, taken from different perspectives. I had seen this collage before in a promotional post about the book, but hadn’t been sure that it would actually be included. As soon as I saw it was, I knew then and there I had to buy a copy. You see, one of my very own photos of the Domtoren was included!De Utrechtse DomtorenMine is the view through the archway beneath the tower. I had sent in the photo during a request last year for photos of the Domtoren, but hadn’t necessarily expected to have any of my photos included. I then flipped to the back of the book to check the index and yes, indeed, all of the participating photographers were mentioned. In fact, I was right there at the beginning!That's me in the index ...And in a bit of serendipity, that particular photo is the one I chose to use on some contact cards I recently had printed.

I managed to restrain myself from pointing all of this out to the person at the register or the people in line around me. But that didn’t stop me from being rather giddy about it all for the rest of the day. After all of my blogging about the city and the Domtoren, by having my photo included in this important book, I feel a little bit more like I truly belong here in this city I’ve chosen to call home. I’ve become a miniscule part of the tower’s hundreds of years of history. This thrills me in the same way I still get a thrill every time I see the Domtoren, whether it’s up close or from a distance over the rooftops.

I should also add that Saturday was my birthday. How’s that for a birthday present!
De Utrechtse Domtoren

Foto Vrijdag: Utrecht at Night

Winkel van Sinkel
The Winkel van Sinkel beautifully lit at night.

We went to Broadway restaurant on the Oudegracht to celebrate my birthday last night. The food was excellent, as always, the service was extremely quick and friendly, and in all, I couldn’t have asked for better.

I had made the reservation online — in Dutch — but realized when I got there that I wasn’t actually sure how to properly pronounce the word for reservation. I must have gotten it right, because the waitress understood me and even continued to keep speaking in Dutch, instead of the usual automatic switch to English. We made it through the whole dinner giving our order, ordering more drinks, asking for mayo, all in Dutch. The only slip-up was when we asked for a doggy bag. I realized I had no idea what term to use, since it’s not something you usually ask for here. For one thing, it’s just not really done; for another, you don’t get ridiculously huge portions here, so there’s usually no need.

After dinner we walked around town a bit, since it was a surprisingly clear and pleasant night. Even in the city center, we could see lots of stars in the night sky. We saw a few of the Trajectum Lumen light art displays that we’ve already seen, and we also saw a new display that was unveiled on Monday. I’ll post a couple of photos of it this weekend.

In all, it was a nice way to celebrate my birthday. Thanks to all for all of the birthday wishes!

Signs and Symbols

Birthday Symbols
There’s a calendar of sorts on the ground in Janskerkhof, so as we passed it today on our way to the toko and grocery store today, I figured I’d get a couple of quick shots to represent my birthday in symbols. I could have done a triptych if I’d remembered to take a photo of the March abbreviation. Oh well!

Day of Celebration

There’s so much to celebrate today! It’s International Women’s Day! It’s Mardi Gras/Carnaval! It’s my parents’ wedding anniversary! It’s my birthday! Cake for everyone!

Saturday afternoon, we heard marching bands nearby, and when I peered out the window, I saw that there was a parade going through the main street through the city! Although the biggest celebrations of Carnival/Mardi Gras take place down in the southern part of the country around Maastricht, other cities still put on some sort of celebration. Utrecht had a parade. It took me back to my university days in New Orleans.

Today is the final day of celebrations before the beginning of Lent (if you follow all that), but I’ll be celebrating a bit of excess this evening with another feast of small round foods and a decadent chocolate birthday cake — which needs to be made, so I’d better get a move on! In the meantime, enjoy a few more photos of the floats in the parade.
Tree Stump
King Float
End of the Parade

Queen Bea


Today marks the 73rd birthday of Queen Beatrix, making her one of the oldest Dutch heads of state. Only King Willem III reached the same age while on the throne: he died in 1890 at the age of 73. She took the throne when her mother, Queen Juliana, abdicated at the age of 70. Beatrix was 42 at the time. She may be one of the oldest monarchs in Dutch history, but she’s a spring chicken compared to some other European monarchs. Those in Belgium, Spain, Norway and the United Kingdom are all older than her. And she wears a hat like nobody’s business!

Still, I find myself wondering if she’ll be sitting in a birthday circle at some point today.

Foto Vrijdag 2.46 Lunar Birthday

Ten years ago today, Luna, my beloved little black cat came into my life. I adopted her from the ASPCA in Manhattan early one Saturday morning. It was love at first sight! Unfortunately, the ASPCA was short-staffed that day and I was a bit nervous over the whole thing — not helped by my reference who was supposed to be home, not being home — so in the end, I didn’t get to find out anything about her background. She was supposedly four years old, but I’m not sure if that was set in stone or just an estimate. I figure she’s between 12 and 14 now and still going strong!

I’ve always thought of Luna as the quintessential New York woman. She’s thin, dressed all in black, has attitude, and one hell of a loud voice! I figure she must have some Siamese in her. She’s got a similar build and has the loud, chatty voice that Siamese supposedly have. In fact, the day I got her, she was putting that voice to good use! I had originally planned on taking her back to my place in Queens via the subway, but considering how loud and persistent she was, I thought that might earn me a few dirty looks. Instead, I grabbed the first cab I could find. At one point, the driver was talking to the dispatch person on the other end of the radio, and suddenly I heard him say, “It’s a cat.” Obviously, even the dispatch person could hear Luna’s howls over the radio!

I adopted her the weekend before the American Thanksgiving, knowing I’d have a short work week, thus giving us more time to bond. Bond we did, over a cooked bird of our own. She still loves turkey and was always the first in line when I was going over the bones picking off the last bits of meat. She certainly gets her fair share. No turkey bones these days, but she still gets a bit of the meat. How could I resist her! I love her absolutely and am so lucky she came into my life. Happy birthday to my lovely little Luna!

Foto Vrijdag 2.45 Birthday Edition

Happy birthday to my wonderful boyfriend! I’m particularly fond of this photo of him with our dog, Pippo, because it shows how they both wait so patiently, without a word of complaint, as I’m constantly stopping to take photos. Plus, they’re both so handsome! I’m a very lucky woman.