Kerstboom Market

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Need a last-minute kerstboom (Christmas tree)? The annual Christmas tree market at Janskerkhof has you covered. From the usual larger ones all the way down to small potted plants, you can find a lovely selection of “trees”.  With some bonus Bacchus for this festive season.

Fijne kerstdagen!

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Flowers in Bloem

Utrecht Bloemenmarkt
The gorgeous weather of this weekend has been replaced by rain today, so I didn’t get to work planting the bloemen (flowers) I bought Saturday at the bloemenmarkt (flower market). The Utrecht bloemenmarkt is held every Saturday at Janskerkhof, from 8 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon. There’s a wide variety of plants on offer, including seeds, herbs, potted trees, cut flowers, hanging plants and trays of potted plants you can then plant in your own garden. It’s fun just to wander through the whole market, admiring the pretty colors and arrangements.
Potted Plants

Row Upon Row

Bloomin' Bloemen

Kramen

There were some beautiful lupins, one of the few plants I tend to recognize, and that’s because of a Monty Python sketch.
More Lupins

Lupins

There were also two separate accordion players there, playing what seems to be the only two songs that are allowed to be played on the accordion.
Accordion

As with just about any flowers here in the Netherlands, the prices are amazingly cheap. As I mentioned the other day, I got 18 little pots of flowers for €10, and you can easily get cut flowers for ridiculously low prices. The more common the flowers — tulips, roses, gerbera daisies — the less they cost. It’s not unheard of to get 20 or more flowers for around €5-8.
Pink

Mooie kleuren
If you’re in Utrecht some Saturday, stop by the bloemenmarkt. It’s a beautiful display in a beautiful setting.
Janskerkhof

Cookie Monster

Gardening
It’s a lovely Saturday in Utrecht, so this morning, G and I headed to the bloemenmarkt (flower market) that is held each Saturday at Janskerkhof, just a few minutes walk from home. It’s like going to a much smaller version of the Keukenhof, the big flower garden/festival over by Leiden, but not as overwhelming. Much more my speed! I admit to having a bit of a black thumb and not much knowledge of plants and gardening, but after planting some flowers last spring with my mum, I was encouraged to give it another shot. Plus, from my limited knowledge of plant prices back in the US, I’m pretty sure the ones here are pretty inexpensive. I managed to get a total of 18 small plants for €10. The photo shows my haul today. I got a mix of lobelia (little blue flowers) and ijsplants (a multi-colored mix). I don’t know that they’ll grow that well, but I’ll give them a shot and hope they don’t die too soon!

Since it was such a nice day and I’d been enjoying being outdoors, I suggested we stop for a coffee before heading off to do the grocery shopping. I wanted to sit in the sun, but have a nice view, too. I thought about Neude, but they’re setting up for the Festival aan de Werf, so it wasn’t really ideal. Eventually, I thought of the Domplein and decided that I would finally, after all this time, go enjoy a coffee in the Domplein (the square at the cathedral). I’ve spent plenty of time there, but have never gotten around to sitting at one of the cafés that flank the square. We headed over, working our way through the growing number of tourists along the Oudegracht, and soon settled in at Café Corsini, right next to the Domtoren.

Service seemed a bit iffy from the beginning. We were the only ones sitting outside, but it took a while for anyone to show up and take our order. Then it took a while for our two coffees to arrive. That wasn’t that big a deal — it was a nice day and I was enjoying the sunshine — but when the coffee showed up, with mine seeming half-spilled already, things started to really go downhill. The coffee itself seemed a bit bitter. Then, I realized there was no cookie! No cookie!!! No little piece of chocolate!!! No nothing!!!!! The horror!!!!!

You see, I don’t think I’ve ever had a cup of coffee here in the Netherlands without also being served some little cookie or small piece of chocolate alongside it. It’s not necessarily something big or fancy, just a little bite or two to go nicely with your coffee. It’s one of the little things I love about the coffee culture here and it was one of the reasons why I wanted to stop and have a coffee today. It’s just so gezellig!

Geen Koffie Zonder Cookie
Even Subway (yes, we have the chain here) serves a cookie with the coffee. That sign is from one of the Subway shops near us. In fact, I passed it on the way back from the café as we headed to the grocery store. It says “geen koffie zonder cookie” (no coffee without a cookie) and you get the deal for €2, which is actually 20 cents cheaper than what we payed at Café Corsini for one measly cup of lousy coffee without even a crumb to go with it! Subway has little tables and chairs set out in front of the restaurant, right there in the sun. The view might not have been as nice, but in the long run, it probably would have been a better experience.

It’s a silly thing to fuss about, but I had really been enjoying myself and was truly looking forward to having a nice cup of coffee in a lovely, historic setting, simply relaxing and enjoying the moment. Perhaps they just forgot the cookies, although it was only just turned noon and they weren’t that busy. Another couple sat down outside after us, but gave up before us, when no one came to take their order. With the slow service, spilled coffee, and no cookie, I certainly don’t plan on going to Café Corsini again, at least not for a coffee. Maybe it was just a bad day, but I don’t feel inclined to take my chances there again when there are other places to go.