Weekly Photo Challenge: Today (in Utrecht)

Kabouter Bloemen
Today is a beautiful day in Utrecht. Perfect for celebrating the city’s 890th anniversary of its official city status. There are a variety of events going on around town and I visited some today and took a few pictures along the way. Here are a few of the highlights, although I’ll probably expand on some details in other posts.

To start the day off, I walked through the bloemenmarkt (flower market) at Janskerkhof, which is where I saw the flowers above. I’d seen someone else post a photo of them on Twitter earlier in the morning and couldn’t resist seeing them for myself. So pretty! They’re called kabouter something or other, which is fun, since kabouter is the Dutch word for gnomes. It’s a great name for them!

Rode Loper Dagen
I also walked a red carpet! One of the streets has lined its sidewalks with red carpets. I think there are a lot of sales on this particular street this weekend.

Buurkerk
Then it was over to the Buurkerk (kerk=church) to see the specially opened Buurtoren (toren=tower), with information on bell ringing. The tower is part of the bigger church, which is now a museum dedicated to musical organs, music boxes, and similar musical items.

Little Blue Auto

Then it was on to the Domplein, the historic center of the city where the cathedral now stands, and where the Romans first built a fort almost 2000 years ago. The city has been an official city for 890 years, but it’s been an important site for much longer! There in the Domplein (plein=square), I saw this cute little blue car. More to come about that in another post.

Pandhof

From there, I headed into the cathedral’s cloister garden to enjoy the view and take in the wonderful gothic architecture, as well as the flowers. It’s a wonderful spot to sit and relax. From there, I could also hear the bell concert coming from the Domtoren, which was decked out in the city’s official flag.
Celebrating 890 Years

To go along with the concert, there was also some dancing as a preview of the Cultural Sunday dance events taking place tomorrow. This group of dancers was dancing along to the bell concert, moving around the memorial statue.
Utrecht Danst

Finally, I decided to head down Zadelstraat to visit one of the local bakeries that has a special chocolate treat that seemed perfect for today. This bakery has been making a Domtorentje chocolate since the early 1900s. I’ve been wanting to try one since I first heard about it recently. In the shop, I was not the only buying the Domtorentjes! I’m sure they’re selling a lot today!
Domtorentje

Next door to the bakery is a furniture shop that I mentioned recently. They’re famous for their bulldogs who like to lounge on the chairs placed out front. I posted photos of one of them last week and couldn’t resist another shot of one of them today. He looks so happy on his throne with his tongue sticking out!
Shop Dog

I hope you enjoyed my photographic tour of what I saw today in Utrecht. It’s been a beautiful day and I’m glad I got to help celebrate the city’s anniversary.

Vieren Vier

Rising Above
It was four years ago today that G and I arrived with three pets in tow to make our new life here in the Netherlands. It’s so nice of everyone to celebrate today, under the guise of 2e Pinksterdag and Memorial Day. We’re celebrating today with rookworst kebabs on the grill. I also enjoyed some time on the terrace in the sun before I gave pinksterdag new meaning.

My goal for the year is to work on my Dutch language skills and to try one of the Domtorentjes from a local chocolate shop. They date back to 1922 and are made of dark chocolate filled with a chocolate cream. Plus, they’ve got the Domtoren on them! Lekker!
Domtorentjes

Paas the Eggs

Paas
Happy Easter (Paas) to those who celebrate. I don’t, but that doesn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying and appreciating the chocolate eggs so prevalent this time of year! The stores all sell bags of mini chocolate eggs with various types of chocolate and fillings. I’ve been particularly fond of the caramel chocolate eggs this year. Lekker!

Koek & Chocolade, a wonderful chocolate store here in town, had this amazing display of chocolate eggs in their store. It’s probably just as well it was a Sunday and they were closed when I saw this. I might not have been able to restrain myself from going in and buying one of those massive eggs! So pretty! So delicious! Any drool marks left on the store’s windows are the fault of the dog. It wasn’t me, I swear!

Acht Jaar

Koek & Chocolade
Today marks eight years of samenwonen bliss for G and me. Well, we weren’t officially living together, but after a bit more than a month of dating and getting to know each other, we sort of made it official on this date. Eight years later, I couldn’t be happier.

To celebrate, we decided to grill some steaks. At this point, I should post a photo or video showing the grey skies, strong winds and frequent rain, but it’s too depressing. So we may be broiling some steaks, instead. 😉 We also decided to finally break down and go to Koek & Chocolade, the fancy chocolate store dangerously close to our house. We’ve been able to resist so far, but today really did seem the perfect time to splurge and finally give it a try. I’d had my mind on the strips of candied orange coated in chocolate, and sure enough, they had a huge bowl of them and also had some already bagged up and ready to go. We also got some of the koek met chocolade, aka tubes of thin cake coated in chocolate. It’s a beautiful, elegant store with fantastic displays of the freshly made delights. Certainly a nice way to brighten a rainy day and a perfect way to celebrate!
Fruit & Chocolade