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!
When I arrived at the Domplein yesterday, I was surprised to see this adorable Fiat 500 parked in the middle of the square. With all of the temporary stages under construction around the square, in preparation for the festivities later in the day, I wondered what role the car was to play.
After admiring the car for a bit, I wandered into the pandhof (the cloister gardens next to the cathedral) and was surprised once again to see a single red balloon attached to a bag sitting in the garden.
A newly married couple was taking advantage of the beautiful setting to have some wedding photos taken in the garden area. I’m sure it’s a popular location for wedding photos; it’s certainly not the first time I’ve seen a newly married couple in the area. The balloon belonged to the couple, as did the car. When I left much later, the couple and the car were both gone. Hopefully, they went on to have a wonderful celebration and a lifetime of happiness.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
The cathedral of Utrecht, built in the classic Gothic style, has a beautiful and atmospheric cloister garden next to it. The tracery and the lancet windows framing the walkway around the garden seem to transport visitors back in time.
Occasionally, you may even see someone there who adds to the feeling of the shifting mists of time. Hooded cloaks still show up with some regularity, moving along the walkways or pausing for reflection and contemplation.
It’s not hard to imagine monks, scholars and scribes rustling along the flagstone floors, or nuns with their robes whispering around them as they head to prayers.
But then you see the photographer and the light umbrellas and all the other tourists milling about, and the man-made sheen to the robes, and you come rushing back to reality. Fortunately, with some cropping and editing, at least a bit of the mystery and daydream can be regained.