Domtoren Splendour

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The Domtoren and the Pope

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I love this little intersection of historic spots and lovely architecture, especially as dusk makes its way in and the setting sun turns the Domtoren a glorious rose gold. Now the spot also has the addition of the statue of Pope Adrian VI to help frame the whole scene.

Utrecht’s Light

Utrecht Sky
I was looking through some of my photos and trying to come up with a theme for some of them, but I didn’t have much luck, so instead you get a post of random photos around town.

While Charlie and I were out on Sunday to see the pope (statue), we ended up wandering around a bit more of town. We didn’t really go far, as the light wasn’t all that inspiring at the start. There wasn’t a lot that made me want to get out my camera. However, after a coffee break at one of the cafés along the Oudegracht, things started to look a bit better. Or maybe it was just the hit of caffeine. Charlie convinced me to head over to Neude to see if the oliebollen stall was open. It was. And as I juggled dog and a bag of warm oliebollen, I happened to glance up and see the impressive sky overhead. It had been dull and overcast for much of the morning, but the sun was making an effort to break through. As you can see, the result was a wonderful silhouette of the Domtoren and the Utrecht flag over Neude, with some amazing clouds.

We then walked back through Janskerkhof to smell the Christmas trees for sale and take a few more photos along the Drift. The sunlight was starting to come through and one of the beautiful buildings by the canal was starting to turn ever so slightly golden in the light.
Golden Drift
This is the view of the other side of the canal where you can see the sun starting to really glow.
Light and Shadow
Even Charlie caught the light to show off his lovely brindling.
Charlie by the Drift

Apocalyptic Skies and a Banana

Good ol’ Dutch weather. Sometimes it changes from one day to the next, other times it changes from one minute to the next. Mercurial easily defines the weather of the past few weeks in Utrecht, when we’ve had a stunning mix of sun and clouds, often at the same time. Today we’ve got ridiculously high winds that even managed to open our front door! (The locks are now firmly in place.)

We’ve had quite a few days of clear blue skies, without a cloud in sight, which are always a joy to see.
blue skies
And then we’ve had days with apocalyptic clouds paired with crisp sunlight.
clouds and sun
Sometimes you get a mix, depending on whether you’re looking east or west. These two photos were taken seconds apart in front of our restaurant on Biltstraat, looking right (east) and then looking left.
light and dark
silhouette

And when you start to get acclimated to the bizarre weather and think you won’t see anything strange, nature pulls another trick from her sleeve: the banana bush!
banana bush

Weekly Photo Challenge: Windows

I haven’t done one of the Weekly Photo Challenges in a while, but I do have a fondness for windows, which is this week’s theme, so I couldn’t resist. It was an early theme last year, as well, and I did a post about the cathedral’s windows then and I’m doing the cathedral windows again. They’re a regular source of inspiration, thanks to both their Gothic beauty and the light they often catch. They may not feature much stained glass nowadays, but they still glow with the sunlight that courses through them.
Inner GlowInner GlowInner Glow
Inner GlowThe cathedral in Utrecht (Netherlands) is known as the Dom or St. Martin’s Cathedral and construction of its current form was begun in 1254. Previous incarnations of the church (first dating back to 630) were destroyed by fire, Normans, and other typical architectural challenges of the time.

The cathedral is the only one of its kind in the Netherlands to closely resemble the classic Gothic architectural style of France. Other Gothic cathedrals in the Netherlands feature more regional variations. In 1566, statues, reliefs, and other interior decorations were destroyed as a result of the Calvinist austerity that was sweeping through the Low Countries at the time. Although originally a Catholic church, it became a Protestant church in 1580.

That wasn’t to be the end of the drama. In 1674, the nave of the cathedral collapses during a massive storm and was never rebuilt. Fortunately, the transept and apse remain and are still in use.

Blue Skies and Buildings in Utrecht

Quest'onda che viene e va
The weather has been surprisingly mild for the past week or so. Occasional days of overcast skies and hints of rain, but also days of bright, clear, blue skies. This weekend has had a number of hours of the sunshine and blue skies, so I thought I’d share a few of the snaps I couldn’t resist taking. After all, when you get skies this blue in winter, you don’t ignore them!
StadsschouwburgPerspectiveOud Nieuw

The Domtoren Lights Up the Night

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One of the things I love about living in Northern Europe is the long hours of daylight in the summer. By April and May, it starts to stay light until 9 or 10 at night. By the middle of summer, there’s still a fair amount of light even at 11 p.m.

However, if you want to see the Trajectum Lumen light displays during the summer, you’re going to have to wait a while. They traditionally begin at dusk and end at midnight, but when dusk doesn’t begin until around 10 p.m. for much of the summer, you’ve got a small window of time to see some of the lights. Some come on a bit earlier, but others really aren’t properly visible until it’s dark.

The last of the Trajectum Lumen installations was the Domtoren. The lights were unveiled on April 11, as part of the beginning of the Treaty of Utrecht celebrations. I was there that evening, although the light display didn’t begin until 10 p.m. in order for it to be dark enough to show off the lights properly. It continued to get darker later and later, which means that the only time I’ve seen the full Domtoren light display was that first night. I’ve either not had a view of the Domtoren when out late enough, or it wasn’t dark enough when I was nearby.

I do hope to head over to the Domplein on Monday evening to listen to the last of the Domtoren summer concerts — this time it will be Pink Floyd’s The Wall — but it still probably won’t be dark enough at the end of the concert. It’s starting to get a bit darker by 9:30 now, so I may finally get to see the display in person again soon. Fortunately, I came across a couple of videos today that serve as a nice reminder of what the light display looks like. If you’re not much of a night owl or don’t live close enough to see it in person, I hope you enjoy these videos for a taste of what will be visible a bit earlier in the coming weeks.

In Lumine Tuo… from Speirs + Major on Vimeo.

In lumine tuo… (Part 2) from Speirs + Major on Vimeo.

Foto Vrijdag: Pietas

Rainy Day Sunday

Taken last Sunday on our slightly damp walk home. There was a lovely rose-gold glow to the sky after the last rain shower, and I thought this corner looked particularly lovely. The building was built in 1904 for Pietas Life Insurance Company. The architect was Jacques A van Straaten Jr., who also worked on the restoration of Kasteel de Haar.

For a bit of Time Travel, here’s a photo of the building from 1906, just two years after it was built.

(photo via Het Utrechts Archief)