Love in Pictures

The Art of Making Peace
So yeah, still in a bit of a funk and lacking the energy/enthusiasm to do the research for most blog post ideas I’ve had. Thus, it’s been pretty quiet around here other than easy wordless Wednesday posts. This post is really no different, just with a few more words. As it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d post a couple of my favorite heart-related photos taken here in Utrecht.
LoveAnd one that is appropriate to the Olympics, taken at the Keukenhof Flower Garden a few years ago. I am loving the success that the Netherlands is having at speed skating!From Russia With Love

A Trip to the Farmers Market

Farmers Market
My dad and I made a visit to the farmers market this morning to get a few things, including some okra! I was tempted by the apple butter, but worry that it won’t fit in my suitcase. As for the pimento cheese, I’m not sure how well that would travel. Oh well, at least I can get molasses in Utrecht.
Farmers Market
The market is actually a large area with multiple open-sided “barns” like the one pictured above. Some sell just food, while others focus more on flowers and fruits. There are also areas for buying meat and such. Most items sold are local (and certified) although there are some areas where the items don’t have to be completely local.
Farmers Market
Halloween is fast approaching, so there are plenty of pumpkins from which to choose. There are small ones for autumn decorating, medium ones for cooking, and large ones for all of your Halloween jack-o-lanterns and other decorations.
Farmers MarketFarmers Market

Some areas were heavy on the flowers and reminded me a bit of the bloemenmarkt at Janskerkhof. I think the prices were relatively similar, although the selection wasn’t as extensive. Most flowers were for planting, rather than the loose flower stalk bunches (like the tulips, gerbera daisies, roses, etc.) that are such a common site throughout Utrecht.
Farmers Market
There was a nice mix of fresh fruit and vegetables, though, with varieties of apples, pears, watermelon, tomatoes, peppers, corn, squash, and much more.
Farmers Market
Farmers Market
Farmers Market

Dogs weren’t allowed inside the market area, but a few hovered on the fringes. (No idea what happened to my camera on this shot.)
Farmers Market
There’s plenty to see at the markets, whether it’s the fresh produce, amusing signs that bring to mind Josephine Baker, or just the people watching. Best of all, there’s plenty of tasty stuff to take home at the end of it all.
Farmers Market
Farmers Market
Farmers Market
Farmers Market

ETA: Right after I posted this, I realized my dad had used the half-peck of apples we bought to make one of his delicious apple pies. Fresh from the oven!
Dad's apple pie

Last Hurrah

Dutch Spirit
You may have noticed a lack of comment on the Euro Championship since my first post. That would have something to do with the fact that the Dutch team, although considered a favourite to do well, has yet to win either of the first two games in their group. It’s been painful, to say the least. They’re not officially out of it; there’s one more game to play tonight in the group round. However, the chances of us advancing are pretty slim and require a lot of other things to happen. Still, we’ll be watching this evening and keeping our fingers crossed. Kom op jongens! Laat de leeuw niet in z’n hempie staan!

St. Marie’s Cloister Garden

St. Mary's Cloister
I’ve walked by this garden a number of times, without realizing it was there. I really do need to spend more time around the Mariaplaats. It’s amazing the things I keep finding there. I was reminded of it recently when viewing some of the great photos of Utrecht on the website Terug Naar Utrecht (Back to Utrecht). Sunday, I decided it was time to finally go see it for myself. A morning of rain seemed like it was going to ruin my plans, but the afternoon cleared up and we were left with surprisingly warm weather and lots of bright sunshine.

Pandhof Sinte Marie
The cloister, or pandhof, is all that really remains of the Mariakerk (Church of St. Mary), which was built in the 11th century and remained standing in one form or another until the 1800s. Here’s what the official website has to say about the gardens:

St.Mary’s Cloisters are all that is left of the Church of St. Mary, which formed the centre of the Mariaplaats (St. Mary’s Square). The courtyard and the remaining buildings of the 11th century cloisters surrounding it are known by the name Pandhof Sinte Marie. St. Mary’s Church was a collegiate church; the clergymen (canons) had religious as well as worldly power. They owned houses on their territory (‘immunity’), the Mariaplaats, which was separated from the city by a canal. The church appears on several of Pieter Saenredam’s paintings from the 17th century.
At the end of the 18th century only the choir remained, which was used as a concert-hall. In 1845 it was torn down and the present Arts and Sciences Building (K&W) was erected. The garden was redesigned in 1973. The Mariaplaats has been subjected to many changes over the years, but it has kept its view of the Buurkerk and Dom Tower.


Garden Sculpture


Shades of Blue


Weekly Photo Challenge: Sun

This was a challenging theme this week, because the sun has been playing hide and seek. It’s out as I type this, but has a habit of disappearing behind clouds the moment I pull out my camera. Instead, I’ve gone with these lovely yellow gerbera daisies that I picked up last week (and they’re still going strong), since they act as a little touch of sun, even when it’s raining, as it has done quite a bit this week.

Eerste Paasdag

Signs of Spring
Vrolijk Pasen (Happy Easter) to those of you who celebrate. Here in the Netherlands, you get Eerste Paasdag (First Easter Day), which is today, and tomorrow is Tweede Paasdag (Second Easter Day). Since the weather is sunny but cool today, we decided to take a long walk around part of town and enjoy the sunshine before the rain returns. First we headed over to the Spoorweg Museum, so I could take a couple of photos, then we walked along the Maliebaan, a long, straight, picturesque, and historic street. Then, we decided to walk over to Wilhelmina Park, with the hope that it wouldn’t be too busy yet.

Just before you cross the roundabout to enter Wilhelmina Park, you will see this charming house. With the tree in bloom against the house, I couldn’t resist a photo. On the way back, we passed next to the house and I took the following shots. It’s wonderful seeing the tree in the first stages of blooming. It was a lovely way to start the day.

We had Pippo with us, of course, and after a long walk with an energetic dog, we’re all a bit tired. I’m glad dinner doesn’t require too much work tonight. An afternoon curled up on the sofa is a lovely way to pass the afternoon!

Vrolijk Pasen!

Spring Blooms

Focus on the Positive

I’m in a lousy mood for no reason, so I’m trying to focus on the positives of this week.
First off was a lovely walk with Pippo last Sunday. While out and about, I saw this cool bit of graffiti.
Would You Like To Play A Game?

On Wednesday, I got to meet up with A Georgia Peach and catch up and just generally have a lovely time while sitting on the terras at the Vismarkt on the Oudegracht.
Drinks at the Vismarkt

On the way home, I picked up some more purple tulips to cheer things up. Gotta love getting four bunches for only €5!

And finally, to go along with the beautiful blue skies and spring weather, there were some really pretty cloud patterns this week.