Summer’s Last Hurrah

We’re expecting one last burst of summer this weekend, with temperatures expected to get up around 27C. That means there will probably be many more boats like this on the canals and lots of people heading to the beach for one last hurrah.

If you’re in town and want to enjoy the water, there are numerous boats for hire, whether it’s the tapas boats, the peddle boats, or even just one of the larger guided city boat tours. There are also kyacks and even inflatable boats that can be taken out.

Of course, there’s lots of other events going on this weekend (see my events calendar), including markets at Griftpark and Molen de Ster, as well as lots of buildings specially opened for Open Monument Day. We still have to figure out which sites to visit, although we’re considering visiting the newly repaired Paushuize, the residence built for the Netherlands’ only pope.

Whatever your plans, enjoy! And if you have a dog, make sure they have access to plenty of water and shade. Or just take them with you, like this dog.
Travelling in Style

Shades of Escher

As I mentioned last week, Saturday was Open Monument Day here in Utrecht. We did end up visiting the Academiegebouw over in the Domplein and had a really great experience. It’s a beautiful building and I’ll post more about it this week once I get the photos sorted and uploaded. For now, here’s a photo of one of the staircases.

As I stood there looking down, I couldn’t help but think of the artist M.C. Escher, a Dutch graphic artist known for his mind-bending, maze-like designs. His piece titled Relativity is the work that the staircase reminded me of specifically. It’s not the first time I’ve taken a photo here and had thoughts of Escher. Sometimes the different planes and angles of rooftops and balconies can create some disorienting images.

Random Bits and Bobs

Sometimes there’s stuff that comes up that doesn’t fit any one theme. This is one of those days. The following is a collection of various news stories, things to do, and a tiny bit of bragging.

  • It probably won’t make the news outside of the Netherlands and Germany, but we had an earthquake here in the Netherlands last night. It was a 4.5, but fairly shallow, although still supposedly felt across a fairly long distance. But no, I didn’t feel it. There was one in my part of Queens while I was living in New York, but I didn’t feel that one, either. Fortunately, there was no real damage other than the odd greenhouse getting a bit wobbly. It’s unusual in that the Netherlands doesn’t sit on the edge of any tectonic plates, so we don’t usually get earthquakes, although there was a bigger one in 1992 that caused some damage. Between the heavy rain and storms and now the earthquake, I might as well be back on the east coast of the US!
  • Tomorrow is Open Monument Day here in Utrecht. Many historic buildings in both the city center and the outer areas of the city will be open to the public. The theme is New Uses for Old Buildings, with an emphasis on buildings that have changed their purpose over the years. For example, the Louis Hartlooper Complex used to be a police station, but is now a movie theater, among other things. I think we’ll probably go explore a few buildings, like the Academiegebouw and the University Library over on the Drift.


  • And now the bragging bit. It seems my blog was included in a Greentraveller Guide to Utrecht. Considering I was the only blog specifically that was included, I’m feeling pretty chuffed. That’s enough about that, though.

Have a great weekend!

The Inktpot and The UFO

Urban Invasion
I’ve already made my plans for Saturday. I’m going to the Inktpot. It’s the big brick building with the UFO on it. You see, this weekend, the building, which serves as the head offices for ProRail, is going to be open to the public as part of the Monument Day Relay. As a way of celebrating 25 years of Open Monument Day, a different monument will be open — throughout the country — each weekend until the official celebration in September. This weekend, it happens to be the Inktpot.

The Inktpot, as it is affectionately nicknamed, was built between 1918 and 1921 and designed by railway engineer G.W. van Heukelom. The building features a contemporary design with elements of Cubism and German Expressionism. It stands 60 meters high and is the largest brick building in the Netherlands. The entire building contains approximately 22 million bricks. There’s a history of the building in one of the main halls, and the interior itself is supposed to be quite stunning, especially the view when you look up to the top of the tower. I’ve seen photos of the interior before, so I’m particularly looking forward to visiting.

The building is open this Saturday, from 10:00 to 17:00, and is located at Moreelsepark 3, Utrecht. If you’re in town or nearby and interested in architecture and design, it’s probably worth a visit.
Earth Stands Still