Early Expats

On this day in which Americans around the world celebrate Thanksgiving — a case of expats/immigrants trying to make friends with the natives of their new homeland — I thought I’d mention some news about some early expats here in the Utrecht region. It seems that some untouched Roman graves have been found near IJsselstein, dating from around the second century AD. They may have been related to the Roman fort that was about 200 meters away.

As I mentioned previously, Utrecht was the location of a Roman fort built around 47 AD. There are also remains of the old city walls (as seen above), although they date from closer to the 1100s. We live right on the eastern edge of the old walled city. I guess Utrecht just can’t get rid of those Italians. G’s even made it inside the city walls. 😉

Now I’m off to give the oven a workout. Time to bake the sweet potatoes, turkey, and cornbread dressing. Plus, those regular potatoes aren’t going to mash themselves. Happy Thanksgiving to all who may be celebrating it, no matter where in the world you’re located.

Resurrecting Walls

Hadrian's Wall
We went to see Eddie Izzard perform his Stripped show in Amsterdam on Friday. Hilarious as always! His take on the Bayeux Tapestries was brilliant: front-line journalism! In one of his past shows, he did a joke (for a US audience) about being from Europe, “where all the history comes from.” Living here in Utrecht, I feel like I’m constantly reminded of that line and I appreciate it very much. I love living in a city with centuries of history to be explored.

For example, the earliest dates of Utrecht date back to around 40 AD, when the Romans built a fortress here, after finally gaining some inroads into this region. The site of their fortress is where the Dom tower and cathedral now stand. There are remains — now underground — of the walls that surrounded the fort. To signify those, iron plates, inscribed with various Roman walls and boundaries have been placed along the outlines of where the fortress walls stood. Special LED lights have also been placed (as you can see in the photo above) to add a bit of atmospherics, especially in low light. Occasional puffs of mist are also released at various times of day. Above is the one on Servetstraat just in front of the Domtoren. There’s another one on Domstraat. This link will perhaps give a better feel for how they’re laid out.

This is Servetstraat, the street where I took my picture. The display is so unintrusive that you really can’t see it unless you’re right up on it. It runs the width of the street, just behind the group of girls with their bicycles.