One Way Or Another

See that red and white circular do-not-enter sign? I came across a few of those this past Sunday while out for a more extensive bike ride. I’m still new to the bike-riding thing, despite having had my bike for almost a year now. Living where I do in the city center, it’s usually just as convenient to walk, and if I’m going somewhere a bit further, most likely I will want to walk, because then it’s an excuse to take my camera. Everything goes by too quickly on a bike; you can’t just stop as often as I do when I’m walking to take a photo.

Anyway, back to the sign. Honestly, I wouldn’t have thought twice about the sign if it hadn’t been for the little pictures of the bicycle and scooter. Unfortunately, I didn’t know what the word uitgezonderd meant, so I didn’t know if it meant you couldn’t go that direction on bikes and scooters as well as in a car, or if it meant bikes and scooters were an exception. As I was still a bit wobbly on my bike, I figured I’d rather not chance it until I knew for sure what it meant. For what it’s worth, it means bikes and scooters are the exception and they can, indeed, go the wrong way down a one-way road. I figured as much, but suddenly, I was aware of rules of the road in a much different way than I have been since moving here. Since I don’t drive here, it’s easy enough to end up ignoring the bulk of the street signs, but once I ended up steering a moving vehicle (even if it is propelled only by my own force), all of the signs seemed to jump out at me.

I am getting used to the bicycle stoplights, although at one point I admit to getting overwhelmed for a brief moment as I tried to find the bicycle light amid the regular traffic and walk/don’t walk lights. I blame the momentary panic on an incredibly sore tush. Despite any extra padding I may have, none of it seems to make riding the bike any more comfortable! I think I’m only now — Wednesday — not feeling the ache. I’m sure if I keep it up, my tush will eventually grow used to it … or numb.

I leave you with another nicer shot of this canal and street, this time without the signs. Focus instead on those fantastic shutters on the buildings in the background, and the lovely bit of greenery reaching down to the canal below.
Grand Entrance

Different Donderdag: Highways

A highway is a highway is a highway. There probably aren’t that many differences from one highway to another, from one country to another, at least in the standard western world. Aside from the license plate shape, the picture above really doesn’t look much different from any similar highway scene I remember from the US. Still, there are a few differences you’ll notice on Dutch highways compared to American highways (and I use highway interchangeably with interstates).

First up, the Exit sign is now an Uit sign.

Speed signs are posted above the road in electronic form that can change as needed.

We’ve got electronic information signs too, of course, but they’re in Dutch!
Information Highway

There are the big blue signs providing direction to various cities, and information about ring roads.
Ring Around the Rosie

There are even signs directing you toward cheese! Yum! Gouda!
Say Cheese
OK, no, it’s not actually directing you toward cheese, just the city for which the cheese is named.

As you can see, it’s all pretty similar to anywhere else. One thing that is a bit different here is the fact that there aren’t the same huge, ugly billboards everywhere. This is the only one I saw that even remotely came close to the ones I was so used to in America (I saw these South of the Border billboards a lot in North Carolina).
Euro Menu

There are also a lot of wind turbines near the highway here, at least on the stretch we drove from Utrecht toward Rotterdam.
More Molen
You’ll also see lots of fields divided up by canals like these, often with cows, horses and/or sheep hanging around.
But it’s always going to be flat.

Animal Sightings

This morning I saw a woman walk past our window wearing what looked like the top of a fox costume, complete with tail. I’ve heard of furries, but don’t remember seeing one in real life before. I tried to rush upstairs to see if I could get a photo, but no luck. However, once I thought about it a bit more, and remembered that she had a cello with her, I started to think that maybe she isn’t a middle-aged furry, but is a musician taking part in one of the TweeTakt Festival events taking place.

TweeTakt is a youth theater festival that has been going on all week and taken over the Neude square, with all sorts of buildings and farm animal statues going up (as seen above). Banners, flags and signs for the event have been up all over the city for the past couple of weeks, in fact. Not being into youth theater, I can’t tell you much more about it, so I’ll just show you a couple of photos of the signs and banners.
Theater Festival Lights
TweeTakt at Neude
Tweetakt [Day 73/365]

Utrechtsche Melk Centrale

The sun! It actually came out today! Sure, it’s back to being a bit overcast now at 3 p.m. but the sun was out and shining brightly this morning. Pippo and I took advantage of this lull in the rain and hit the streets.

A few weeks ago, on the Flickr Utrecht group, I saw a photo of a building with a cute old-fashioned advertising sign. I found out where it was — in a part of town I hadn’t yet explored — and kept note of it for my next photographic outing. Sadly, the rain has put that outing on hold until today. After checking the map and hoping it wouldn’t be too long of a trek or too hard to find, Pippo and I were off on our search. Maps of Utrecht are deceptive, in that distances look much further than they really are. We were at our destination in no time, even with a stop at the Griftpark honden toilet for Pippo.

I found my sign and got my shot and admired some of the other buildings in the area. It’s a nice quiet area, with lots of charming little houses. Definitely worth another visit someday. With our goal accomplished, we decided to head back over to the Griftpark since it was nearby and the weather was so nice. I took another panorama shot from the top of the man-made hill, when I discovered that various landmarks were visible now that the leaves were gone from the trees. I also got a few more shots of the Three Large Figures sculpture group that I posted about a few weeks ago. I admit I had a bit of fun playing with the contrast levels for this shot:

So, today marks the last day of November, which means I’ve successfully completed the National Blog Posting Month challenge. Thank goodness! I think I’ll try to return to quality over quantity in regards to my posting schedule.