137 Kilometers From Paris to Utrecht

Tour de France Utrecht 2015
OMG, y’all! For the first time in more than a month, I left the house to go somewhere other than work! Six days a week, working two jobs, has left me little time or energy to do much of anything. But a quiet Sunday morning is one of my favorite times to go for a walk and with the heat abating a bit, as well, I set out for a short photo walk.

I had the Stadhuisbrug in mind today for a specific reason. Today is the last 137 kilometers of the Tour de France. Next stop? Utrecht! As I’ve mentioned before, Utrecht will be the site of the Grand Depart for the 2015 Tour de France. Various decorations, signs, and banners have been popping up around town already. The latest is this sculpture on the Stadhuisbrug.
Tour de France Utrecht 2015
I learned from experience when another sculpture representing the Vrede van Utrecht (Treaty of Utrecht) was in the same spot that it is best to go when few people are around, otherwise it’s almost impossible to get a decent shot. There’s always someone on it or in front of it. Fortunately, the people who were on it today were on the other side and don’t show up too much and the nearby tour group was focused on something else.

I managed to get it from a couple of angles, including with the Wilibrordkerk and its spire in the background, and one with a nice bit of shadow on the ground.
Tour de France Utrecht 2015Tour de France Utrecht 2015
I haven’t followed any of the race this year, despite my best intentions, but I really hope to get to see some of it here next year. They will be going down part of Biltstraat, although I think they turn off before they get to Vino Veritas, but I’d love to see them going under the Domtoren. Regardless, best of luck to the racers today. See you in Utrecht next year!
Tour de France Utrecht 2015

European Cliché

SPRING op de Stadhuisbrug
The Spring Performing Arts Festival is taking place this week, with events of all sorts happening throughout the city. Some are big productions, while others are relatively simple installations that can be seen in passing.

On the Stadhuisbrug, there is a large silver box that is opened in the afternoons around 3 p.m. This particular piece is titled, “Ceci n’est pas …“, a reference to the Magritte painting, The Treachery of Images. This “Pandora’s Box” has a different theme each day. As the metal shutters are rolled up each day, they reveal a new person or people in various positions and settings. Each is making a statement — or at least trying to make people think — about some topic, be it gender, race, history, etc.

Thanks to Twitter, I saw that today the silver box contains a naked woman. (Nothing much really shows in the photo, for what it’s worth.) I have no idea what the theme is today, although the possibilities are numerous, I suppose. Still, from an American perspective, it’s such a “European” thing to have a naked woman as part of an art installation seated outside the City Hall building in the heart of the city. It’s become a bit of a cliché. Although these days, I suppose you might see a few in New York City, where it turns out it’s not illegal to go topless, whether you’re a man or a woman.