Views Without Vertigo

I have a confession to make. Despite my love of the Domtoren, I’ve never climbed it. You see, I did climb the Campanile bell tower in Florence, but that was when I truly understood that I’m not a fan of going down stairs without a handrail. I always have a feeling that I’m just going to pitch forward. I’m like that with any stairs. Walking down the narrow, heavily worn, relatively steep steps of that tower was a nightmare for me and it’s about 30 meters shorter than the Domtoren. Fortunately, it was narrow enough that I could put a hand on both walls to give myself some sense of security, but occasionally we’d be met by people going up the stairs, which meant I often sort of pressed myself up against the wall and waited until they passed, for fear that their momentum would somehow unbalance me.

In the case of the bell tower in Florence, we were left to our own devices going up and down, so I could take as long as I needed to, but here in Utrecht, the tours of the Domtoren are guided, so you have to go with a group. Add in a knee injury a few years ago, and the result is that I’ve never gotten up the nerve to go up.

Fortunately, thanks to Google, I can now take a virtual tour of the Domtoren. Using the same street view option that allows you to get a 360-view of streets, neighbourhoods, and cities, you can now do the same with certain moments, including the Domtoren.

You can see the different levels of the tower by choosing levels 1-5, from the ground floor to the top exterior. I’m particularly fond of the view on level four, as you look up at the bells and the massive Gothic windows. On level three, you can actually move the image so that you are standing beneath the bells, looking directly up into them, clapper and all!

So if you’re like me and have an issue with stairs or heights, or if you just can’t get to Utrecht, you can now explore to your heart’s content with this great option. Zoom in, twirl about, look at the details … and maybe you’ll find yourself determined to get over your issues so you can go see it all in person.

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I’m going to canvas for comments again for my blog over at Expats Blog. Many of you have already left me amazing comments that have truly moved me, but if you haven’t and feel so inclined, please leave a comment on that page. With enough positive comments, it will help me be chosen Top Netherlands Blog.

Xtreme Laundry


I need to remember to finish doing the laundry before it gets dark. I forgot today and had to climb up the Stairs-of-Death (TM) this afternoon in the dark. Our laundry room is on the top floor, up these very steep and narrow stairs. There’s no light to illuminate them, unless I turn on the bathroom light or the office light for a bit of indirect light. I decided to not bother with the lights today, and instead turned to my spidey senses.

It’s a bit nerve-wracking to climb up these — or any — stairs in the dark. I pull myself up with the handrail and feel very carefully for the step underneath my foot. Thank goodness there’s carpeting at the top of both sets of stairs, so it’s easier to tell when you’ve reached solid ground.

There is some sort of wiring for a light up those stairs, although it’s only somewhat useful if you’re going up, not if you’re going down, although going down, you could always use the light from the rooms upstairs. I think I might look into getting a simple light for that area, just to make it more appealing for any visitors, and safer for me when I’ve left laundry until later in the day.

Ed. Note — I’m trying to take part in the National Blog Posting Month, where you try to blog every day for a month. Prepare yourself for more inane posts such as this.