I never finished posting some of the Nijntje statues that were dotted around the city last summer as part of the celebration of Nijntje’s (Miffy’s) 60th birthday. Seeing as today is Easter, I thought today might be a good day to post one of the image-heavy Nijntjes. This one is Oma Nijn (Grandma Rabbit) by artist Charlotte Dematons. Her version has Nijntje in a cozy cardigan featuring typical scenes of Dutch culture with Nijntje scattered throughout. I like the one where she and her friends are cycling through the tulip fields in both sunshine and rain. A bit like today! Which is your favorite?
On Sunday morning, I rode over to the park area by the Sonnenborgh Observatory. I wanted to take some more photos of my favourite Spoetnik Kijker (Sputnik Watcher) statue and have another look at the Hiëronymus Gasthuis that I posted about the other day. It was also just a nice day to go for a bike ride. I’m still primarily a walker, but I’m getting more comfortable with biking, as long as I don’t have to deal with the busier streets.
The small park where the statue is located really is a beautiful, peaceful area and somewhat unusual in that it is bordered on one side by a hill. Admittedly, it’s a man-made hill, but it’s still a large mound of earth. It was originally part of the walls that surrounded the old city center. The observatory and a couple of other buildings now stand on the top of the earthen wall, although some of the brick wall still remains.
As I was taking photos of the Spoetnik Kijker and his faithful, if somewhat distracted canine friend, I couldn’t help but be distracted myself by the games of chase going on in the other part of the park. There is almost always at least one dog playing fetch every time I go to the park and Sunday morning was no exception. There were at least three dogs running around, chasing each other and the balls being tossed about.
However, as I moved closer to the dogs to get a different angle of the statue, the furriest of the chasers seemed to take issue with my presence. He slowly began walking toward me (although I should point out I was on the other side of the street and nowhere near them!) and began baying. Amused, I couldn’t resist getting a quick shot of him, before deciding to put him at ease and walk back from where I’d come. Fortunately, I was finished taking my photos, because he didn’t seem to want to stop baying and howling! I decided it was time to hop back on my bike and leave him free to focus on his game of fetch.
One of my favorite spots is this little park area at the southern end of the old city center. I’m constantly drawn to it, pulled in by the appeal of what surrounds it: the Nieuwegracht and the ring canal, the old city wall, the towering trees, and most of all, by the Spoetnik Kijker (Sputnik Watcher). I’ve written about him before, and I’ve certainly photographed him numerous times, but he’s always a source of peaceful inspiration to me. I’ve been trying to get a shot of him during different seasons throughout the year. I took some photos this past December to try to capture some of the bare elegance of both the sculpture and the setting. I’m sure I’ll always return to him, with or without camera in hand. He really does make me feel peaceful and that little bit happier.
A few months ago, I saw a photo of this statue on Flickr and was curious about it, since I hadn’t come across it before. Turns out it was on Mariaplaats, so not exactly out of the way. It’s just not a part of town that I visit that often, it seems. I wanted to go and see it myself, and finally went this past Sunday. It was a beautiful sunny morning, so G, Pippo and I headed out to find the statue. We ended up wandering through some areas I haven’t been before and I got to know some other areas a bit better. It was a good day for getting some interesting photos. Somehow I liked the inclusion of the gentleman sitting to the right. And it’s not a Dutch photo if there aren’t some bikes in the shot!
In honor of the fact that I won today’s round of Waar in Utrecht, I figured I’d play my own version with one of my photos. Anyone who lives in Utrecht or knows the city might know where this bird is located. It’s here in the city center. Do you know? Put your guess in the comments. I’d offer a prize, but I can’t really think of anything at the moment!
I’ve inadvertently been focusing on various sculptures and statues around town for the past few weeks of Foto Vrijdag entries, so I figured this week I’d intentionally continue the theme with one of the most famous statues here in town. It’s Thinker on a Rock, by Welsh artist Barry Flanagan. There are other versions in cities in the US. We got our version in 2002. He sits facing Neude square, at the end/beginning of Voorstraat. Really, how can you not love this symbol of a free thinker!