See You Later Alligator

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Not my usual picture of Utrecht or the Domtoren. This one’s a bit grey and gloomy, especially when you look at the Domtoren’s clock and see that it’s 12:30, as in midday. That’s about as bright as it got yesterday, though at least it didn’t rain.

This past weekend was the seemingly citywide Christmas market festival. Mariaplaats, Stadhuisplein, Neude, Janskerkhof, Twijnstraat and other locations were hosting a variety of festivities. I usually enjoy it, but it didn’t seem as fun this year. The Zelfgemaakte Markt at Mariaplaats was great, as always, but the Stadhuisplein was pretty empty, while Twijnstraat was bigger and busier than ever, to the point that it was too crowded. We got our traditional cup of gluhwein and headed away from the crowds to sit and enjoy the mulled wine by the canal.

Perhaps the grey weather and the not-quite-so-enjoyable Christmas markets were Utrecht’s way of making me feel a little less sad about leaving.

Yup. We’re moving on. It’s not really what we had expected or planned, but it is what’s happening. After eight years in Utrecht, we’re now moving to Italy. In one month exactly. Stressful, depressing, and by the way if you need any furniture, kitchen odds and ends, it’s all for sale and we still have to pack and get the pets’ passports and ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!

We’re heading to Bologna next, where I plan on doing some more blogging. After all, I have a degree in art history with an emphasis on Italian Renaissance architecture, so if you think I did a lot of research on stuff here in Utrecht, you can imagine what I’ll be like there!

Still, I’ll miss Utrecht and the Domtoren and the Domtuin/Pandhof and the Spoetnikkijker. I certainly have plenty of photos of them all to remember them by, but it won’t be quite the same. But Bologna is a stunning city and I’m sure I’ll find some new favorite spots.

I certainly hope to do a little more blogging here, as there’s stuff I’ve yet to get around to posting about and a few things I want to see one last time or see before I leave. I’ll keep this blog up, too, as it still gets its fair share of visitors. And hopefully some of you will follow me virtually to Italy. Last time I was there I was using film and not a very good photographer. I can’t wait to improve on all of my grainy photos!

Ciao!

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Foto Vrijdag: Stormy Weather

Sun and Storms (no filter)
Not much blogging recently, huh. I just haven’t been in the mood. I blame it on the stormy, grey weather. Hail, heavy winds, lots of rain … with the occasional burst of sunlight as seen in the photo. This kind of weather makes me not want to do much of anything except hibernate. It looks like we might get some nicer weather Sunday, just in time for the kerstmarkt (Christmas market) on Twijnstraat, so hopefully I’ll get out and get to enjoy it once again. Gluhwein, cute animals at the live nativity, gluhwein …

Tomorrow, I may even finally put the tree up, since I did manage to make up a batch of homemade eggnog today. I’d also like to get the right holder so I can make some Chocomel (hot chocolate) in our coffee maker. Hmmm. I’m seeing a theme to my interests these days. Winter drinks. Maybe once I’ve had my fix of each, I’ll be feeling more of the seasonal spirit.

Foto Vrijdag 2.49 Take Me Back to New Orleans

Shades of New Orleans
It’s not New Orleans; it’s off the Mariaplaats here in Utrecht, but it certainly does remind me of some of the beautiful buildings with their wrought-iron balconies in New Orleans. This photo was taken a couple of months ago in mid October. It was getting colder by then, but we still had some days of beautiful golden sunlight. The famous Dutch Light isn’t a myth to me. It can be absolutely stunning here sometimes, making even the most mundane thing into a thing of beauty!

It seems there’s even a documentary that has been made about that famous Dutch light, investigating whether it’s more than a myth and if it still exists. I’m going to have to track this one down. For those of you with Netflix, it seems to be available there.

The past few days here have been a real mix of occasional sunlight, mixed in with snow, and the more frequent overcast skies. Not far off from the infamous four seasons in one day. We were expecting some more snow today, but that seems to have been altered to expected rain. In other words, it’s all kind of meh. Thank goodness for sparkly Christmas tree lights and warm chocomel (hot chocolate). I thought this picture might brighten things up a bit today, too. Cross your fingers that Sunday’s weather forecast improves. That’s the day of the Twijnstraat Kerstmarkt (Christmas market), which I enjoyed last year and hope to visit again.