There are a number of fantastic paintings on walls throughout Utrecht. This is one of the more recent ones I’ve noticed. It’s a cartoon and poem drawn and written by Dirkje Kuik, a fascinating figure in Dutch art and literature. I have a lot more to learn about Kuik myself, so for now, I’ll just leave you to enjoy this simple bit of wall art located in the museumkwartier (museum quarter) of the city, at the corner of Oudekamp and Herenstraat, opposite the Dirkje Kuik museum on Oudekamp.
I took a photo today, but the weather was lousy and I only had my camera phone with me. I just wasn´t inspired by the end results. I blame that in part on three days of sinus pressure headaches. Blah blah blah, something about congestion.
So instead I´m offering up another view of the Zakkendragersteeg from the other day. I particularly love this row of bright red shutters. When it´s a bit dark out and there´s a warm glow coming from the restaurant windows, it´s charmingly picturesque.
This one works as both an Utrecht Daily Photo and as a Different Donderdag entry. The original photo I took today wasn’t so hot, since it was taken with the camera phone on a very rainy, humid, dark day. Not the kind of weather that inspires an outing with the proper-ish camera. Instead, I found this older photo I’d taken, which shows it all off much nicer.
I pass these buildings on Wittevrouwenstraat on an almost daily basis. I’ve been inspired by them, as well, particularly the buildings with the curving rooftops. Yet there’s something about the Garage that I find so appealing, as well. Perhaps it’s the straightforward labeling, or the wagon-wheel-type window at the top. Regardless, it’s a building that always makes me smile. It’s also been a bit of a puzzlement for the past few months as the ground floor seemed to be turning into a second-hand shop, yet the shop never seems to be open. According to the sign in the window right now, it will be open on Saturday, at least.
As for why I thought of this to include in a Different Donderdag posting, it has to do with the building’s former purpose as an actual garage. One of the little differences is that in a downtown in the US, you probably will find working garages, but here in the Utrecht city center (the binnenstad, aka the original historic city center), you’d be hard-pressed to find a gas station/garage these days. They’re all on the outskirts now, probably for a variety of reasons, including beautification of the old city center.
In trying to find some information about this building, I came across a fantastic blog about the Ridderschapkwartier, which includes this part of town. I really wish my Dutch were better, because it seems like it has a lot of interesting information about this neighborhood. There’s a posting which mentions the Garage (and the buildings next to it) in relation to their former owners, a couple of prominent Dutch insurance families. You can read it here in the first entry (if your Dutch is good).
Zakkendrager. The little sculpture basically translates the name for you, sack dragger, or porter. Zakkendragersteeg, a narrow alley/street, runs between Vredenburg and the Oudegracht. It has become my favorite shortcut, but I also go out of my way to go down it now. There’s something so incredibly charming and vintage to the feel of it. You really feel like you’ve gone back in time a bit, despite some of the more modern shops along the way, although this is also a vintage clothing shop, as well. Perhaps it is the narrowness or the look of some of the buildings themselves, but it definitely has character.
This morning, there was a partial eclipse (zonsverduistering) of the sun. I missed it, though, because it was the one day I managed to fall back to sleep after awaking early, and thus slept in later than usual. That said, it was awfully overcast here this morning, so I’m not sure how clear it would have been, or how much darker it would have been. Still, some people did manage to get some nice photos of the eclipse. You can see some here.
Things have cleared up here today, though, and the sun was shining brightly around noon. That’s when this photo was taken. Did you catch the part where I said this was taken at noon today? Notice the position of the sun in the sky during what should be its zenith? Yeah, gotta love winter suns. I may have missed the partial eclipse, but I think the sun shining through the trees, and the various clouds and vapor trails have more than made up for the light show I missed this morning.
I’m afraid the weather today isn’t really encouraging me to get out and photograph anything. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be more inspired. Instead, I present a photo from Sunday, showing some of the carcasses of the fireworks that went off at midnight. The street cleaners were quick this year and got a lot of the mess cleaned up before I got out to take a few photos, but they obviously hadn’t gotten this small side street yet. There were empty boxes of numerous fireworks, and of course, these paper leftovers from the firecrackers that they set off in the hundreds (thousands?). Still there’s something vaguely pretty about the reddish-pink paper. It’s a bit like confetti!