The Return of the Canal

The continued return of the canal
Historically, a canal has ringed the old city center of Utrecht. I posted last year about how a section along the western/northwestern side of town was drained and turned into a highway back in the late 1960s/early ’70s. Fortunately, they never got around to paving in the whole canal. Still, the road was still there when we moved here.

Fortunately, that side of town has been undergoing a massive renovation for eight+ years, though it’s got a ways to go still. Some bits I’m still a bit unsure about, but as things start to come together a little more, it’s all looking a better.

I wrote about how a large section of the canal was recently refilled (late last year/early this year), but it seems I never posted the few pictures I took. Probably because it was a rainy day and I only had my phone’s camera and a dog that didn’t feel like pausing for long to get a decent shot.

This week, I discovered that the section near the newly rebuilt Tivoli Vredenburg music hall (the one with all the circles) has had some updates and the water has been added there, as well. The picture quality remains lousy, because it was another rainy morning and Charlie wasn’t interested in stopping for long, and I still only had my phone. Still, you can see the start of things to come. The picture above is a poster showing what the final plans are and as you can see, the steps leading down to the canal on the left have just gone in. In the photos to follow, you’ll see the large central structure under construction. That area behind it all is part of the Hoog Catharijne shopping mall, which is a nightmare now with so much of it torn down and other bits being built. It was always easy to get lost and it’s even easier now!
The continued return of the canal
The continued return of the canal
Behind this view is the stretch of canal that has already been filled in.
The continued return of the canal
I managed to find the photos I took in January so you can follow the canal a bit.
This is looking toward the bridge where I stood to take today’s pictures. You can see that the large central construction is making progress.
The water returns
This is another bridge slightly further down (with bonus Charlie).
The water returns
And this is the bend in the canal along the northern section. I should go back and see what they’ve done with the dirt areas. Greenery would be nice.
The water returns

What do you get for the 894th anniversary?

It’s that time of year again. Utrecht is celebrating its 894th year as an official city. On June 2, 1122, Keizer Henrik V officially recognized Utrecht as a city. (Of course, Utrecht’s history goes back much further. The Roman fortifications date back to around 50 CE, and people may have inhabited the area during the Stone Age, going back to 2200 BCE.)

There are usually some festivities each year. I think the ones this year are more about family history. However, throughout the year, you can find a marker along the Oudegracht commemorating the event.
In honor of 894 years as a city, I thought I’d post a few photos of some of my favorite, unique places that make it such a wonderful city.
Urban Invasion
Roman Walls [Day 126/365]
Cathedral Art
Grachtenrace ronDom
Autumn on the Oudegracht
Rietveld-Schröder Huis [Day 281/365]
Winkel van Sinkel

Ghost in the Sunshine
Views from Neudeflat

Weekly Photo Challenge: Circle

I was reminded of the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge today, so I thought I’d see what this week’s theme is and see if I have anything that fits. Cirkel (circle) is the theme, and my first thoughts went to the canals and particularly the bridges that have half-circle arches that form a full circle when they reflect in the water of the canal.
circle bridge canal reflection

Color Explosion

We’re reaching peak autumnal coloring right about now, it seems. On my morning walks with Charlie these past couple of days, with the sun shining and the sky a lovely blue, all the yellows, oranges, and reds of the changing leaves have been pretty spectacular. There’s a lot of yellow around town, and as in this first photo, it really glows when the sunlight hits the leaves.

That sunlight also creates some beautiful spotlights as the rays burst through the trees, as it did this morning in a little spot by the Sonnenborgh.
The trees also create wonderful pops of color against the austere brick architecture. This building, in particular, seems made for this time of year, though perhaps better suited to the darkness and fog. I always think it looks like something out of a classic horror film. Love it!
As we approached the Domplein, the Domtoren was glowing brightly, almost bleached by the sun, but this red tree at the Trans was particularly spectacular, with the mix of colors and the bright red against the blue sky.
And finally, in the Domplein, Jan van Nassau has a stunning backdrop of changing leaves and unchanging Gothic architecture. Utrecht was looking pretty fantastic this morning.

Misty Morning Walk

Misty Herenbrug

I used to joke about taking Pippo on “death marches”, when we’d go for extra long walks around town. This morning, Charlie was the one who took me on a death march. There was no stopping him today. Though for every one step I took, I think he took about 30, moving like a sidewinder down every street and sniffing every doorway. He even took a brief detour through the front door of one of the new restaurants on Zadelstraat before I could rein him in. Fortunately, they didn’t seem to mind.

Sunday mornings remain one of my favorite times to go for long walks through the city. It’s quiet and the only other people out are fellow dog walkers and joggers/runners. Today started off quite misty, as you can see in the picture above. That was the first photo of the day, as we headed off to do some plastic recycling. Eventually, we ended up on the other side of the city, and while the mist was burning off, it still lingered enough to make some of the views and scenery that bit more ethereal and dreamy.

At one point, we ended up going down one of the narrow streets that leads to the Catherijn church and museum. The tower top was just barely visible in the mist.
Misty Catharijn
Eventually we ended up on the west side of town, with another view of the stadsbuitengracht, the canal that rings the old city center. The first photo was of the same canal, just on the eastern side of the city. The mist had lifted, but enough remained to give a soft view in the distance. We found a nice spot to pause (catch my breath), and enjoy the artwork and the scenery.
Canal Art
As we headed back home, I caught a glimpse of the Domtoren rising over the rooftops, but still shrouded in mist that high up. I couldn’t resist taking a picture.
Misty Domtoren

Morning Light

Morning Light
I remember taking a similar picture not that long after moving here, when I would take Pippo out in the mornings. The light on this section of the Wittevrouwensingel is often like this in the morning. Slightly misty and dreamy, with sparkles of sunlight. If you have to get up early in the morning to take a dog out, at least it’s nice to have such pretty scenery. I’m enjoying getting out and enjoying the view once again.