Mykonos, besides being a Greek island, is a restaurant here in Utrecht just off of Neude. When I passed by the other weekend during the Tour de France Grand Depart events, I couldn’t help but notice a certain French bistro touch to the outside that I don’t remember. Or maybe I’ve just been oblivious. Either way, it’s pretty and charming.
A rainbow bicycle seems the perfect image of my thoughts these days. With the Tour de France Grand Depart fast approaching — and more and more decorations going up around town that I hope to photograph tomorrow — it’s hard not to think about bicycles even more than normal. We had the Giro D’Italia through here a few years ago, but that was nothing in comparison. Crazy. I’m also hoping we’ll get some extra business out of it, since our little restaurant/wine bar is just down the street from part of the course. Too bad we weren’t open during the Giro! Now I just have to figure out how to promote Italian food for a French race.
But some great news has also been coming out of the US for the past couple of days, particularly in regard to some Supreme Court decisions. Justice Scalia may be having the worst week ever, but I have a lot of friends who have been positively affected by the upholding of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and now the decision that gay marriage should be recognized in all 50 states and protectorates. So now it’s not gay marriage, it’s just marriage. And about damn time!
My Facebook feed yesterday became one giant rainbow, and even as I type this, the WordPress CMS even has a rainbow banner. Rock on! So glad to see that once the ball started rolling in the US, with state after state beginning to recognize gay marriage, it took a surprisingly short amount of time for it to become legal nationwide. Sure, it’s been legal here in the Netherlands (the first country to legalize gay marriage) since 2001, but better late than never! There are some Gay Pride parades that were already scheduled for today in the US. I’m sure they’re going to be extra amazing now! Gefeliciteerd!
Before I was struck down with the plague (OK, maybe just a really bad cold), I got to see the new initiative taking place on Biltstraat. I had read about the stickers going up all along the street and was curious to see them in person.
Biltstraat, a great street just outside the old city ring canal has seen a resurgence in the past year or so. When we first moved here, it was a fairly dull street with not much more than a lot of work placement offices and the occasional shop and grocery store. Now, there are great shops like AYA Living (fun, affordable items for the home and more), a new branch of Bert’s Bierhuis, and lots of interesting restaurants, including the unusual Te Koop, which sells not only food, but also the random bits of décor inside the restaurant.
Still, there are a few places standing empty or currently undergoing refurbishment. To get people interested in the street again and to help potential investors and entrepreneurs get a feel for what people in the neighbourhood want to see, the Biltstraat retailers association has started a fun initiative to see what kinds of stores people want to see move into Biltstraat. Anyone with an interest can go into AYA Living and pick up some of these stickers, fill them out, and place them on the windows of empty store fronts. (Be kind and don’t stick them elsewhere.)
Some of the most frequent suggestions are for a bakery/lunch place, drugstore, bookstore, cheese shop, and a Hema (a popular Dutch chain a bit like Target). Although there are many of these kinds of shops on Nachtegaalstraat (in theory, one block over), I understand the desire to have some of these shops on Biltstraat for sheer convenience, especially since Nachtegaalstraat is much busier, not to mention the big intersection by the Stadsschouwburg.
For multiple reasons, I like this initiative and am happy to see the businesses on Biltstraat taking such a positive approach to improving this historic street. After all, the street has been around since 1139 and was first paved in one form or another back in 1290. The street even has a very active Twitter account that does a great job of promoting the shops and keeping people up to date on what is happening on the street.
So the next time you’re in Utrecht, don’t forget to check out Biltstraat. Have a coffee at Bagels & Beans, do your grocery shopping at Jumbo, pick up some new guitar strings at Key Music, have a spa day at Descansa, and play laser tag at the Laser Centrum. Who knows what will be moving in next. Maybe even a wine bar as someone requested in the first photo.
When I took this photo last week, the sun was shining but the temperatures weren’t too hot. I was particularly taken by the purple wall against the blue sky filled with white fluffy clouds. The addition of the ironwork sign and the old-fashioned globe lamp added to the appeal of the image. It was one of those small pieces of the city that caught my eye.
Restaurant Deeg is a popular restaurant in town, and obviously they seem to serve La Trappe beer. I haven’t tried the restaurant, but have tried the beer. Lekker! With the weekend upon us — and we’re expecting another burst of summer weather — do you have exciting plans?