Utrecht on Easter

Paasdag
Utrecht is looking mighty fine today. The weather is glorious, though still with a bit of chill. But as you can see, the sun was shining in full force and the sky was a glorious shade of blue with the occasional fluffy white cloud.

We took a walk along the canal that rings the old city center on the eastern side, planning to drop off some recycling, see my dear friend the Spoetnikkijker, and then head to the Domplein to check out the Streekmarkt, in hope that there would be some fresh asparagus on offer.
Paasdag
The walk along the canal was perfect, with daffodils sprouting everywhere and the water reflecting the sunlight like a mirror. Although the trees are still bare, greenery is popping up elsewhere, making everything look lush and welcoming.

It was a joy just getting out and enjoying the city and the scenery, camera in hand. It’s been too long since I’ve had a chance to walk around on a nice day, without work obligations hanging over me. I think I took something like 200 photos, so there should be plenty of new pics to post for the next few weeks! I even got a couple of shots so I can do some more Time Travel posts (and close a few more tabs in my browser). Oh, and lots of cat photos!
De Streekmart
Eventually we made it to the Domplein to visit the Streekmarkt. I think it’s the first time the market has been held in the Domplein. It’s been on Twijnstraat and Mariaplaats in recent years. It’s a nice market, typically focusing on organic food and other items all made in small batches. Sometimes there’s fresh produce, so I was hoping to find some asparagus for tonight’s dinner, but sadly I didn’t see any. There were a number of food trucks of one sort or another, including an Argentinian grill truck and a tosti truck. The aromas in the square were mouth watering and everything looked delicious.

Since we were in the area, I decided to stop by the VVV (tourist office) that’s there in the square. I knew they had begun carrying some 3D-printed Domtoren necklaces and earrings and I was interested in getting a necklace. I’ve had a VVV giftcard in my bag for more than a year and figured now would be a good time to use it. In the end, I got the necklace, a Tour de France-inspired Domtoren T-shirt (don’t forget, the race starts here in Utrecht, 4 July), a Domtoren print, and a mug that matches one of my favorite Utrecht prints. All in all, a very nice day!
Domtoren

Apocalyptic Skies and a Banana

Good ol’ Dutch weather. Sometimes it changes from one day to the next, other times it changes from one minute to the next. Mercurial easily defines the weather of the past few weeks in Utrecht, when we’ve had a stunning mix of sun and clouds, often at the same time. Today we’ve got ridiculously high winds that even managed to open our front door! (The locks are now firmly in place.)

We’ve had quite a few days of clear blue skies, without a cloud in sight, which are always a joy to see.
blue skies
And then we’ve had days with apocalyptic clouds paired with crisp sunlight.
clouds and sun
Sometimes you get a mix, depending on whether you’re looking east or west. These two photos were taken seconds apart in front of our restaurant on Biltstraat, looking right (east) and then looking left.
light and dark
silhouette

And when you start to get acclimated to the bizarre weather and think you won’t see anything strange, nature pulls another trick from her sleeve: the banana bush!
banana bush

A Watery World

People are always surprised when I say that the Netherlands and Florida are similar in many ways. Both are flat, lots of water, lots of humidity, and as the past few days have proven, the weather can change in a flash and you can have sunshine and rain all at once.

Today I was out running a few errands and trying to enjoy a bit of a wander around the city, as I rarely seem to do these days. Unfortunately, I should have checked the buienradar app before heading out, as I managed to get hailed on twice. But like Florida, these little bursts of precipitation were over quickly. Sure, I looked a bit scraggly by the time I got home, but otherwise it wasn’t too bad. In between outbursts, I even managed to get a few photos of items reflected in the puddles. The brick streets may be a pain sometimes, but they do add a certain charm to puddle pictures.

The first that caught my eye was simply the reflection of a lamp in a puddle on a little side street I ducked down to check out some wall art.
Lamp
Next up was the Stadhuis (city hall) with its grand neoclassical style and central pediment.
Stadhuis
Having felt a bit unlucky with all the rain and hail, suddenly Lady Luck decided to give me a break. I had been hoping to get a shot of the Domtoren reflected in a puddle, but wasn’t sure I’d be able to find a conveniently placed puddle. Score! And as you can tell from the raindrop, just in time!
Domtoren

Domtoren in the Mist


Last week, Utrecht turned a bit misty, but that didn’t stop the city from looking stunning as usual. A number of people took amazing photos of the Domtoren with its own shadows in the mist. And now it turns out someone else captured some beautiful aerial footage with a drone of the Domtoren in the mist. I’m just envious that I didn’t see it for myself.

The Return of Old Friends

Friends
I don’t mean the snow that showed up overnight, although we’re getting to know each other much better this winter. I was up early and restless this morning and decided to go for a walk. I’ve been cooped up indoors working so much that I really needed to get out. Despite the snow that was still falling, I set out with no real destination in mind. I ended up walking down Voorstraat, through Neude, over to the Stadhuis, Winkel van Sinkel, more of the Oudegracht, over to Mariaplaats, along Mariastraat, and then ended up on the western side of the city where the canal that rings the city starts up again. At that point, I decided to simply follow the canal all the way back home to the eastern side of the city. In all, I was gone for around two hours and took 147 photos. I do enjoy a nice, long walk.

As I approached the park near the Sonnenborgh Museum (astronomy and such), I realized today would be a great day to get a photo of my favorite statue, the Spoetnik Kijker! That put a spring in my step! After snapping a few photos, I decided to have a bit of fun and pull Orlando out from his hiding place in my bag. My poor little flamingo goes everywhere with me, but never gets to leave the bag. After a bit of wrangling — it was a cold seat, after all — I got them both in place and snapped this shot. Lovely to see two of my favorites together!