The Paushuize and a Perk

paushuizeThe Paushuize (Pope’s House) has recently begun offering tours every Sunday afternoon. I’m going to be writing about the Paushuize for a website and a magazine, so I decided a good place to start on my research was a tour of the historic building.

Since I was also looking for a contact at the Paushuize to answer various questions I’m sure to have, I arranged my tour through a connection I’ve made at Toerisme Utrecht. If you’re interested in taking the tour, you can reserve a spot through the VVV Utrecht offices (Domplein 9) either in person or by email. Times, cost, and all other information about the guided Paushuize tours can be found here.

If you’re looking for things to do in Utrecht on a Sunday afternoon, I truly do recommend the tour. The curator of the Paushuize tends to be the guide and he does a great job of bringing all of the history to life, adding in humor and lots of interesting facts about the city, as well as the pope. You get fascinating true stories rather than cold dry facts.

As I said, I had arranged my tour through other contacts and thus the curator knew I was interested in learning more about the building. We also discussed a shared interest in various aspects of art history, including my love of architecture. As a result of this, I got a special sneak peak up into the attic of the Paushuize. Finally, a perk to being a writer!

Inherently, I found the old timber roof structure fascinating in its own right, but one of the reasons I got this extra viewing was because of the view from the attic. As the curator pointed out (as I’m American), the view today from one particular spot really wouldn’t have been any different from what it would have been in 1492 (when Columbus sailed the ocean blue).
You all know my love of the Domtoren, the cathedral, and the whole Domplein area, so getting to see it all from this new higher vantage point was truly amazing. I could have stood there forever.

Hopefully, I’ll get a new camera before I have to turn in one of the articles. If I do, I’m sure I’ll need to go back up into the attic area. For research purposes, obviously.

(If you’re curious, the image at the top is an antique print from 1857, depicting the Paushuize before all of the later additions were made. Learning about all the changes made to the building over the centuries was just one of the fascinating elements of the tour.)

A Year with the Gargoyles

First Section
One of the things I love about Gothic architecture is the sheer amount of detail. From the tracery in the windows to the finials that seem to top every point, there’s always something to see. Often, each bit of decorative detail is different from any other piece on the cathedral, like snowflakes.

Having taken last year off from the 365 photo project — the goal to take at least one photo every day — I decided to give it a go again this year. I figured it would encourage me to go for walks on my own and keep looking at the world around me. While out for our New Year’s Day walk, we stopped by the cathedral. I’m as drawn to the whole Domplein as a needle is drawn to north on a compass. While taking in the majestic detail of the apse, I had the idea to incorporate the cathedral into my overall 365 project. My goal this year is to photograph every gargoyle on the cathedral and in the garden next to it. Once that’s done, I’ll probably go back and start photographing various other decorative details until I’ve captured almost every inch of the place!

I could easily spend a whole day there, taking photos of each and every figure, but to keep me going out on a regular basis, I’m only taking photos of one gargoyle a day. I don’t do it every single day; but I’m aiming to go almost daily. I’ll probably do a post at the end of each week, or maybe I’ll just start a separate Tumblr blog for them. We’ll see.

I had to start somewhere, so I chose the section of the cathedral that you see above. It’s in the back of the cathedral on the southern side, near the entrance to the Pandhof. There are three gargoyles that run along the top of this section of the building, on the three bits of buttressing. I started left to right and you can see them in that order in the following pictures. I tried to get them head on and from a side view.

Gargoyle 1

This next one reminds me of a Muppet, like a cross between Fozzy Bear and Sam the Eagle.
Gargoyle 2

Gargoyle 2

Gargoyle 3

Gargoyle 3