Yellow is a tough color to wear, but the caryatids at the Winkel van Sinkel on the Oudegracht seem to be pulling it off. I guess if you’re going to wear such a vivid shade, it’s not surprising that you’d need to also wear shades. On a bright, sunny day (which we’ve got an abundance of, suddenly) it’s an almost eye-searing display! It’s not the first time the ladies have dressed up for a cycling race. When the Giro d’Italia came through a few years ago, they got into the spirit, though in perhaps a more elegant and understated way. But as you can see, decorating with bicycles is always an option, especially on the front of buildings.
(photo courtesy of gertvr)
I recently came across a large set of old photo postcards of Utrecht on Flickr and I’ve enjoyed going through them and seeing which ones I know well and which ones I don’t recognize anymore because of the changes. The person who posted them on Flickr has mapped them all out on Google Maps and has started taking new photos of these old locations. I thought I’d go through some of my own photos and see what I have that matches up and maybe head out to take new version of some of the photos if I don’t have any already. These will be my Time Travel posts and I’ll try to post one at least every Thursday.
Today is the Oude Gracht (the old canal), which runs through the city and is one of the more touristic spots, yet still very much a part of regular life for locals, too. One of the more famous buildings along the Oudegracht is the Winkel van Sinkel, which is primarily a restaurant/café/nightclub now. The name seems to have changed since the original photo was taken (Vlaer & Kol), but otherwise, the buildings and the canal look very much the same.
My photo was taken a few years ago during one of the Cultural Sunday events when there was a boat-based set of concerts up and down the canal. Boats with musicians would work their way along the canal to different spots to stop and perform. Other than a few more trees now, there seems to be little difference!
I came across this video today and wanted to share it. It’s a lovely short promotional film highlighting the beauty, charm, and culture of the city. It all looks so glam! I also thought it might be nice for people to see the city in motion, in a sense, if you haven’t been here before and only know my photos. Some of it might even be familiar now!
Friday night we took my parents to De Muntkelder, the fun pannenkoekenhuis (pancake restaurant) on the Oudegracht. It’s one of those things you just have to do with visitors. Afterward, we headed over to Graaf Floris for Irish coffee and appelbollen. As we got to Winkel van Sinkel I couldn’t help but notice a bit of decoration strung up. I also noticed a couple of bikes up on one of the railings. Oddly enough, I didn’t at first think of the bikes as decoration; I found myself assuming they’d been strung up there by some random person being silly. After all, it’s not the first time I’ve seen bikes in strange places here.
However, I soon realized that those bikes were supposed to be there, and the decoration was there to celebrate the Giro D’Italia bicycle race that is making an appearance here in the Netherlands this weekend. (The first stop is often in a country outside of Italy.) The riders are going from Amsterdam to Utrecht and should be going through the city center here later this afternoon. In fact, they should be passing the end of my street, so hopefully I’ll be able to get a glimpse of it all if the crowds aren’t too deep (and tall).
Meanwhile, the city is covered in pink, the color of the Giro D’Italia. There are Ronde Van Italië (Dutch way of saying Giro D’Italia) flags and banners up all over town, along with lots of independent displays, including some nice show window displays. Even the Domtoren has been lit pink in the evenings.
For the first time in days, we had sunshine today. A nice break from the rain we’ve been having for the past week, and the rain it looks like we’re expecting next week. Today also happens to be the monthly Cultural Sunday, which has a changing theme each month. This month the focus is on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. We took advantage of the sunshine and headed over to the Stadhuis (the old city hall) by the Oudegracht to see the temporary wall that is being built on the square. Many of the blocks making up this wall feature comments from people in regard to the Berlin Wall and the lack of freedom many experienced as a result. One comment that I saw was from someone whose parents were Hungarian and who didn’t have the freedom to travel at will. This person, however, does have that freedom and says to appreciate the freedoms we have now.
We also went into the Stadhuis to see if there was anything that we could look at/take part in, that didn’t require an understanding of Dutch. Not much luck, but we did get to see some animation stills that are on display as part of the Holland Animation Film Festival also going on this week.
After wandering around for a while, we decided to stop at the Winkel van Sinkel and have a coffee on the terrace before heading over to Albert Heijn for a bit of grocery shopping. It’s that time of year again when a few more shops — especially grocery stores — are open (or open earlier) on Sundays. It seems to last through the holiday season. Just long enough to get you used to it to make you than miss it when everything goes back to the closed-on-Sunday hours in the new year.