Back in November Des and I decided to take a short trip to the Netherlands in an attempt to escape house renovation woes. We decided to stay in Utrecht, a large city around 20 minutes (by train) south of Amsterdam.
Much like York, the medieval city is built upon the site of an old Roman fortress. It is now a bustling university city with a multitude of cultural landmarks, tourist hotspots and a popular restaurant/shopping scene.
I actually spent 6 months studying at Utrecht University in 2011/12, so the trip was also a great opportunity for me to revisit old stomping grounds. Due to Utrecht's excellent transport links, we were also able to hop on the train to Amsterdam and spend two days exploring the Netherlands most famous city.
I thought I would share with you some of the pictures we took during our trip and give some insights into visiting Utrecht and Amsterdam. Hopefully it also proves a relaxing way to spend a few minutes on a pre-Christmas Sunday evening!
I also hasten to add that we did indeed eat rather a lot during the trip, there will be a post specifically on some of my favourite Dutch foods coming just after Christmas.
|Dutch Countryside, taken just outside of Utrecht|
|Autumn Leaves in Dutch Countryside|
|View over Utrecht City Centre|
|I just loved this cat's expression too much.... I couldn't help but include it!|
I thought I would give a little bit of a background on the next few photos, (please excuse my history related enthusiasm...)
The Dom Tower: This tower was once connected to the nave of St Martin's Cathedral, however due to lack of funds, the nave was never completed. Total and permanent separation occurred in 1674, when a tornado destroyed the still unfinished nave.
Inside the main body of the Cathedral, the interior very much reflects the tumultuous religious past of the Netherlands. The Cathedral was originally built as a Catholic place of worship, however this catholic past is almost virtually untraceable in the contemporary interior.
In 1566, the Beeldenstorm or Iconoclast Fury swept across much of the Low Countries, justified by the Calvinist belief that statues in a house of God were idolatrous images which must be destroyed. As a result, many of the ornaments on both the exterior and interior of the cathedral were defaced.
|Sculpture by unknown artist, Oudekerksplein, Red Light District|
|Me and The Nightwatch at the Rijksmuseum|
|Beautiful inlay at the Rijksmuseum|
|Rijksmuseum: The stone on which William, Prince of Orange, first stood upon when landing in England in 1688.|
|Canals just by the Red Light District|
|Some Christmas decorations|