Let’s see how many days I can get into this blog.. ha ha.
Monday morning began with a ‘nice’ (NOT) thick head coldie head. I continued on my copious doses of Vitamin C.. which I was hesitant about to begin with, buy hey, they did work wonderfully in end, so what can I say… I’m a convert !!
Drugged to the eyeballs, we made our way to the tram stop, which is a very quick 5min walk from San & Richards. The tram ride is maybe 20-25mins from memory into Utrecht central. When we went to purchase our OV chip card (like our ‘Go Card’ in Qld), the woman who sold us our tickets was kind enough to let us know that the building opposite the station, the city council officers, had a free bathroom. Most bathrooms in Europe require a cost to be able to use the facilities (anywhere between 50c and 1 Euro), and of course we wanted to get out of paying that as much as we could. #cheapskates 😂
The most significant part of our day was to be climbing the Dom Tower. The Dom Tower is the tallest church tower in the Netherlands at 112.5 metres (368 feet) in height, and the Gothic-style tower is the symbol of the city. The tower was part of the Saint Martins Cathedral, also known as Dom Church, and was built between 1321 and 1382.
It was coolish weather, but warm enough once walking about to ditch the jacket and just have short sleeves. On finding out we had a bit of time to kill before our tour time, we came upon a lovely garden… it was really pretty… and had two very pretty cats roaming about it. Sadly though, one of the pretty cats was no so friendly and scratched me.. boo hoo. We found a great little treat shop, cakes and slices etc.. and that made up for the cat attack. lol.
The Tower tour was really quite informative, and also quite strenuous climbing the 465 steps. Lots of fun though, and fantastic views from the top. There are 13 working bells within the tower, which tell a huge story all on their own… so I highly recommend researching it.. there are some great YouTube videos etc. Here is a fantastic one where the bells played Abba songs.
After our tour was done, we found a great lunch (Calzone) at a street vendor along the canal, and we simply sat by the canal to enjoy that.
After doing some more walking/exploring the beautiful city, we headed back home on the tram. An early night was in order with this silly head cold I was battling. I was sooooo grateful that our lovely hosts are healthy food eaters.. as I’m sure that really helped me to kick it to the kerb….. as well as just keep my tummy happier.
Tuesday was an exciting day as we were heading to The Hague. It was about 40mins on the train from Utrecht central, as well as the 25ish mins on the tram from Nieuwgein. Utrecht is a pretty busy stations with 17 platforms, and 178,000 passengers each day.
There were several things we were keen to see in The Hague, but the standout was the Panorama painting.
Panorama Mesdag is a panorama by Hendrik Willem Mesdag. Housed in a purpose-built museum, the panorama is a cylindrical painting (also known as a Cyclorama) more than 14 metres high and about 40 metres in diameter (120 metres in circumference). From an observation gallery in the centre of the room the cylindrical perspective creates the illusion that the viewer is on a high sand dune overlooking the sea, beaches and village of Scheveningen in the late 19th century. A foreground of fake terrain around the viewing gallery hides the base of the painting and makes the illusion more convincing.
This really was worth the 10 Euro entrance fee. I would imagine that it looks 10x better to someone that can actually see the detail. But even for me, it was amazing.
There really is so much to see in The Hague, everywhere you look… the palace, the gardens are amazing, the greenery is EVERYWHERE… so many big beautiful trees everywhere.
We made our way to Strandweg and found a gorgeous 2 level Pier stretching 382m out into the North Sea. It was extremely windy and cold by the ocean, so walking along the open top deck wasn’t really an option, but we walked through the warm enclosed bottom level, which has shops, food places, even a kids play centre. There’s a fancy restaurant right at the end which looked very nice, but wasn’t open. There is also a big wheel, as well a bungee jumping facility. We skipped the bungee jumping, but did go on the big wheel. It was a little disconcerting with the wind conditions, but otherwise, the views were amazing !!
After leaving the Pier, we found some really great murals alongs the beach front, as well as enjoying the sight of the Pier from underneath… pretty fascinating. Back up on the promenade, there were lots of great food places to choose from, and the one we settled on did not disappoint. It even had roaring fire places, which made it super cozy and comforting.
The windy conditions probably weren’t the best thing for my head cold, as after making our way back ‘home’, another early night was in order, as well as sitting out of the planned Wednesday destination, which was to explore Rotterdam. So, sadly I can’t tell you anything about Rotterdam.. 🙃
OK… that’s it up to Wednesday… See you in the next blog !
Blessings peeps . xox