Holland: Utrecht

Oude Gracht with a view of the Dom.

We like going to the Netherlands for day trips or weekend get aways. There are really beautiful little towns and villages and a trip to our neighbouring country never disappoints us !

This time we went to Utrecht. We parked at P&R Westraven and took the tram to the city centre. If you come by car, this is, in my opinion, the best way to get into town as the P&R is easy accessible and the car park plus tram tickets for up to 5 people only costs you 5 EUR !

The tram dropped us off at the station… now there we had some difficulties finding the fastest way to the old part of town as there are extensive road and construction works ! But after some time we found our way and soon we were strolling around the beautiful city centre.

We walked  past Oude Gracht which is a really lively neighbourhood. The houses surrounding the canal are all very beautifully restored and there are a lot of bars, restaurants and heaps of shops (but I could resist buying some stuff as I am on my 50-day challenge !!).

The old university building of Utrecht on the Domplein.
Cloister from the Dom, Utrecht.
Oude Gracht
the Dom

While our 2 daughters went kayaking on the canals in Utrecht, my husband and I went to the Aboriginal Art Museum. As a number one Australia fan, I couldn’t miss this museum on contemporary Aboriginal art. Unique in the museum world, it is an inspiring location where visitors are introduced to Aboriginal art. The museum is recognized by the Australian government as an important Australian cultural heritage platform in Europe.

Aboriginal art springs form a 50.000 year-old tradition. From the early 1970s onwards, Aboriginal artists started to use Western materials such as canvas and acrylic paint. The museum’s collection includes paintings on canvas, sculptures, photography, film and multimedia work from the various regions and art centres.

Up until now I had only seen Aboriginal art in books and on television. To me, it looks quite simple, but seeing it in real, I was surprised by the power this art breathes. With just a few, mostly earthy, materials, the artist is able to tell a story and I was quite impressed by this extraordinary art. This museum is definitely worth a visit !

Lorrkkon : trees which are hollowed by termites. They are decorated and used to put in the bones of dead members of the tribe.
Tree bark paintings.

Yawkyawks : mythical, mermaid-like creatures.

Picture of Mimih spirits and crocodiles. Mimihs are good, but shy spirits. These creatures are really thin and are blown away immediately. That’s why they only appear on windless days. At night, around the campfire, tales are told about these ancestral creatures. This is often a way to talk about bad behaviour, without pointing a finger to anyone.
Women ceremony in Utopia, a community in the Central Australian desert area. There are a lot of reasons for women ceremonies, but according to the women, the most important reason is to become happy (and who could blame them…) !
boomerangs (returning and non-returning)

After our dose of culture, we strolled further into the old part of town, visiting the Domtoren with its peaceful cloister. Leaving the cloister on the opposite side from where we entered it, we discovered another part of the old town. How bustling the Oude Gracht may have been, so peaceful and tranquil this side of town was.

After our walk around the city centre, we caught up with our daughters. It was already wine o’clock so time to find a beautiful outdoor terrace to order a rosé wine with some tacos and guacamole dip. We went to Oudaen, a beautiful historical building at the Oude Gracht. It is a medieval fortified house built in the 13th century. It is, as many other buildings in Utrecht, restored to the highest standards. At first we sat near the canal itself, but after our apéro we went inside to have diner. What a grand building this is ! Although the weather was rather nice, we certainly weren’t disappointed to be eating indoors. We all enjoyed our diner and the staff was ever so friendly.

Then it was already time to leave this beautiful town, but not without vowing we’ll be back !

Love, Kathleen

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