July 2021. A week after my Eindhoven escapade featuring the DAF Museum and a night at Hotel Mariënhage, I travelled to Utrecht for a culinary weekend with Steve. At that time, the Netherlands were very liberal concerning coronavirus countermeasures. That was both concerning and liberating at the time.
The Netherlands, July 2021
- St. Martin’s Cathedral Domkerk Utrecht.
- Centraal Museum Utrecht.
- REVIEW | Carlton President Hotel Utrecht Maarssen ft. Restaurant One24.
- REVIEW | Restaurant 273 in Utrecht.
- Hotel Mariënhage in Eindhoven.
- DAF Museum in Eindhoven.
Sometime in June I asked Steve if he wanted to do something together in July. As a teacher and school coordinator he had a very busy and tiring COVID-19 affected school year. So he was absolutely up to get away in July.
In 2020 we did The Hague:
I looked for a good arrangement. The Dutch love arrangementen or deals. In this case a night or two combined with a dinner or two. Yes, we have that in Belgium too. We did it in Florenville in June 2021. But still.
So I suggested Steve some destinations: Nijmegen, Breda and Utrecht. It was to be Utrecht. I had been twice for the Dutch Railway Museum or Het Spoorwegmuseum and later for the ‘Tosti’s, truffels, treinen’ exhibition. So yes I had seen Utrecht but also not.
Steve never had been to Utrecht.
So we booked a hotel, the Carlton President Utrecht Maarssen and bought train tickets.
We left Saturday morning. As the weather forecast wasn’t great, we decided to visit the Utrecht Dom first, followed by the Centraal Museum with Dick Bruna‘s Miffy atelier. We also walked quite a while in search for a Kruidvat. In the Netherlands you can buy painkillers and anti-inflammatories in a drug store.
We returned to the station to fetch our bags and looked for a bus to the hotel. We couldn’t find the bus stop. On Sunday in the other direction it became obvious where it was. Utrecht Centraal Jaarbeurszijde in somewhat underneath the tracks. Anyway, we took a taxi.
What do you do near the end of a weekend away, on the last day? Get up, check out of the hotel and go home? Perhaps visit something but there’s always this itch of “when do we go home?”.
So when Michaël, a colleague, suggested we should have lunch at Restaurant 273, named after its address: Oudegracht 273 in Utrecht. Apparently it opened just a week prior to our visit.
But still we had some time to kill before lunch. The perfect excuse to walk around the city centre and its grachten or canals.
We discovered Utrecht to be very gezellig. Cosy. It has this Amsterdam vibe and charm but less noisy and without the nauseating smell of weed everywhere. Cyclists everywhere though, so beware.
I can absolutely recommend a day or two in Utrecht.