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Utrecht – Holland’s Enthrawling Historic City

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I love Holland. It’s such a friendly place and it’s so accessible. To get my fix of all things Dutch, I headed for Utrecht.

I’ve been a few times to Amsterdam and I really do love the city, but in recent years, it’s been like there are too many tourists there so for my last trip I decided to head to Utrecht. To get there it’s pretty much the same as you would for Amsterdam. There’s the usual white knuckle decent into Schipol airport and then the same march to the train station. The Utrecht train passes through Amsterdam and was €9.80 when we went for the 35 minute journey. What a bargain and there was free Wi-Fi on the train.

Utrecht itself is a university town and being a University town, there’s a relaxed attitude about the whole place that is now sadly lacking in Amsterdam. There’s room to breathe, to relax and take in the sights. We were staying in a themed hotel – the Eye Hotel, which is the site of the former Eye Hospital. It’s a funky little place and the hotel staff were more than helpful. There’s a little market outside where we can buy all sorts of fabrics and materials.

"Utrecht is a beautiful city and we spent a day exploring the little streets and walking along the many canals. It really is a charming place. It’s also well situated for exploring some other places in Holland.”

 

We took a very fast train to Den Bosch, which was home to Hieronymus Bosch.

The painter from the late 15th and early 16th centuries who created the Garden of Earthly Delights. What a painting it is. There’s so much detail in it. It’s amazing to think that he painted that in 1515. It’s the same time that Henry the VIII was on the throne of England and the only English painting I can recall from the period is the Holbein portrait of fat King Henry holding his belt. 2016 was the 500th anniversary of his death so we went to a lovely exhibition of his work and there was a carnival procession on the water. It was enchanting.

Den Bosch was such a charming place, friendly people, great food and such history!


Utrecht was fabulous! so much to see and do. Holland is always so full of surprises.

 

Back in Utrecht, we explored the flower market and I must admit, I wanted something of everything. I talked to one of the bulb sellers and she assured me it was ok to transport them to the UK.

They even come with a certificate for import. They were quite heavy though, so she suggested we just post them home. What a good idea. It was only a few Euros and much cheaper than the excess baggage charged by some of the budget airlines (I’m not naming names, but you know who they are!). Once they’re planted, I really will have Euphoric Flowers!

The other thing we did, that was very Euphoric, was to visit a cheese shop. Now, obviously, everyone knows Edam, but we had amazing aged Gouda’s that were creamy, tangy and salty. We had a Parrano Prima Donna cheese that was mild, nutty and ever so delicious and a rare and hard to find Graskass, which is only made from the first milking’s of the cows after winter.

Holland – the Netherlands – call it what you will. But I’ll call it a euphoric moment!

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