Nice sunset view as we pass over London, England, on our way to Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Shkodra, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Hiking the Peaks of the Balkans, June 13-24!

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Utrecht, or Amsterdam?

We didn't plan on making a choice between the two, and we haven't really done that. We still want to visit Amsterdam at some point, but not on this trip. 

When we visited Czech Republic in 2012, we found Prague to be very touristy and very expensive compared to the rest of the country. And we found that the smaller city of Olomouc had as much to offer, but without the tourists or the high prices. 

And it's much the same when comparing Amsterdam to the smaller city of Utrecht.

We drove Max over to a parking area at the north end of the city near a sports park with a lot of tennis courts and football (soccer) pitches. From there, it was an easy 3.5 km (2 mile) walk to the center of the city.

Lots of canals.

Mural of the central area.

Scenery along the way.

Utrecht Cathedral.

Central Utrecht.

A tunnel that is "decorated" with graffiti and lit in different colors.

Lots of people out and about.

Central canals.

Interesting buildings.

Another canal.

We needed to get some lunch, and we ended up at a Vietnamese street food place. We've learned that the cheapest food is usually Thai or east Indian. This place advertised Pho which is usually an inexpensive filling meal. Including tip, the bill was €18.10 ($26.70 CAD, $21.30 USD). It was about that price just at some of the takeout sandwich places, so we think we did okay.

Inside the Neude Library.

The building was constructed as the main post office in 1924, and it was used for that purpose until 2011. It was repurposed as the library, and opened as such in 2020.

We spoke to a security guard who told us that the stone statues along the wall were installed as blocks of stone and integrated into the walls. They were then carved in place. There is one piece of stone that was never carved, and the story is that they ran out of money at the time.

Stone that was never carved.

Stone statues line the walls.

The central "medieval" area is all pedestrian streets.

Many of these buildings date back 500 years.
Notice that things are pretty crooked.

Bicycles and canals.

At first, we thought this was a new building under construction.

But it's not... it's the 14th century Dom Tower that is being restored. Restoration began in 2019 and will be completed in 2024. The tower is 112.5 metres (368 feet) in height. The tower is still open during the exterior renovations, and you can still climb the 465 steps to the top... at a cost of €11 ($16.25 CAD, $13 USD). No thanks.

We did go in the cathedral.

Utrecht University Hall.

The cathedral garden is looking a little sad.

Scenery on the way back.

We had a good day, and enjoyed the city of Utrecht! Didn't map it out, but I'm sure we put on over 10 kms (6 miles).

Today, we will meander our way a little bit north and see what we can come across.


And in Canada...


  1. Wow. Utrecht. I'm 100% Dutch, in spite of my French (married) name, and I never had any great desire to go to the Netherlands before today. I'm also not much of a city girl--give me mountains, water, countryside... But these pictures turned all that on it's head. Just gorgeous. So glad I follow you guys!

    1. Yes, Utrecht is a beautiful city, we really enjoyed our day there and after seeing Utrecht we find it hard to believe that Amsterdam could be any better. We also aren't big city people and would much prefer the mountains and the countryside but here in Europe it is hard to not want to see some of these cities, the architecture and history is really quite incredible.

      We are glad that you enjoyed the post and hopefully we will give you more reasons to come and visit the Netherlands before we are finished with our visit here.

  2. Wow, those building are so cool, I love them!I think we need to see more of Amsterdam! We will plan to get over there. Take care, Rawn Stone

    1. Yes, they certainly are. The whole downtown area of the city was pretty cool, we totally enjoyed our day there.

      This was the city of Utrecht, not Amsterdam, we aren't going to visit Amsterdam on this trip in the Netherlands that will have to wait until we make a return visit here in the springtime but probably not next spring, maybe the one after that.

  3. I read about the hamlet of Scheendijk in Utrecht province, which has summer holiday homes in bogs. Will you be exploring around there by foot? Seems intriguing. Kathy Park

    1. Yes, that is where we were the day before when we went walking down the river with all the beautiful homes. Scheendijk was just behind us but unless you have a boat or can see it from the air there really is nowhere that you can go walking to see the area as the homes seem to be on private roads or access by boat only. We did enjoy our walk along the river with all the beautiful homes though.

  4. You made a good choice of city. We spent a few days in Amsterdam in 2000 and felt we could easily have seen all we wanted to see in two days. Charming but too busy for us.

    1. Well that is good to hear! Our daughter who has been to Amsterdam, said that after looking at our pictures of Utrecht, that we didn't need to visit Amsterdam, she said they look very similar. However, we do still want to visit Amsterdam but it won't be until next year or the year after and we will go in the spring time because we want to see the tulips in the Netherlands then and we have a little project that we want to do in Amsterdam.


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