Sunday, September 21, 2008
The City of Utrecht is one of the oldest in the Netherlands, with a long history of commerce, education intuitions and religion. We visited this city on a day trip by train and were lucky enough to find ourselves there when a number of museums were open along with many of the cathedrals and churches. Some of these had their start over a thousand years ago. It is a city of narrow streets and canals with old and new shops everywhere. You might get the impression that some of the residents get the idea that it is a Venice of the north.
We enjoyed coffee in a canal side café and then strolled along the old streets and canals of “Centrum”. We also visited a museum devoted to automated music instruments. Among these were varieties of the street organ that remain in use to this day in The Netherlands. All of the displays were in working order and many were demonstrated during the tour. Among these was a church bell chime that was built on the 1400’s, a clock given to Napoleon commemorating his coronation and many clocks and auto playing pianos.
While touring the Dom Church, we found an exhibition of art by Anneke’s sister’s neighbor, Mr. Haas, containing portraits of homeless people. It is indeed a small world.
Public transportation in this compact country is excellent and you can literally get anywhere by train and bus. And of course, bicycles are a way of life in this country with bike paths like nothing you have ever seen in the USA.