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  • Day163

    Day 164: Utrecht

    July 28, 2017 in the Netherlands ⋅ 🌧 17 °C

    Another busy day today! Early drive into Amsterdam to drop off the car, then a train south for an hour to the city of Utrecht. Thankfully my train went directly past our town, so Shandos hopped on my train and met me on board!

    Utrecht is a medium-sized city south of Amsterdam, and I didn't know much about it until arriving. I guess I still don't, but it's a nice spot with lots of canals winding around and old historic buildings. We checked out the cathedral and grabbed an early lunch of sandwiches in a trendy cafe, then headed for the Centraal Museum where they had a few displays about the history of the city and stuff.

    But the main reason we were here was a UNESCO World Heritage Site (of course), a modernist house on the outskirts of the city. Our tickets included free bikes from the museum, so we hopped on those and cycled over, thankfully only about 10 minutes! It's great cycling around here, drivers look for you, expect you and respect you, and the roads are clearly designed to cater for cyclists. Lots of fun and very easy.

    The house itself was great - built in the early 1920s as a private house, in what was known as "Der Stijl". Very modernist, with lots of straight lines, primary colours, minimalism, and great use of space. The architect was more of a designer, and some of his old furniture was still inside. Interesting to see how his ideas about negative space (thinking more about the space inside a chair than the space the material occupies) was reflected in his house design as well.

    We filmed a bunch and did our tour, where the highlight was upstairs - a fully open-plan area. This was unheard of in the 1920s! It came with cleverly hidden sliding wall panels to create three private bedrooms and a lounge area, which was quite ingenious.

    Filming done, we headed back to the museum and dropped off our bikes, then walked back to the station and caught the train back to our houseboat at Abcoude. Since I'd driven to Amsterdam with the car in the morning, we only had one bike at the station. I drew the short straw and walked home, 25 minutes in all but thankfully it didn't rain! Spent the evening editing videos as we've just done six sites in four days and I suddenly need to start catching up!
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