Netherlands
Gemeente Utrecht

Here you’ll find travel reports about Gemeente Utrecht. Discover travel destinations in the Netherlands of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

38 travelers at this place:

  • Day22

    On the Rails Again ...

    September 10 in the Netherlands

    GROANS: The laundry wasn't free before we went to sleep last night so John got up in the middle of the night ... climbed another flight of stairs ...and put out load in then. It's an all in one machine ... it both washes and dries! I went to get it at 7:30am and it was still damp!! 😬 And so ... I started the dryer again!

    GAHS: We had contacted our host twice over the past two days to see if we could have a later checkout (it was 10:00am) but had not received a response. So ... we panicked a bit ... hoping that we could get things dry and packed in short order ... and ... decided to get coffee and breakfast at 8:30am ... and check again on the laundry after that. Seemed like a great plan!

    GRATITUDES: We headed off to a little spot we discovered yesterday that offered an American Breakfast for $4.95. They had humungous coffee cups and with 4 creamers ... it was just perfect! So ... we decided to go back again this morning. John had another apple pancake ... and well ... make no mind of the pile of creamers by my plate. I traded John my speculaas (they always give you a cookie with your coffee in Holland!) for his four creamers. I mean ... it's a BIG coffee! I think I made a great trade! 😁

    GRINS: Since we couldn't check in until 3pm in Utrecht and it is only 30 minutes away ... so ... we envisioned ourselves woefully sitting with our backpacks for 4 hours at the train station. BUT ... while we were at breakfast ... our host responded that we could check out whenever we wanted!! JACKPOT!

    GIFTS: So ... we got an extra half a day that we didn't anticipate to wander and wonder and while away the hours with new freedoms! And .... it is sunny and bright! 🎁🎁🎁

    We spoke before about how many of the buildings have tipped forward ... but they are also built to lean a bit ... because you can't barely get your bags up the staircases ... never mind your couch or your washer and dryer! And so ... they have hooks and/or pulleys on the front of the buildings to hoist the furnishings up and the little lean makes it so that the furniture doesn't hit the building on its way up!

    GAFFAHS: Along our travels, we noticed a sign indicating NO bicycles ... and yet ... the lane was littered with them. See what I mean about Amsterdam being laid back. 

    GROANS: We were intrigued to see them doing construction without safety precautions! They had multi-levels of scaffolding and no one was harnessed in ... and they were lifting all kind of things up the front of the building ... not using the hook or pulley!

    We enjoyed the leisure of the morning ... John even enjoyed a nutella waffle with whipped cream!! And then, we went back to check on the laundry about 11:30am ... feeling guity that we had left it so long ... AND ... it wasn't DONE!! So ...we went for a sandwich. Certain it would be dry and ready afterwards so we could get to the train station by 1:00pm for our train!

    GRIPES: NO! It was still not done. And ... the thing is ... with these machines, you can't just unlock the door! I'm panicking a bit now. Our laundry has been in the machine now for 12 hours ... and ... we aren't sure how to get it out! And we have a train to catch. So ... my hubby resorts to Google!! Thank goodness they saved the day and we got our clothes out ... eventually!! He was my hero in that moment for sure!!

    And so ... we headed off to Utrecht by train. Somehow we ended up in first class ... but had second class tickets. Guess what? We stayed there ... for the whole 30 minuted ride. We would have moved if they had asked us ... but ... not until!
    And then ... after a one kilometer hike to our accomodation ... that felt like 14 kilometers ... we got checked in and went for a refreshment! We ended up at the corner pub ... and had such a great visit with the proprietor and his one lone customer! They were so kind to us ... they didn't even charge us for our beer and wine! Wow!! Where does THAT happen?? Utrecht. Yep. Utrecht. They also pointed us in the right direction so we could get some groceries. We already loved it here!

    We thought we'd head out for a small bowl of soup ... so we took Trip Advisor's suggestion for SLA. Turned out to be a mostly vegetarian health food restaurant ... yes ... it was very green. They smuggly smiled when John asked if they served croquettes. Anyway ... he ordered the gazpacho and enjoyed the ginger lemon tea ....with a slice of raw ginger and slice of lemon in it! He's not ever eaten in a health food restaurant before!

    GAHS: Oh my ...and on the way there ... we had our life in our hands trying to navigate the streets with all the bicycle traffic!! We were chuckling about what to call an onslought of bikes . .. is it a gaggle ... a pod ... a swarm ... a heard ... or ... as my husband determined: "a pedal-flock". Yep. Those pedal-flocks are silent and treacherous ... they come at you from all directions and you can't hear them coming!!!!

    One of the things about travelling for weeks in a row like we are doing is that we have so many sights to see and our days are chalk full of 'doings'! We are looking forward to a little more opportunity for simply 'being' in Utrecht before we hit the rails again with lots of things we'd like to see and do in Paris!

    And so for now ... as long as we can avoid the "pedal-flocks" ... we are going to take it really easy for the next couple of days. A little bit more R & R is top of our list. So ... good night for now ... talk to you tomorrow!
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  • Day23

    We don't yet want to leave you Utrecht!

    September 11 in the Netherlands

    GAHS: We were so tired last night that we were nicely tucked on bed by 8pm. And ... John was still sleeping at 8:00am this morning. Who knows how long he would have snoozed had I not accidentally woke him while trying to make a coffee on a completely unfamiliar Nespresso machine!! I'd been up for an hour ... and was trying to be both quiet and patient ... but ... a girl can only go so long without her morning coffee.☕

    GRATITUDES: And ... after a couple of tries ... I figured out how to use the coffee machine!! And, we had bought cream at market so I was all set! We are really enjoying our accommodations here in Utrecht! They even have a Miele washer and dryer ... and an induction stove top and a combo microwave/oven for our use! But sadly ... there is no toaster. Perhaps it's because here in Holland they serve soft bread with food rather than toasted bread?? Or maybe if you want crispier bread you can eat rusk?? I'm not atall sure ... but we were sure happy to have a coffee in our pjs and be able to cook a nice breakfast in our room! 🍳

    GIFTS: Oh ... I forgot to mention ... when we were at the market buying our breakfast supplies ... we got a bottle of Pinot Grigio for $3.59!! And it was good!! I'm encouraged that wine might be more affordable from now on in our trip! 🥂

    And so ... as we were thinking about how we wanted to spend this day ... we chatted about the possibility of renting bikes. It sounded really good in theory ... relaxed and happily pedaling through Utrecht while taking in all of the sights. But .... as you noticed in the video from yesterday ... you really need your wits about you to pedal the paths here!!

    GROANS: And my anxious mind filled the potential for challenges: staying upright ... getting lost ... keeping my eyes on the roads and the scenery (not likely!) .... crossing the streets carefully ... not causing an accident ... the sore buttocks ... not falling off ... not taking out a pedestrian ... being on the wrong path ... holding up other bicycle traffic because I'm too slow ... keeping up with my hubby ... argh!! The more I considered the realities ... the less appealing it sounded. 🙄 And so ... we opted to descend the ladders at the canals and see more of Utrecht on foot! 👣

    GAHS: We also decided to book a train from Paris to Barcelona! And then we headed off to find some lunch. We traipsed around where we are staying ... and although there were many, many restaurants in the neighborhood ... not ONE of them was open! Sheesh! Finally we saw a Subway Sandwich shop and I had my first sub abroad! It was good!

    Just across the street, however, was an open square with a number of restaurants. John had a snack plate of a Dutch delights ... but it might be his least favorite food choice in our travels yet. 😕 So ... he set it aside and ordered some croquettes ... knowing it might be his last chance to have them ... and much to his pleasure ... they were one of the best he has had yet!! 😋 But ...we had no IDEA what was about to happen!!

    We headed home to do some more planning for the days ahead ... booking tours and flights and rooms ... and after we were done, we headed back out to our neighborhood to see what might be open for supper! And ... we hit the JACKPOT of JACKPOTS! We found our way to " 'tZusje" ... which is a most remarkable little tapas restaurant on the Oudegraght canal! They preferred we eat indoors for fear of rain ... but John really pressed to stay outdoors. Monique, our server, was most lovely ... and ... allowed us to have our wish. And, it was perfect ... because ... as another one of the server's so wisely noted; "if you sit inside, you don't even know which country you are in!" So true! So we sat alongside the canal and enjoyed the very best tapas we have ever tasted!!!

    And so ......... the verdict is in ... and it is unanimous!! Utrecht has provided us with our very best taste experience in our travels thus far! The tastes and the falavors and the experience was so magnificent!! Honestly ... probably going to be one of our favorite memories of this trip!

    And ... we capped it off with four desserts in honor of our grand daughters 10th birthday!!

    Honestly ... we are not ready to leave Utrecht quite yet! There are still many stones left unturned for us in this lovely place!! We have been well blessed with our time here!

    And, tomorrow ... we are off to Paris! We'll talk to you then ... :-)
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  • Day5

    The Quiet of the Morning

    April 29 in the Netherlands

    Slowing down a wee bit last night and this morning has been a great choice for TELNAS. After an amazing day in Amsterdam touring the Anne Frank house, walking the city streets, feeling some rain on our faces and navigating a very busy and overwhelming Rijks museum, we were ready for a night of decompression. After once again thanking Caroline, Anneke, Kai and Nieske for their help and hospitality, the kids dispersed to their chosen activities. Liam to his loft space, the two boys to a world in Minecraft far far away, full of giggles and building and storing inventory, and Ava to some homework, nestled in beside me. The only major agenda item on our list for the evening was acquiring groceries and making a nice dinner.

    After some rest and time to ourselves, Trevor and I and the three littles walked the two minutes up the path to the shops to pick up what we needed for the night and coming few days. The kids each have 40 euros for the duration of our time in Holland and boy is it burning a hole in their pockets. Sully is desperate to find Pokémon and the other two are generally on the hunt for interesting treats. We left the kids at a pharmacy type store to scour the shelves for treasures while we went for groceries. It was a successful run for what we all felt we ‘needed’ - food for supper and fudge chocolate for the kids. Oh, and Ava found a very reasonably priced beauty blender, which she was very happy about snagging. Make-up application is important you know and having the right blender makes all the difference.

    On our way back, we left the kids at the park and came home to make a nice familiar spaghetti dinner. After cooking and clanging around, all four kids began to hover and pace as kids are wont to do when they’re hungry. We soon had dinner on the table and their full attention as they devoured. It was a time for a bit of TELNAS reflection, a team check in of sorts on how the day went and what was to come in the next few days. Highs, lows and thankfuls were shared. All of us agreed that the Anne Frank House was a high. Sully said walking the streets for such a long long time was his low, which I’m not sure entirely if that was because he has short legs and was feeling very tired overall or if it had something to do with being scared a few times with some near bike and car misses with my shouts and strong arm yanking him away from the roadway. Adjusting to the narrow streets, compression of thousands of people and cars and bikes a plenty has been tricky for us all but the 8 year old has felt it the most acutely.

    We sat for a bit longer and ran through the coming day’s agenda. The family reunion, timelines, packing up, saying goodbye to the Airbnb and the ever present expectations we have of them for the get together, such as that annoying difficult social task of looking everyone in the eye when they’re introduced, speaking clearly and being present and attentive to whom they are meeting. This can certainly be hard for kiddos and teens, especially in big gatherings and new situations. Watching them grow and practice their social navigation skills is a pleasure. They’re all doing wonderfully on this adventure - stretching and learning and it’s magic to be a part of.

    The quiet of the morning is waning - Sully is now up and our sappy lovey sleepy morning feeling we woke up with is transitioning to adulting thoughts of packing, breakfast and the drive to Friesland. Goodbye sleepy peaceful feeling; until tomorrow when we meet again.
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  • Day3

    8 Hours...

    April 27 in the Netherlands

    Of sleep! In a row! The sun is up, the neighbourhood is quiet and peaceful and all of the kiddos are still snoozing. Trevor’s gone for a run and I’m sitting on the couch nursing this cold with a hot tea, listening to the birds chattering all the while drinking in the smell of netherlands spring. Lilacs and magnolias are in bloom, neighbourhood cats are everywhere and locals are sleepily walking their dogs. It’s a national holiday today so that is likely why there aren’t bikes zooming by; everyone is resting and taking it easy this morning. I’m feeling much more myself today after the sleepless whirlwind that yesterday brought and am slowly waking up to what’s in store for day two!

    Today we have plans to enjoy King’s day here in Utrecht by hitting up a canal tour at 11. A planned quiet morning with a slow start to give us all some time to decompress and rest. After which we’ll come back to this beautiful Airbnb home for some lunch. We’ll then head to Caroline and Henk’s to meet up with their three rascals and head to Rotterdam to see the windmills. Famke, Caroline’s daughter, is on school holiday already and joined us yesterday for the airport pick up. She’s a lovely gal and all the little kids hit it off very well chatting and cracking us up at lunch yesterday. I’m looking forward to seeing how much Kai and Nieske have grown today too and watching all the kids interact and play. We’ll have dinner at Caroline’s home tonight as well.

    But as promised, let’s finish out yesterday’s account first. Now, where did I leave off. Oh right, breezing through customs and rental van woes. Seriously, why did the Netherlands not care who was coming for a visit? Sullivan was so excited to have his new passport stamped in Iceland as we transferred planes yesterday and cleared customs and was then disappointed to not have a flashy stamp from Netherlands. So weird! No complaints of course - it’s far better to waltz through rather than have to answer questions and nervously dig for paperwork - but still, so puzzled by the ease of this hurdle.

    It’s fun to sit here this morning and reflect on yesterday’s travel day. A good night's sleep adds a fresh perspective and a bit of distance. I’m smiling to myself at the funny quips all the kids said throughout the day. The kids handled themselves marvelously through all the “new” but a few times had us all covering our mouths trying to suppress our laughter. We hoped this trip would stretch us all, teach us to try new things and jump in openly to fun and new situations. Trevor and I have both worked hard to prep the kids to be open and that situations my be different than their expectations and to be mature and roll with the punches. As we were walking on our first flight yesterday, after all the nerves and logistics of getting all 6 of us through security behind us, Sully was navigating his way back to our seats in rows 32 and 33. People were filing politely down the aisles as Sullivan loudly yell/exclaims, as only a newly 8 year old can “THEY HAVE TV’S!!”. Each seat on the flight had its own tv, as most flights are wont to have these days but this revelation was pure magic to Sully. His relief and joy was felt by all around him. All fellow passengers, including all of us, cracked up and enjoyed the moment as he very happily found his seat and settled in for the long overnight flight - in front of his very own tv screen.

    The flight went smoothly overall. As predicted, I didn’t sleep, but that’s par for the course for me. But thankfully, Nolan and Sully slept for a good few hours. Liam and Trevor caught a bit of sleep as well but poor Ava struggled to get comfy and didn’t sleep either. All the kids took it in stride and before we knew it, we were losing altitude and preparing for landing in Iceland. We were all tired for our 1 hour layover in Iceland and zombie walked with the hundreds of other passengers - some transferring to France and others like us to Netherlands. Shuttle buses, teeming rain and snow, small waiting areas, long queues but after an hr we were seated on our second flight ready for our second leg of the journey. We were in the exit row this time and low and behold each seat had its own tv again! The joy! But this time, you had to press a button while simultaneously pulling on a lever to bring the tv up from its hidden compartment. Sullivan was over the moon! That tv, in seat 19e, has never seen more of a workout in its life.

    After breezing through customs we were greeted by Caroline, Aunt Anneke and Famke. It was such a relief having them there to help us navigate the airport and our rental car fiasco. We’re making do with a smaller suv but its not ideal. On the bright side, driving a smaller car through small streets and busy traffic has been a blessing in disguise. We followed Caroline past the Koekenhof and took in the brilliance of colourful tulips and ended up at a lovely cafe for lunch. As we settled in and got sorted with menus, Nolan in true Nolan style had trouble finding something to suit his tastes. Before he and Sullivan, our two pickiest eaters decided on pancakes for lunch, Trevor reminded him he needed to keep an open mind. Tired stretched weary Nolan leaned into his dad and with a shaky voice and near tears about to spring form his eyes, he said “I do have an open mind I just can’t find anything on the menu I like”. It was a very serious matter of course but the humour was not lost on us. Pancakes saved the day and both boys happily defended their lunch choice and gobbled up their traditional Netherlands pancake with joy.

    The rest of the night was a bit of a blur. Settling into our beautiful temporary home, a grocery run, backyard and nearby park romp, showers to wash off the grime of travel and bedtime tuck ins. I mindfully went from room to room to sing to each little kid and settle them for the night. When I asked Sullivan what his very favourite part of our trip so far was, without missing a beat he of course said the tv on the second flight. Nolan surprised me and said the tulips. He doesn’t miss much that kid and is very reflective. Ava was already asleep by the time I could get to her room so will have to ask her today. And Liam, who is too big for songs and cuddles but deserves to be asked too, said the sandwich he just ate was his favourite part. A perfect cheeky happy almost 16 year old response.

    Well, it’s time to rally the kids and get some warm oatmeal into us. Day two, here we come.
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  • Day4

    Snaggletooth Sullivan

    April 28 in the Netherlands

    We’ve been making bets as to where or when this kid would lose his front tooth but no one guessed it would happen just before dinner right here at the Airbnb. We thought maybe in the airplane as we flew over Greenland but nope, not there. Someone suggested on the canal tour in Utrecht but nope, not then either. Sully hoped and wished for it to fall out in Iceland somewhere, anywhere but that wasn’t in the cards. This kid has had a sideways sticky outty snaggletooth for weeks and the wait for freedom is finally over. The unending tasks of a mom, I tell ya. I nurture, fix, love, clean, redirect, teach and...yank teeth. ;) I’ve yanked countless teeth between the two of my kiddos but never have I pulled one out in Holland. Goodbye you weird crooked awkward tooth; you won’t be missed.Read more

  • Day2

    25 Hours

    April 26 in the Netherlands

    We made it! We are in the Netherlands and settled into our Airbnb and guys, let me tell you, we are darn proud of ourselves. I feel a bit silly writing this in black and white but it’s the truth and it must be shouted from the canals and tulip fields. Planning this trip meant contingency planning and lots of plan b’s. We worried about travel hiccups, meltdowns, kiddos struggling, no sleep woes and our own inability to keep it all together should we have to recalibrate our expectations and move to plan b. We worried about customs issues, managing security checks and all airport logistics and so much more.

    Our thoughtfulness helped but it doesn’t necessarily ready you for the weird unexpected things that happen. Things like waltzing through customs without a stamp, question or second look. All that paperwork we had ready but nope, they just let us come into the country for fun! OK then, we’ll take it. Or, clearly booking a minivan for all 6 of us and our luggage only to find out that actually meant a small suv. We are very thankful for Caroline, who graciously offered to transport a few of our crew and some bags as well.

    We’re 25 hours into our trip and I can truthfully say I’m too tired to finish this post properly. That’s what a 1/2 hr of sleep plus a cold will do to ya. More updates soon on how the rest of our first day went and where we’re headed next!

    Time for bed. Off to eat one last stroop waffle and maybe some paprika chips then straight to bed. ;)
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  • Day90

    Utrecht for the Weekend

    August 4 in the Netherlands

    Nancy and I pedaled to Utrecht for the weekend. Nice 60 mile round trip. We passed lettuce and cactus nurseries along the way. Plenty of empty dry canals as well. The drought is really taking its toll. The path along the river Vecht to the north of the city is just gorgeous. Castles, mansions, quaint farmhouses and windmills the whole way. The green along the river lasts until the final two or three kilometers before the center of the city. Lovely ride.

    Utrecht is a very pleasant small city to the southeast of Amsterdam. Canals run through the center. The city doesn't share many of the edgy characteristics of Amsterdam, but we did run across a few oddities. The railroad building has a UFO stuck to its side. No one could tell us the reason for this. We also ran across the gestolen steen (stolen boulder) which is chained to the corner of a building. Wikipedia states that "This boulder appears to be mentioned for the first time under this heading in a charter from 1520. [1] De Gesloten Steen is credited with acting as a chimpanzee." [1] I'm still unsure of what this is referring to. Dutch humor perhaps.

    A primary reason for our trip involved a story that Grace had shared about having a penpal in Utrecht when she was a teenager. She remembered the street name 'Johan DeWittstraat' and the number seven. We found the street, just a block long, with a mere 10 address numbers. It was pretty strange standing in front the home, looking up at the windows, and imagining a 16 year old lad sitting in there writing letters to Grace Stuckey of Alliance, Ohio back in 1946/47.

    Saturday afternoon we wandered the city with Augie. We loosely followed an architectural tour that we'd sourced online. Lots of buildings dating back to the 1200s. We ended our tour at tge Dom Cathedral where we took in an organ concert.

    Nancy and I enjoyed two delicious dinners over the weekend. Both were right by the canal. The first sharing a pizza loaded with gorgonzola and accompanied by a hearty shot of Jack Daniels and the second with friends Sjoerd, Marta, and Rene followed by ice cream. Augie joined us too.

    Life is pretty good these days...
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  • Day3

    Beautiful Airbnb...and jetlag

    April 27 in the Netherlands

    Kids crashing out after a long day of travel, followed by a renewing night of sleep and an early morning run.

  • Day25

    Utrecht

    April 2 in the Netherlands

    Wir wurden sehr herzlich und fürsorglich von Tedi und Ludwig in Utrecht empfangen. Da wir keinerlei warme Sachen mit hatten (s. vorheriger Blogeintrag 😒) wurden wir erstmal mit dem europäischen Klima passenden Jacken vom Bahnhof abgeholt. Nachdem wir uns mit einem Kaffee und einer Art Osterstollen gestärkt hatten, zogen wir nochmal los, um das idyllische Zentrum von Utrecht zu erkunden. Da wir einen kleinen Hunger bekamen, kehrten wir in eine als Bar umfunktioniere Kirche ein und snackten leckere niederländische Spezialitäten und belgisches Bier. Auf dem Heimweg kamen wir an einem Rummel vorbei und dachten uns, dass man mal so ne kleine Runde auf dem Karussell und mit den Autoscootern drehen könnte (sollte man viel öfter machen) 😁🙄. Als Abendessen gab es passend zu Ostern einen sehr sehr leckeren Lammbraten mit Offenkartoffeln und Böhnchen - ein richtiges Festmahl nach dem nicht so spektakulären Flugzeugessen. Danach spielten wir bis in die Nacht eine Partie Phase 10, aus der Tedi als Gewinnern hervorging. Wir hatten einen wirklich schönen Ostersonntag und guten Ausklang eines wundervollen Urlaubs.Read more

  • Day4

    Out and about in Utrecht

    August 2, 2017 in the Netherlands

    Utrecht is about twenty-five minutes out of Amsterdam by train. It's a small university town with a population of about 300,000 people, with a fifth of the population being university students.

    There's a certain charm about the city, which Jason fell in love with as soon as he stepped outside of the train station 🚄 🚉 . Similar to Haarlem, there are fewer canals and people than Amsterdam. There's definitely less tourists!

    Wondering the streets of Utrecht made for a nice relaxing day. We ended the day with a canal boat 🚣 tour, getting a glimpse of the main attractions of the town: Churches (kerks), docks, an old prison, walls and houses.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Gemeente Utrecht, Utrecht

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