Cooling Down In Utrecht
After leaving Amsterdam on a high – not drug high! – from Pride, I was on the train for a 30-minute ride to Utrecht. I’ve no idea how I heard of Utrecht or why I thought it’d be a good idea, but I was on the way regardless. And there was a dog on the train, always a positive.
Just a short walk from the train station and I was at the converted church I’d be staying at. Check in was all done via a tablet, I was given a free smoothie and shown to my pod. This couldn’t be any more different to the hostel I’d just left, and I felt like I was in luxury! I didn’t have long in Utrecht so after dropping my stuff off I was out to explore.
The hostel is just a few minutes from the main shopping centre and right in the city centre. I was wandering through the market in no time, checking out the stalls and resisting the urge to buy everything. Utrecht already gave me vibes of a smaller, quieter and more charming version of Amsterdam. I wandered along the canal and fell in love with the place. Gone was the overwhelming heat of Amsterdam, and I was comfortable exploring the streets and popping in and out of shops. I spotted a cinema, and had been wanting to see the newly released version of the Lion King.
Picking up some eirkoeken, which are dutch sponge-like pancakes, I was armed with snacks for a cinema visit. Bit different to the usual popcorn, but I’m up for any excuse to have eirkoeken! As I left the cinema in the evening, I stepped out into the cool air and had to put on a jacket. So different from last night in Amsterdam where I was absolutely roasting!
Thankfully the hostel is close to the city centre as I got caught in a downpour as I ran back from dinner. After a quick drink in the hostel bar I turned in for an early night of Netflix, excited to have a decent night’s sleep in a comfortable bed.
Well, I’m A Wanderer
The pods in the hostel all have a curtain on the end, so I slept in quite late with no natural light waking me up. Once I’d fully enjoyed the luxurious facilities, I was up and about by midday. Ish. I’d made a loose plan that started with visiting the cathedral, but got distracted en route by a large market in Plaza Vredenburg. There were lots of stalls with eco-friendly bits or recycled crafts, followed by home baked goodies and larger food stands. Plenty of benches filled the centre, and I sat for a while to listen to the people singing on the stage.
As it started to spit with rain, I figured I should get on with my sightseeing as today was the only full day in the city. Back on track, through the charming streets to the Cathedral. Although it was once the largest church in The Netherlands before a storm caused damage to the nave, it’s still not massive, so it didn’t take too long to have a look around. The surrounding area is really pretty with a canal running close by and the town hall just down the way.
Making my way back to the centre, I again got sidetracked and ended up in a residential area. The houses were just what I’d picture typical Dutch homes to be, with bikes propped up outside and pretty flowers lining the streets. Not wanting to stray too far in the wrong direction, I turned back and found myself back in the shopping centre. I took the time to do a bit of shopping for some things I needed, then found a lovely little cafe on the canal to enjoy a coffee.
I enjoy cities where there’s loads to see, but I also enjoy cities where it’s more about wandering between the sights and seeing what the city is about. Utrecht definitely falls into the latter category, and it was an enjoyable contrast to Amsterdam. After pondering this for a while over my coffee, I grabbed some food from the supermarket to have for dinner, before hanging out in the hostel bar for a bit.
Continuing The Chilled Vibes
Another amazing nights sleep left me feeling totally refreshed. I was up, packed and checked out in no time, and just hung out in the bar with a coffee for a while. It was just a short journey to my next stop, Rotterdam, but I couldn’t check in until 4pm there. I figured I’d have a relaxing morning, catching up with stuff on my laptop while I had time to kill. The morning sped past, and before long it was time to make the short journey to the station. I’d fallen in love with the quiet charm of Utrecht, and knew I’d be back at some point.