25 October 2012

Day Trip: Utrecht (20.10.2012)

This past Saturday, we made a quick afternoon trip to Utrecht, a large city about an hour's train ride from Tilburg and half an hour's train ride from Amsterdam. After a slow start in the morning, we caught the 11:05 am train to Utrecht Centraal Station, arriving about noon. We packed some PB&J sandwiches that we ate on our way out of the station and on the way to the city centre.

Our first stop was at St. Martin's Cathedral or the Domkerk (Dome Church). The Domkerk is made up of two parts, the cathedral and the dome tower, both built between 1321 and 1382. The tower and the cathedral had been connected by a nave but a freak tornado in 1674 destroyed it, and it was never rebuilt. Now, colored bricks show where the walls and pillars of the nave once stood. The tower and the church were undamaged, and the tower remains the tallest church tower in the Netherlands. The church also has a garden full of medicinal herbs that was initially established by monks at the end of the 14th century. At some point the garden was more or less neglected and was restored in 19th century, and in the 1960s it was decided to plant herbs to further restore the garden to how it appeared in the medieval era.

City streets on the way to the Centraal Museum

After the Domkerk we walked to the Centraal Museum. The museum has an interesting collection of paintings and other artifacts created, owned , or representing people from and places within Utrecht. Some items in the collection are centuries old, while others are post-postmodern - we're still not quite sure what that means... Some of the items that particularly stood out were a small boat from 997 AD that was unearthed by a construction crew in the 1930s. The smell of the creotate that was used as a sealant and preservant on the boat when it was built is still so strong that you would swear that it had just been applied a few hours before. The exhibit called Exploded View is a really interesting exhibit of contemporary pieces, including some beeswax sculptures that build themselves from heated drippers installed in the ceiling.

After visiting the museum, we walked around the city centre for a while as Little Man and Nemo snoozed in the stroller before getting dӧner kebabs and frites for dinner. We decided to call it a day and head back home for family movie night. Little Man decided that dinner and watching 101 Dalmatians were the best parts of the day. Since we had just a short day in Utrecht and you're not allowed to photograph in the museum we don't have as many pictures as our last day trips, but we hope you enjoy them all the same.

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