My last trip to Utrecht was about 20 years ago. It was summer, a hot summer.
This time I spent a day or so in a winter wonderland!
But it didn’t start as such. As I walked around in the morning, having arrived the previous afternoon, there was just a handful of flakes floating in the air. While my friends were posting Facebook photos of London covered in snow, I was freezing but there were hardly any signs of an impending storm. Quite disappointing.
Fear not, must have been the thought of the gods of weather!
Two hours later I was in the middle of a snow storm, with the wind howling (think “Frozen”!) and an increasing amount of white on every surface! Soon Utrecht was looking like a town from a fairy tale.
When I felt too cold from the walking around, I entered the cathedral (Domkerk in Dutch) and I spent some time enjoying the Gothic architecture and the beautiful stained glass. Interesting fact is that most of this church collapsed in 1674 due to the force of a tornado and was never rebuilt. What remains today are the choir, the transept and the church tower.
The church tower (Dom Toren) is the tallest church tower in the Netherlands. 112.5m, 465 steps. Guided tours from the nearby tourist office take you to the top in around one hour and for Euro 9. The tower is not the easiest thing to stair climb when it’s so cold and the steps are made slippery by snow and ice, and you soon find yourself praying that you won’t fall. Yet the view from the top is worth the effort and the risk!
I spent the rest of the afternoon with an old (and great) friend I hadn’t seen in almost two decades: shopping, sitting at a cafe’ drinking hot chocolate and eating cakes, chatting. Then I tried the traditional “oliebollen”, sort of deep fried dumplings with sultanas and covered in powdered sugar. Yummie!
The darkness in the evening made everything very atmospheric and pictoresque, and the last few photos were taken before I returned to my hostel.