Come join me for a wander around the old streets of Utrecht. It’s a place I’ve been to a couple of times, business not really for leisure, but it is a great place to meander in a free moment.
I nipped out early one morning as the sun was shining and I had a view of a tower from my room.
Utrecht, and much of the Netherlands had serious health issues in the 19th century, with sewage discharged into the canals. Utrecht suffered several serious cholera epidemics which eventually led to massive improvements in sanitation. In 1855, a Health Committee was established, the first in the Netherlands. Eventually, in 1883, a piped water supply was put in place, with water being piped 15 km from the upper Soest to Utrecht. As population and water demand grew, it was decided to build the first water tower in Utrecht – a 39 metre tall, neo-renaissance style tower. Several others were opened in the years that followed but this one still flaunts it elegance.
Utrecht has many other charming buildings to enjoy as we wander.
There is also quite a lot of renovation work underway, including both the Town hall and the Cathedral area.
The renovation work doesn’t spoil the enjoyment of wandering the streets though, be it daytime or nighttime.
As for the canals, they add colour, vibrancy and reflections, and the Oudegracht gives the dded advantage of dual level walking and views.
This canal comes in from the southeast of Utrecht, into the centre of town, with parts of it following the original flow of the Rhine. With the natural varied level of water flow in the river, plus the introduction of dams, the banks were built high enough to protect the buildings against flooding. But once the canal locks were implemented the levels remained steady, allowing the construction of wharves and cellars at water level. Many of these are now shops, restaurants and bars. However, the trees growing at the lower level do disrupt the pathways and waterways and on beyond the image above, there is much work in progress to relay the lower pathway.
Now it’s time to put up our feet – let’s skip McDonalds which is trying to attract our attention with its golden arches, and go get a delicious cake. I’m going to be boring and consume a traditional apple pie, but feel free to choose your own delicacy – there is plenty to choose from.
Copyright Debbie Smyth, 18 February 2019
Posted as part of Jo’s Monday Walks