The flight got in a bit early, and getting through passport control took some time, which was a first in the Netherlands – usually it’s quite quick. While waiting to get through, I could see my luggage going round and round the carousel. First time my luggage has arrived before I was able to get there to pick it up!
I got through, and went over to the meeting point, as Anne couldn’t get there before the first train! I had only been there a couple of minutes though when she arrived.
Back to Utrecht – I chose to walk to her house because I had been cooped up in a plane for so long and wanted to stretch my legs. The station is about a 15 minute walk from her place, but it’s a really pretty walk along the canals and past interesting shops.
After emptying my suitcase with all the gifts, Anne went off to work, and I had the best shower I ever had, before hopping in my PJ’s and going to bed for some much needed sleep. I didn't think I would sleep but I woke up 4 hours later much more refreshed.
Got dressed and wandered into Utrecht at 1.00pm. It’s beautiful, historic and old. Utrecht was founded by the Romans in AD50, and the Dom was built in the 10th century and took 266 years to build. It was huge. Originally the Dom and the tower were joined, but a tornado about 200 years ago destroyed the building, so they are now separated by a square.
Metal grates with steam arising mark the original city walls (and here I thought it was a gas leak!) The fog in front of this image is the steam from the metal grates...
I grabbed lunch – chicken curry sandwich from a carribean eatery, before finding the shopping area. Every second shop was a shoe shop and boots were everywhere – I was in heaven!
Little art galleries dotted the area, some with amazing work. I particularly liked the work in this gallery, not far from Anne, from a Belgian artist. He did a lot of fantasy art and sculpture... I can just imagine these sitting on my bench, however at 1500 euros each, they get to stay in the art gallery for now...
Wandered around and got lost, and eventually found myself in a wine shop buying a bottle of wine for the evening.
I hadn't noticed how quickly the sun was going down but it cast a lovely glow on the buildings and the canals...
Anne met up with me after work (she found me in the wine shop!) and we popped into the supermarket to buy the ingredients for smoked salmon and salad for tea. 3 euros for a pack of smoked salmon – that’s $4.50!!!!
At 10pm Anne cycled to the station to meet with Jay and Gordon who arrived from London, and we sat around eating cheese and drinking wine having a catch up. When I started having trouble staying awake, I decided to hit the sack as I wanted to get into the correct time zones quickly!