Amsterdam is a city that has a lot to offer and even though we couldn’t get enough of it, it was too tempting to get a road trip somewhere close by. And by road trip, I mean a 30 min train ride.
There are so many beautiful cities within 30 minutes rides from Amsterdam that it would be a shame to miss on the opportunity to see a bit of the Dutch countryside.
Confused by all the options and picturesque landscapes, we decided, in the end, to opt for Utrecht. Seemed close enough and small enough to give us the small-town experience.
Utrecht on the first impression very much reminds you of the traditional English town, minus the canals. The entrance to the city is through an impressive and very modern train station which leads to straight to a selection of restaurants on a small square and the entrance to the shopping mall.
We crossed through the shopping mall to get to the old town of Utrecht. One of the main attractions of Utrecht, and possibly the most known landmark, is the old tower – the Dom Tower. There is also a very cool attraction called DomUnder which lets you wonder underground the secret network of streets and passageways under the main Domplain square.
Very cool, unfortunately also closed at the time when we arrived.
All that was left was to sample the local cuisine, admire the stunning canals, the peacefulness of the place and of course climb the tower itself. For someone who is terrified of heights and tight spaces, I still don’t remember the reason why I actually signed up for it.
30 minutes later I was summoned to the chapel adjoining to the tower, preparing to climb the 465 steps to the Dom Tower.
It was all fun and educational until the guide lady told us that there are 800 -18000 pounds bells hanging literally centimeters over our head, in a tower that was built between 1321 and 1381. Every 25 years it requires maintenance to keep it in good shape. Apparently, now it was the due time for maintenance.
Right…… I needed to remind myself what was wrong with looking at the tower from the outside, in the safety of the square. At the time my fright meter reached the maximum, the guide lady told us we are only half way through, at which point I felt dizzy and very uneasy.
Faced with the option of confronting my comfort zone, and climbing back down to the bottom – only to wait another 45 minutes for everyone else to get down, I decided to continue. How brave, I thought!
As we climbed on, the staircase got even tighter, and I swear if my hips were any bigger they would have to call a digger to get me out of there. The staircase was spinning and spinning for what it seemed like hours until we reach the relative safety of the tower.
In there, I posed for an awkward picture, complained about not actually being able to enjoy the view because there were wires everywhere (thank God for that!) and just crossed my fingers everyone will be fed up and we can get back very soon. Just your average jolly tourist.
With my legs still shaking we made it back to the bottom of the tower and headed back to Big Lebowski, where the wise members of our crew – mine and my friend’s husband, waited with a grin on their face and freshly poured beer.
What can I say…. sometimes even your brain goes on holiday and forgets to send the out of office response.
I hope you enjoy this virtual tour of Utrecht as much as I did, and if you visit, dear God please stay away from the tower!
PS: before going to Utrecht, you definitely need to watch the Last Kingdom on Netflix. Utrecht trip is much more fun after that.