zephyr illusions photo by donna October 1992. The view atop Chasseral, Jura Mountains looking across Switzerland to The Alps on the horizon. Fog, intensely thick, rising from Lac Bienne and stretching its fingers high onto the Lignières-Plateau de Diesse after wholly filling the valley below the plateau.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

European Adventure 2005 Day 7

Explored Utrecht by foot again today. it was raining, but it didn't stop me.... i fully expected to be rained upon while in The Netherlands and have been surprised that i've had such hot sunny days, thus far.
after a pot of morning coffee in my hotel room, i set out with my city map in one hand and umbrella in the other. i walked around aimlessly discovering and enjoying this mellow university town for about 7 hours, occasionally stopping for a biertje. during the late afternoon, i sat under the canopy of a cafe and had a delicious broodjes Brie and enjoyed a respite from the soft, drizzling rain. it's been my experience that Europeans enjoy good food and the Dutch are no exception. the sandwich was of very generous portion (i couldn't finish it all) and made of good crusty bread, brie drizzled with honey and topped with roasted pinenuts, fresh sprouts, radicchio and tender greens. hmmmm, yummy... het is lekker. :)
as i had my supper, i saw lots of interesting activity bustling about the cobbled street and plaza including a young priest on bicycle, a guy with the nattiest dreadlocks i have ever seen, an ambulance motorcycle (never saw one of those before), two police officers strolling and keeping the peace, a young woman on a bench who appeared to be a student grabbing free Wifi with her iBook, mothers with toddlers on bicycles... oh, yeah, that reminds me... understand the plexiglass windshields on bikes, now. it's to protect small children from the wind and rain as the ride :), lots of students travelling in groups, the endless parade of bicyclists including a guy carring a small table on his handbars, a group of guys having a great time laughing and being silly... hehehe, i think they had just left a coffee shop.
speaking of coffee shops, i discovered that coffee shops and red light districts are not confined to Amsterdam. during my walk, i found myself in a neighborhood off the beaten path of the busy town center and decided it was time to stop for a bier vaas (medium size draft beer) and look at my map to see if i could figure out how far off the track i had ventured. as i sat at an outside table at the cafe enjoying my drink, i noticed the guy next to me smoking herb. that was cool, lol, i got a free contact buzz with my beer. after finishing my beer, i walked down the cobbled street headed back toward town centre. suddenly, i realized that behind the windows of the houses on both sides of the narrow street were women scantily dressed in red and black lace. i now also noticed that the windows were lined with brightly lit red light bulbs. wasn't indicated on my map, but it was clear what business district i had stumbled upon. lol
anyway, decided it was time to head back to hotel, so found my way back to town centre and a small supermarket where i bought a couple bottles of water, 2 small splits of red wine, a couple bottles of Grolsch, some nuts and an avocado.... nice to have refreshments in the hotel room and much more economical to shop in the local grocery store than the hotel bar. teeheehee, am i assimilating the Dutch idea of 'zuinig'? :D
it was a nice day in Utrecht.... looking forward to seeing/experiencing more tomorrow :)

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