Utrecht in Photos

I found Utrecht incredibly easy to fall in love with. To me, it feels so much more welcoming and homey than Amsterdam. While it is a major city in the Netherlands, it has the feel of a small, quaint village. The one thing I recommend the most when visiting is climbing the treacherously uneven stairs to the top of Dom Tower to see the colorful homes lining the canals. Yes, it’s a lot of stairs (465 to be exact), but it’s so worth it when you get to take in those views.

Here are just a few photos from Utrecht–Dom Tower, view from the Dom Tower, inside a bar and a pancake house, and more!

hagelslag

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I Love Amsterdam

amsterdam canals

Tomorrow I’m headed back to Amsterdam (and then off to Germany, Austria, and Czech Republic), so this seems like the perfect opportunity to share an Amsterdam-related guest post from Kaitlin at A Georgia Peach Abroad. (Yesterday I was featured in a guest post on her blog.)

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My First European Road Trip!

I have a lot of trips/plans in the works, but only one big trip confirmed so far. So I figured I’d let you in on that one for now.

In less than two weeks, I’m departing on a European road trip, starting and ending with Amsterdam. The itinerary is…

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Photos: Amsterdam

I’ve been to Amsterdam a couple times. And speaking as a woman who loves the Netherlands, I really didn’t get the warm fuzzies from its capital city. There wasn’t really a reason why I didn’t like it–nothing bad happened while I was there, everything was perfectly pleasant, the weather every time I went was fine–but I guess there also really wasn’t a reason why I did like it. I just didn’t see the wow factor. Yes, it is beautiful. Yes, it has charm. There’s a ton of history there. It’s got great museums, restaurants, architecture, public transportation, etc. But I guess other cities in the Netherlands won my heart.

Amsterdam at Night

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Kasteel de Haar

Kasteel de Haar

Kasteel de Haar is just outside Utrecht in the Netherlands. And talk about idyllic. The castle itself is magnificent, boasting 200 rooms and 30 bathrooms, and dates back to 1892. The grounds on which it sits are pristine. In the autumn, the lush green grass was dotted with fallen yellow, orange, and red leaves. The tree- and hedge-lined paths looked like they came straight from a movie set. There’s a small sculpture garden to take a little stroll through. And to top it all off, there are swans!

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Utrecht, Netherlands

Utrecht

I really didn’t know much about the Netherlands beyond windmills, tulips, clogs, weed, and prostitutes. (Well, and canals and bicycles, if we’re being honest.) I was pretty excited to see the country, especially since I’d met about five students from there when I studied abroad in Rome, and had become very good friends with a few of them. I’ve been to Utrecht twice—once in 2007 when I was traveling with my friend, Erico; and again in 2010 when I traveled over alone. Both times I stayed with my lovely friend, Beata, in her adorable, very typical-Dutch home (complete with spiral staircase!).

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