So many cities are accessible from Amsterdam that we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit a city new to us. The hardest part was deciding which one to visit! After a little Google research, we eventually decided on Utrecht, a quick 30 min train ride away. Oddly, you arrive in a mall that you then walk across to get to the old town. One of our first stops was a juice cart along a canal, which had some picturesque morning views.
Our explorations continued north along the canal, then branching down side streets as different sites captured our attention.
St Martin’s Cathedral is the main sight in the city center, and it is an impressive church. Unfortunately for us it was the first day of university and thus closed in preparation for convocation… we still enjoyed the exterior.
Now mid-afternoon the sun was surprisingly warm so we ducked into a few of the clothing stores along the main shopping street. Given the favorable exchange rate and some nice sales we found a few new threads to take home with us. Tired feet lead us to Beers & Barrels since they had a nice spot for beer along the canal. Unfortunately for us they weren’t open, and didn’t seem to have sign indicating when they would open. Boo.
Instead we opted for a beer at Kafe Belgie where the people watching was superb. We spotted at least three women with pink hair and a whole group of university students wearing beanies with spinners. The beer selection was also good, Leandra had the ultra-local Smokey Barracuda, brewed specifically for their recent 30th anniversary, while I had the more traditional St. Feuillien blond and a Rodenbach.
We also tried to sample another beer place, Belgisch Bier Café Olivier, but they were closed on Monday. Honestly, their list looked fairly pedestrian compared to Kafe Belgie, so I don’t think we missed much there. By the late afternoon the sky was threatening so we decided to catch the train back to Amsterdam, just missing the start of a storm.
Utrecht was a bit quieter than Amsterdam, and made for a pleasant day-trip.