Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Day in Utrecht

Utrecht is about an hour south of Amsterdam, but still located in the North Holland province. From literature I read about it, Utrecht really prides itself on being better than Amsterdam in every way. After visiting there, I saw that they kind of have a point.

We started the morning at Kasteel de Haar, which is actually a fake castle. It's not a fake castle in the way that Disney World or Medieval Times in the States are fake castles. As far as I can figure out, it's a fake castle because the restoration of it in the nineteenth century was not accurate enough. It was a real castle two thousand years ago, but had since fallen and was then rebuilt in the late 1800s. The architect, Pierre Cuypers, combined both neo-gothic and neo-renaissance styles to perfect the look that its nineteenth century owners were looking for. Apparently, this de-legitimized it as a genuine castle. I'm a little hazy on the details.

The restoration also included a re-modeling of the exterior grounds and gardens. The weather restricted us from getting a feel for the horticultural artistry, but the snow made it look like Narnia. That's something, right?

uhm, I like gargoyles?

Utrecht itself is like a smaller version of Amsterdam, canals and all. It seemed a bit cleaner and nicer, but also much busier. There were TONS of people shopping in the flea market and department store. In fact, there were just a lot more people EVERYWHERE.

Here is a photo of Dom Tower, the tallest church tower in the Netherlands, taken from the base of the tower. Before I leave, I'm going to climb all the way to the top and not let my semi-fear of heights discourage me. 

 I honestly have no idea what this photo is of, but it was the view from under the arch of the Dom Tower and it is gorgeous.

We saw this poor guy while passing over one of the canals. The idea of making something that is ordinarily so perfect and innocent into something morbid, in such a beautiful location, really stuck with me. I feel like it requires no back story even if there is one.

I mentioned in the previous blog that I would soon be beginning a new project. I have decided to photograph the Lorax in all of the places that I go to, particularly recognizable sites. Twitter friends have already seen a few sneak peeks at the Lorax in boring places, but I'll begin with where I begin on this trip, at Het Funen in Amsterdam. 

 The Lorax overlooking Amsterdam from the rooftop terrace of Funen. 


Anonymous said...

the Lorax is most excellent...nice juxtaposition with gargoyle...what about a Loarx and gargoyle pic?


CNE said...

This post made me really excited because I know that the Treaty of Utrecht ended the War of Spanish Succesion. And god, I'm a nerd for knowing that.

lorax said...

You're not a nerd. You have a bachelor's in history. I'M a nerd because I was excited about going to Utrecht for that reason and don't even have the excuse of a history degree.