01 May 2013

Guided walk with Ans
Aboriginal art museum
Lunch on a terrace

A fun few days, but a fairly short blog entry (not the least because I have fallen way behind in writing this!)

We had another excellent walk with Ans on the first, culminating with a visit to the Utrecht Aboriginal Art Museum. Here we found a lot of work from Yuendumu for sale, and going through the Gallery itself, a wide variety of contemporary art.  A few we could pick the regions, however as they only have the artist’s name, and not the community, there was a lot that we couldn’t place.  The exhibition was very good, and there were a lot of fine pieces. After this we had a good lunch sitting out over a canal
Booked bus ticket to Prague
Dinner out
Utrecht lights at night

The next day we managed to find the Eurolines ticket office.  This is a bit harder than it seems.  You would think that it would be where the bus leaves from, but this is not the case.  It is at a different bus station completely (not that far away, but still) and picked up a couple of tickets.  We had looked it up online, and gotten our dates wrong.  Thinking it was leaving tonight.  However it didn’t leave until tomorrow, so we had to go back and ask Ans if we could stay an extra night.  This was not a problem.

The Crest of Utrecht

The Crest of Utrecht

Later we went to check out Utrecht by night.  This is where they light up the city in different ways.  Some are light installations, others projecting small compilations, and yet more are just coloured lights in the ground.  There is a book that Ans had listing the walk, and also little lit up icons on the street to guide you and let you know when you are near one.  However without the book some were so obscure that you wouldn’t know you were even looking at them.  As with the case of the reflections on water under the bridges…  The Dom was last.  I don’t think I have mentioned the Dom, but it is the tower of the main cathedral that dominates the skyline of the city.  A visual landmark that is seen from almost anywhere.  At night it is lit up as many church towers are, but inside the top are small glittering beams of light tracing along the roof.
However our highlight was a small church, apparently the prettiest in town that was reflecting images of the inside on the entryway.  We were even lucky enough to sneak a peek on the inside, as there had been a concert in there that had just finished, and we were allowed in for a few minutes.  It was a stunning church!

Walk to Ans’ Garden
Helping out
Locked in the house

On the 3rd, we went to check out Ans’s garden plot on the outskirts of the city.  We got a little confused with directions, and followed the map all the way there through parks with polar bear sculptures (they were a British troop that was part of the Canadian Liberating army during the war) along with other bits and pieces, but on making it to the garden plots, we couldn’t work out how to cross the river.  We wandered all the way around it, at one stage between the highway and the gardens, but unable to cross the water.  We did see Ans from a distance,so knew it was the right place, and possible to get across somehow!  We did make it when we completed an almost perfect circuit of the area and spent the next little while weeding.  Not sure if we did more damage than good, but it was fun on a nice spring day.

Another beautiful spring day.

Another beautiful spring day.

After this we went back to prepare for out bus tonight.  Ans had to go out for dinner, so we bid her farewell, and chilled out until we had to leave for the station (it is a late bus leaving after 11pm).  When we were ready to go, we found out that we were locked inside!  Ans must have appreciated our company so much that she was refusing to let us leave!  Still, there was time.  I am always paranoid of missing things like buses and planes, and always want to get there early.  However it was a good half hour’s walk away. (Un)Fortunately Ans arrived home when we had given up on making it, and were busy trying to call the Eurolines Emergency help number.  Here we got a guy that only spoke French, and was not that much help.  We got him to promise to record the call, so we could say we followed the ticket guidelines for missing the bus (you have half an hour to call after the bus has gone, and for a small fee you can reschedule it).
Ans was quite surprised on finding us still at her place..

Remembrance day
strolled around town and dinner out
TV footage

The next morning we were on the phone straight away, and that was pretty pointless, as they were asking why we were calling if the bus had left last night?  Well, that is why we were calling. The bus did leave last night.  We just were not on it.  Getting that point across was a bit difficult, and only as we were hanging up did we find out that this person was Dutch, and Anna could have done the entire thing in Dutch, and not English that was not working well.  By this stage we thought we would just go down to the ticket office and explain it for the third time…  This worked.  We were rescheduled for a couple of days time.  Ans?  Can we stay for a few more days?  PLEASE?

The gardens of the Dom.

The gardens of the Dom.

Today is also the 4th.  An important day in the Dutch calender.  It is Remembrance day.  For the end of WWII.  Ans had a friend visiting for dinner, so we made ourselves scarce for most of the day, but we did get to see the new King and his Queen laying the first wreaths at the big war memorial in Amsterdam, along with the rest of the government and military to commemorate the fallen.(on TV)  I am bad with names, but Ans’s friend turned out to be Kenyan, over here to do his PHD in Biochemistry (the same field as Ans worked in).  Too smart for us, but a very nice guy.

Liberation day
Bus to Prague

Last but not least in the Netherlands was the 5th.  The day the Dutch celebrate the freedom they have. This is a day of festivities after the sombre commemoration of yesterday.  Music, festivals, and of course beer.  Still, we couldn’t indulge too much, as we have a bus to catch.  Needless to say, Ans was off for the day as well today.  However this time we had a magical item.  A key!  Still, it probably would not have been a problem this time, but it was good to have it just in case.  We made it to the station in plenty of time, and caught our bus to Prague…

The famous Dom.

The famous Dom.

So, after all that, a big THANK YOU to Ans for everything, and putting up with us.  We had a wonderful stay, and could have quite happily had you lock us in again 😉



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